Title: Regarding Anna
Author: Florence Osmund
Release Date: February 2015
Length: 3273 pages
Things that happen to you in the past can mold you into someone you’re not.
Grace discovers a box in her parents’ attic that contains enough suspicious items to cause her to believe that the people she had called Mom and Dad her whole life may not have been her real parents.
After recovering from the shock of her parents’ deaths, Grace Lindroth is tormented by the uncertainty of her identity and begins an arduous search for answers. When certain clues draw her to a boardinghouse once owned by Anna Vargas, she becomes convinced that Anna was her real mother. She believes the boardinghouse walls have been harboring vital secrets for years, but when she meets up with the cantankerous old woman who had bought the place after Anna’s death, she questions whether she’ll ever be able to peel back all the layers surrounding her parentage.
The lies and deceit that Grace unearths in her pursuit to validate her identity are shocking, complicated, and not all buried in the past. Does this force Grace to back down, or just heighten her determination uncover the whole truth?
When seventeen-year-old Grace finds her adoptive parents dead in her childhood home it sets in motion a series of events she questions and uncovers years later. But the wheels had already been set in motion nearly twenty years earlier in a boarding house across town.
After finding over 100 items including photos, receipts, business cards from Mexico, and a piece of old wallpaper from her parents’ house that Grace dubs her Attic Finds case, she sets off to piece together the oddities left behind that connect the two households of her adoptive parents and that of the woman she believes to be her birth mother. Add to the mix the Mexican oil industry, beautiful and expensive stolen artwork, the Irish sweepstakes, several unsavory characters, and many unanswered questions.
Along the way she uncovers a few friends who help further her cause and discover the truth.
Grace – 22 year-old plain-Jane PI, runs NSU Investigative Services
Elmer – the attorney Grace is renting office space and an apartment from
Minnie – the new owner of Anna’s house, Grace befriends over a winterberry bush, helps Grace investigate
Flora – a friend who works at the County Clerk’s Office and does many favors for Grace
Tymon – Anna’s handyman who ends up aiding Minnie and Grace
Naomi – the new girl hired for Elmer’s office, she befriends Grace and also comes to her aid in a number of ways
From the Boarding House – 1943:
Anna Vargas – young single mother murdered in her home
Al – the mysterious married boarder with a staircase to Anna’s bedroom, rumored to be having an affair with her
Henry Sikes – pale-faced busybody in everybody’s business (aka Mouse-face)
Mark Smith – a recluse who paid his rent early, died in the boarding house
Dorian Ross – a cross-dresser who lived in the boarding house
And if my parents hadn’t died in March of 1960, I wouldn’t have found what I did in their attic leading me to believe a woman named Anna Thalia Vargas was my real mother – and that she was murdered, and I was kidnapped, when I was seven months old.
The Highs and Lows
- Grace. She is young…and a little dumb. While she has gone to school for her PI services, she isn’t very experienced and doesn’t always seem to think things through before she runs off. She could land herself in some very sticky situations on the wrong side of Chicago, but she never really thinks about that before she runs off on the No. 54 bus.
- The Characters in the Woodwork. There were a handful of characters that emerge from the woodwork who all have a hand in Anna’s past. I was very interested in Tymon and Minnie’s characters and how they have nothing to gain from assisting Grace, yet they are wholeheartedly supporting her efforts.
- Complexity. There are so many layers to this book it can be mind boggling. It starts out simple: a young girl looking for her real mother. And then things get complicated quickly. The more information Grace unearths, the harder it is to see how it all fits together for the longest. At the very end when all the pieces are revealed, I was mind-blown.
- Grace’s Dad. In the beginning when Grace is recalling her parents and her childhood, she made several comments about her dad being overbearing and controlling with her mother. It didn’t click right away and it still didn’t click at the end of the book when it should have. Instead, when I was going back and looking through my notes I had a lightbulb moment and things fit together even better.
- Minnie and Tymon. They are incredible friends who rally around Grace after hearing her story. Tymon is from the days before. He knows the house and he knew Anna and he is now there for Grace trying to help in any way he can. Minnie is a Scotch-drinking, tough old lady that allows Grace into her heart and is dead set on helping her uncover the mysteries of the boarding house.
- The Ransacking. There is something that someone thinks is in the boarding house that Minnie now owns – and they want it back. Perhaps it is what Anna died for but was never found. After Grace is kicked out of her living and work space, someone has made it clear they are still looking for whatever was left behind.
This is a fascinating read with more than one mystery woven into Grace’s story.
Recommendation – Buy, Borrow or Skip?
Definitely buy or borrow! I highly recommend reading!
After more than three decades of working in corporate America, Florence Osmund retired to write novels. Her notable website is dedicated primarily to helping new authors—offering advice she wishes she had received before starting her first novel. All of Osmund’s novels have earned the BRAG Medallion, an honor awarded to less than 15% of books submitted. She currently resides in Chicago where she is working on her next novel.