Book Review

Searching for Sylvie Lee

Searching for Sylvie Lee

Jean Kwok

William Morrow, Jun 2019

304 pages

General Fiction, Mystery

Purchased for Kindle app


The cover is very interesting and I really like the way the water background creates a bit of eeriness. It transmits the mysterious tone of the book itself. I’m not usually a fan of script fonts such as this for a cover, but I think in this case it works well for imparting the energy of the story and the urgency of the search for the title character, Sylvie Lee.

I found the story interesting. Amy Lee is the younger, homebody daughter of a Chinese immigrant family. Sylvie is the brilliant, outgoing, older daughter. Sylvie is married and has a successful career. Amy lives at home with her parents and works in the family dry cleaning business. Sylvie flies off to the Netherlands to visit the dying Grandmother, and she seems to simply disappear. Amy finally has to acknowledge that she will have to step outside her comfort zone and go to the Netherlands to try to track her sister. What happens once Amy arrives at the relatives’ home in the Netherlands tears the cover off of old family secrets and sets family members against family members and more. Eventually, all secrets are revealed and the family fortune is rediscovered. But getting to that point is a fast-paced twisty story that brings even Amy’s parents out of their secretive shells and endangers Amy’s life. At times the tension had me turning pages almost faster than I could read. Trigger subjects this book covers are bullying of people with disabilities and prejudice of culture and class even in a fairly tolerant society. There were some spots in the middle of the book that I got impatient with the pace and wanted more action on the mystery itself. Overall, though I found this to be a compelling read.

I recommend this book for those of you who enjoy stories about “coming of age” type situations, late bloomers. I read this initially for one of my FB book groups but ended up really glad I had read just for myself.

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