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Publisher's Summary

When a mysterious man claims to be her long-missing brother, a woman must confront her family’s closely guarded secrets in this “delicious hybrid of mystery, drama, and elegance” (Jodi Picoult, number-one New York Times best-selling author).

Washington, DC, 2019: Laura Preston is a reclusive artist at odds with her older sister Beatrice as their elegant, formidable mother slowly slides into dementia. When a stranger contacts Laura claiming to be her brother who disappeared 40 years earlier when the family lived in Bangkok, Laura ignores Bea’s warnings of a scam and flies to Thailand to see if it can be true. But meeting him in person leads to more questions than answers.

Bangkok, 1972: Genevieve and Robert Preston live in a beautiful house behind a high wall, raising their three children with the help of a cadre of servants. In these exotic surroundings, Genevieve strives to create a semblance of the life they would have had at home in the US - ballet and riding classes for the children, impeccable dinner parties, a meticulously kept home. But in truth, Robert works for American intelligence, Genevieve finds herself drawn into a passionate affair with her husband’s boss, and their serene household is vulnerable to unseen dangers in a rapidly changing world and a country they don’t really understand.

Alternating between past and present as all of the secrets are revealed, What Could Be Saved is an unforgettable novel about a family broken by loss and betrayal, and “a richly imagined page-turner that delivers twists alongside thought-provoking commentary” (Kirkus Reviews).

©2021 Liese O'Halloran Schwarz. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What listeners say about What Could Be Saved

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • AB
  • 02-20-21

Good writing, but mawkish in the end

The good: the narrator is excellent. The writing is skillful with strong evocative language and vocabulary. The characterization is strong as well, and she evokes place vividly.

The not so good: the narrative meanders a bit and the very end is too much pathos.

Warnings: descriptions, not graphic though, of sex trafficking, including of children.
I would not have chosen this book had I known the subject would be so grim.

7 people found this helpful

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Loved this one

A well written and very entertaining story. I particularly liked that I didn’t see the ending coming which is all too often an east thing to do!

1 person found this helpful

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So good

I couldn't put it down, that's all I want to say. There are so many questions throughout the story, I don't want to give any answers away. Do yourself a favor and read/listen to this.

1 person found this helpful

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Captivating, well-written and absorbing

I enjoyed this novel. My first by the author. She's a master of the English language. The story was delicately told by several characters. I highly recommend.

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Riveting, Deep and Disturbing

This was an absolutely fascinating book with very interesting character development. Sometimes the narrative was a bit drawn out for me but overall for its psychological lessons it was very good!

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Very Fitting Title

This was an interesting book in that there were many characters and behaviors that I disliked, but the desire to know what happened to Phillip kept me hanging in there. The story is told in two time frames and two locations: 1970s in Thailand and 2019 in Washington DC. As many other reviews stated, the parts about Thailand were far more engaging. On the surface you have a flawed and privileged family and their lives but lurking underneath is the unsavory fact of the sex industry in a third world country. The two realities collide and it's truly heartbreaking. Yet, there is some redemption. As the title suggests, lives cannot be returned to what they once were but what can be saved is and that seems enough for this story. Side note: I wish the secret/spy work done by the father had been fleshed out a little more as it would have upped the intrigue level on this book.

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it's keeps you waiting to long ...last chapter

the story really seems to hook you at the beginning but the elephant in the room lingers till the last chapter

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Exceptional

This is a wonderfully written book and the narrator was perfect. The story keeps you interested all the way to the end.

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Frustratingly Long Book

The tale about a family moving to Thailand in the 1970's and how it devastates their family was not a bad story in and of itself. But there was so much extra detail that really had no bearing on the story. I had a hard time focusing on details and characters because there was just too much. I listened to the whole thing because I wanted to know what happened, but it was a frustrating wait to get to the end.

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Beautifully written & intensely thought-provoking

All I can say is WOW! Each word, sentence, paragraph and chapter threaded to weave a tapestry of multiple stories over multiple decades. I appreciate that each character was flawed like the artwork in this story but was still beautiful! This was also the first book I’ve listened to by Lisa Flanagan-who in her own right, a beautiful artist. Could not stop listening!