Review: Call Me Elizabeth Lark by Melissa Colasanti

Title: Call Me Elizabeth Lark by Melissa Colasanti
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Contemporary, Domestic Mystery
Length: 300 pages
Book Rating: C

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Your daughter went missing twenty years ago. Now, she’s finally back. You thought she had returned a few times in the past, and your husband tells you she’s not the one, but you feel it in your bones.

Now, what will you do to keep her home?

Twenty years ago, Myra Barkley’s daughter disappeared from the rocky beach across from the family inn, off the Oregon coast. Ever since, Myra has waited at the front desk for her child to come home. One rainy afternoon, the miracle happens–her missing daughter, now twenty-eight years old with a child of her own, walks in the door.

Elizabeth Lark is on the run with her son. She’s just killed her abusive husband and needs a place to hide. Against her better judgment, she heads to her hometown and stops at the Barkley Inn. When the innkeeper insists that Elizabeth is her long lost daughter, the opportunity for a new life, and more importantly, the safety of her child, is too much for Elizabeth to pass up. But she knows that she isn’t the Barkleys’s daughter, and the more deeply intertwined she becomes with the family, the harder it becomes to confess the truth.

Except the Barkley girl didn’t just disappear on her own. As the news spreads across the small town that the Barkley girl has returned, Elizabeth suddenly comes into the limelight in a dangerous way, and the culprit behind the disappearance those twenty years ago is back to finish the job.


Call Me Elizabeth Lark by Melissa Colasanti is an engaging domestic mystery.

Twenty years ago, Myra and Herb’s eight-year-old daughter Charlotte vanishes from the beach where her older sister Gwen is supposed to be watching her. No trace of Charlotte is ever found and Myra remains convinced her daughter is still alive.  This makes it very easy for her to believe that Elizabeth Lark is her long-lost daughter. After years of abuse, Elizabeth and her five-year-old son Theo have finally escaped from their isolated cabin. Despite her guilt, she allows Myra and the rest of the family to believe she is Charlotte. But when news gets out she has returned, ominous occurrences start happening at the family-owned Barkley Inn. Is someone just trying to scare them? Or is there another far more sinister reason for the increasingly threatening behavior?

Elizabeth is breaking all of the rules of escaping an abusive relationship but she has to stop in her old hometown. She is exhausted and scared when she decides to stay at the Barkley Inn. Elizabeth could never have predicted Myra’s reaction and she uneasily continues to let them believe she is Charlotte. She needs to figure out if Peter is after her and Theo or if she can relax her guard. While Theo quickly settles into life at Barkley Inn, Elizabeth is growing increasingly anxious as she attempts to figure out her next move.

Myra absolutely refuses to allow Herb, their son Jimi and Gwen to shake her belief that Elizabeth is Charlotte.  They have reason to doubt her since she has mistaken strangers for Charlotte in the past. Myra expects a little too much from Elizabeth as she smothers her with attention. She is shocked at the troubling incidents that begin after Elizabeth’s arrival. But why would anyone be threatened by her daughter’s return?

Call Me Elizabeth Lark is an interesting mystery but parts of the plot require suspension of disbelief.  The various characters are mostly easy to like but they are a trifle under developed. The first half of the novel moves fairly quickly but the second half is not as fast paced. The story is mostly well-written but it is a little repetitive. With very unexpected twists and turns, Melissa Colasanti brings this intriguing domestic mystery to very convoluted conclusion.

Comments Off on Review: Call Me Elizabeth Lark by Melissa Colasanti

Filed under Call Me Elizabeth Lark, Contemporary, Crooked Lane Books, Domestic Mystery, Melissa Colasanti, Mystery, Rated C, Review

Comments are closed.