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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Alone Time

Narrators: Jennifer Aquino, Christina Ho, Naomi Mayo, Kenneth Lee

Brilliance Audio

ISBN: 9781662513817

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: 05/01/2024

Format: Paperback

My Rating: 4 Stars (ARC)

For two sisters, confronting the past could come at a terrible price in a riveting novel about a family tragedy—and family secrets—by the #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author Elle Marr.

Fiona and Violet Seng were just children when their family’s Cessna crash-landed in the Washington wilderness, claiming the lives of their parents. For twelve harrowing weeks, the girls fended for themselves before being rescued.

Twenty-five years later, they’re still trying to move on from the trauma. Fiona repurposes it into controversial works of art. Violet has battled addiction and failed relationships to finally progress toward normalcy as a writer. The estranged sisters never speak about what they call their Alone Time in the wild. They wouldn’t dare—until they become the subject of a documentary that renews public fascination with the “girl survivors” and questions their version of the events.

When disturbing details about the Seng family are exposed, a strange woman claims to know the crash was deliberate. Fiona and Violet must come together to face the horrifying truth of what happened out there and what they learned about their parents and themselves. Before any other secrets emerge from the woods.

My Review

Elle Marr returns following The Family Bones with her latest chilling atmospheric suspense thriller, THE ALONE TIME, where nothing or no one is as they appear. A fitting title with more than one meaning.

The past collides with the present after a tragic plane crash, a family left in the wilderness for many weeks. What exactly happened? Now, twenty-five years later, the secrets begin to unravel.

The Seng family, Henry and Janet, and their two daughters, Fiona (13) and Violet (7), are going to Canada. Henry borrowed a little Cessna from a friend to fly for the vacation.

However, the plane goes down. The passengers are stranded in the Washington wilderness without cell phone reception or help. How will they survive?

The parents died; however, the girls were alone in the wilderness for twelve long weeks before they were found and rescued. How did they survive?

What is the real truth? How did the parents die and the girls survive?

Twenty-five years later, the girls live in San Diego, CA, trying to move on from childhood traumas. Fiona is an artist. Violet has battled addiction and failed relationships and is a writer. There was a journal.

The sisters are estranged and never speak about their 'Alone Time' in the wild. They swore never to engage with the public about their ordeal. Fiona is about to launch her debut gallery opening, and Violet is a struggling writer trying to complete her degree.

Then, a documentary filmmaker wants to interview the sisters, saying the events did not add it and questioning how it all went down. Will they go back to where it happened? They had spent years keeping the events of the past buried.

A new voice has spoken out, bringing new light to this time, and the events are now being questioned.

What were the girls hiding, and what were the dark secrets of the Seng family? Did their parents die immediately, or did something happen to them afterward? Was there something more sinister behind it all?

Were they frauds, deceiving the world after people donated millions of dollars? When reading, You are unsure if there are unreliable narrators or if someone is lying, imagining, withholding, or just a memory.

The absorbing twisty tale is told from multiple POVs: Fiona, Janet, Henry, and Violet, past and present, which gives the reader insight into each character's inner thoughts and actions.

A hauntingly chilling dysfunctional family drama, THE ALONE TIME is psychologically rich and character-driven with a literary twist. It is an atmospheric novel of tragedy, survival, dark family secrets, suspense, mystery, intrigue, trauma, and memory.

The author skillfully keeps you glued to the pages until the last page is turned. For fans of Alice Feeney and Megan Collins.

Thanks to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for an advanced digital reading copy for an honest opinion.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 4 Stars

Pub Date: May 1, 2024

May 2024 Must-Read Books


“Twisted, cleverly red herring-littered plotting. Readers will gladly follow [Marr’s] lead to the final page.” ―Booklist

“A steady build-up that questions the origins of a tragedy and the motives of the survivors and pits survival, ambition, and perhaps the truth against each other, leading to a finale that will surprise even the most perceptive readers. Will appeal to fans of Jennifer Hillier, Jordan Harper, and Michelle Sacks.”

―Library Journal

“Absolutely chilling, The Alone Time delves into the lives of sisters Fiona and Violet as they navigate life after surviving the plane crash that killed their parents. Each layer of the story is expertly revealed, leaving you in shock as you wonder what is the truth and what is only imagined.”

―Lyn Liao Butler, Amazon bestselling author of Someone Else’s Life

“Marr’s The Alone Time is a captivating, thrilling, deeply haunting tale about familial bonds, family secrets, memory, and trauma. This book is so twisty that it will give you whiplash! Absorbing, beautifully written, and fraught with tension, The Alone Time will keep you in its grip until the very last page. Fantastic. It will leave you reeling!”

―Lisa Regan, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author

“In this story nothing is as it seems. Part mystery, part survival tale, and part family drama, this intricately woven tale had me flipping through the pages quickly. Told alternately between the present and the past, the pieces clicked into place one by one, each chapter adding another layer of mystery and suspense. There were several twists at the end, one that had me reeling. A beautifully written story with high-stakes suspense! You don’t want to miss this one.”

―Amber Garza, author of In a Quiet Town

About the Author

Photo credit: Jana Foo Photography

Elle Marr is the #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author of The Family Bones, Strangers We Know, Lies We Bury, and The Missing Sister. Originally from Sacramento, Elle graduated from UC San Diego before moving to France, where she earned a master’s degree from the Sorbonne University in Paris. She now lives and writes in Oregon with her family. For more information, visit







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