cover image The Ingenue

The Ingenue

Rachel Kapelke-Dale. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-83456-0

Saskia Kreis, the 37-year-old heroine of this exceptional psychological thriller from Kapelke-Dale (The Ballerinas), was once a child piano prodigy, but her career petered out in her late teens. She now makes a mediocre living in New York City as a computer coder. Upon the death of her mother, author and illustrator Evelyn Harper Kreis, Saskia returns to Milwaukee, Wis., for the funeral, staying at Elf House, the mansion that had been in her mother’s family for generations and that she hopes to inherit. She’s shocked when she learns that her mother has willed the house to Patrick Kintner, director of development at the University of Wisconsin. The narrative switches between Saskia’s present-day fight to retain what she believes is rightfully hers and sections revealing dark incidents from her adolescence. The plot builds to a conclusion that’s inevitable but still surprising, exhilarating but also disturbing. Chapters often start with excerpts from Evelyn’s 1990s book series, Fairy Tales for Little Feminists. These add substance to Saskia’s own plight and her decision on how to continue her life’s journey, and will resonate with readers in the post-#MeToo era. This suspense-filled tale of revenge and redemption is hard to put down. Agent: Sarah Phair, Sanford J. Greenburger Assoc. (Dec.)