Book Review: Girl in the Rearview Mirror by Kelsey Rae Dimberg

Girl in the Rearview Mirror
by
Kelsey Rae Dimberg

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

If you watched my most recent episode of Read React Decide, you know that I selected Girl in the Rearview Mirror, after reading random passages from five random books. Despite an earlier retraction about not being able to go paperless when I read, I really did go paperless for this book. Even though I hold the hard cover version in my video, I downloaded the eBook on my Kindle. And because I was on vacation, I took zero notes. I did not want to lug around a notebook and pen. That’s not a vacation!

The author describes Girl in the Rearview Mirror, her debut, as a noir mystery with adjustments, but I felt it was more of a psychological thriller. There are no hard-boiled detectives (the “detective” is a young nanny, Finn, who tries to unravel a mystery) and it’s set in Phoenix, Arizona, not exactly gritty. I only realized she calls it noir fiction after I read it, so that was not on my mind at all.

Because I did not take notes, this will be a more casual review. Be sure to check out my follow-up video at the bottom of this post, which is a supplement to what I say here. I’m doing something new on YouTube, re-reading the passage that made me choose the book and then talking about a really funny coincidence with that.

On to the book. The story opens at a political rally, during Senator Jim Martin’s campaign for re-election. Image is everything to the Martins and the senator’s perfect-looking family surrounds him, including Philip Martin who is expected to one day step into his father’s shoes. For now, Philip focuses on his restaurant and other real estate investments. With his wife, Marina, who runs a museum, and Amabel, their adorable four-year old daughter, they look just right for the part.

Finn’s protective instinct kicks in when Amabel gasps and points to a stranger with bright red hair and exclaims, “That girl—she’s following me!” An upsetting meeting with the stranger a few days later convinces Finn she must learn all she can to protect Amabel.

A couple substories frame the plot. First, there is Philip, the second son who can’t live up to his late older brother, James’s legacy. James died a hero’s death in Iraq. Philip, meantime tries to forget a scandal that ended his college football career.

Finn also struggles with the past and the title refers to events she tried to leave behind when she left home for college. She explains, “By the time I arrived at school, I realized I could start over. I introduced myself as Finn, my middle name, and it stuck. Within months, my first name sounded foreign. Natalie was the girl in the rearview mirror.” Now she has a great gig as a nanny for a wealthy and powerful family. And her boyfriend, Bryant, who runs Jim Martin’s campaign, completes the picture.

When she meets the red-headed women, Finn agrees to deliver a message to Philip. Sounds easy, but Philip avoids Finn who discovers a tangled mess. Soon, she finds herself in danger and wonders if Bryant is her enemy.

I enjoyed this book which explores the always-interesting theme of truth versus public persona. Readers who don’t like politics may initially be put off by the political storyline, however, once Finn begins her investigation, the adversarial element between political parties moves to the background. The story is much more about how politicians smooth out their pasts and present shiny images than it is about Republicans and Democrats.

A series of twists leads to an ending I did not imagine and ties in nicely with how image is everything to politicians. I was glad to have a lighter read while on vacation. The book was easy to pick up between activities and I recommend it to readers who enjoy psychological thrillers.

Check out my video here:

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On YouTube – new episode of Read React Decide!

Hi Everyone,

I’m over on YouTube with a new fall episode of Read React Decide. I’m reading random selections from five random books and deciding which to read!

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On YouTube – I’m playing MORE Bach for you!

Hi Everyone,

I’ve been practicing hard and today I’m over on YouTube playing a short Bach Prelude for you. I hope you enjoy it!

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On YouTube – Retracting my paperless announcement!

Hi Everyone,

I’m over on YouTube with a retraction to my “going paperless” announcement. See what I’m going to do instead!

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In case you missed them! BCM post recap July 2022

Hey Everyone,

In case you missed them, here’s a quick look at Book Club Mom’s posts in July.

I read six books this month, which is unusual. I was on a roll!

Sea Wife by Amity Gaige – 4 stars. I liked this book very much. It’s a fast read because you’ll want to know what happened. But it’s also a deeper look at marriage and parenthood.

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy – 4 stars. I teared up reading this inspirational graphic novel!

The Girls of August by Anne Rivers Siddons – 3 stars. Not my favorite book, but readable nonetheless and good for summer.

The Family by Naomi Krupitsky – 4 stars. Picked this at random and thought this book about two women who grow up in the mafia was excellent.

Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian – 4 stars. Much different from other books by this author. I really liked this historical suspense set in 1662 Boston.

Nantucket Sisters by Nancy Thayer – 3 stars. This was an okay beach read with gorgeous characters and insta-love set on Nantucket.

I made four YouTube videos in July. I’m trying to get back on a regular schedule with those, but it’s not easy!

Reading Update – I’m going paperless!

Read React Decide Review of Sea Wife by Amity Gaige

Piano Reveal!

Special Beach Reads episode of Read React Decide

Miscellaneous posts – a bunch of these this month!

Who’s That Indie Author? W. L. Hawkin

Reading outside – can you concentrate?

The Great Gatsby movies – there are five of them!

Are you a reading snob? Am I?

My opinion of memoirs explained

Book on my radar: The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood by David Simon and Edward Burns

Share your news on Book Club Mom’s Author Update

Looking for indie, self-published and hybrid authors – is that you?

Hope you all had a great month. On to the next book!

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On YouTube – Special Beach Reads episode of Read, React, Decide!

Hi Everyone,

I’m over on YouTube today with a special Beach Reads episode of Read, React, Decide! Which Beach Read will I pick? Watch to find out!

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Book Club Mom on YouTube – list of videos

Well I feel like I’m always talking about my YouTube channel and hope I’m not overdoing it. It’s hard to get a channel going and since I started in 2018, I’ve learned a lot. But I still have a lot more to learn! The only way to do that is to just jump in and make mistakes and I’ve made plenty 🙂

In case you are interested, this link takes you to a page with all my videos. I’ve just updated it and now you can click on the thumbnails to take you to the videos.

Thank you to all have who have subscribed and watched them. I hope you’ll come and see me!

🆕On YouTube today: all-new Read React Decide!

Hi Everyone,

I’m on YouTube today doing an all-new Read React Decide. I grabbed three books from the library, picked random passages and chose one book to read. Something silly happened in the middle – I hope you’ll get a chance to watch! 😅

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On YouTube today – Read React Decide and REVIEW!

Hi Everyone,

A couple months ago I posted a video where I pulled five random books from the library and read a couple sentences, reacted and decided whether I would read them. I picked two out of the five and today I’m reviewing them. (Also – I got a new shirt!)

You can watch my original video here.

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On YouTube today: reacting to spam comments (some of them insulting!) on my blog

Hi Everyone,

I’m over on YouTube today, reacting to recent spam comments on my blog. Check it out!

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