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Friday, April 20, 2018

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell | Book Review

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Disclaimer: Thanks to the kind folks at S&S for providing me an advance review copy.

Description: Ellie was the middle child and the apple of her mother’s eye. She was charming, smart, had just started dating, and was excited to finish up exams. But then 15-year-old Ellie disappeared on the way to the library. Normally I avoid these kinds of stories but this was a real page turner. Ellie’s mother Laurel retreats into herself. She goes into robot mode. It destroys her marriage and tests her children. The story is mostly told from Laurel’s point of view 10 years later. Laurel’s husband has remarried. Her adult children are finding their way in the world. And Laurel one day is charmed by a man in a coffee shop. He has a familiar feel but also creates that excitement of new love. The freaky thing is that his 9-year-old daughter Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie. How can that be? Who is this man?

I’m always flummoxed by these types of mysteries where the protagonist takes it upon themselves to investigate vs. going to the police. But I suspect that, if after 10 years the police have failed you, then you might figure things out on your own to a greater extent before involving them and losing the trail.

Perfect Read: If you enjoyed Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train then this story has a similar fast-paced narrative with strong female characters and some emotional twists and turns. I also would compare it to I Saw a Man by Owen Sheers in that there’s a mystery component driving the plot but more so there’s a psychological component about what drives people to do things that are heinous while assuming some moral stance.

Favourite Moment: “The fact that Ellie had been wearing a black T-shirt and jeans had been a problem for the police. The fact that her lovely gold-streaked hair had been pulled back into a scruffy ponytail. The fact that her rucksack was navy blue. That her trainers were bog-standard supermarket trainers in white. It was almost as though she’d deliberately made herself invisible.” I like these passages that created suspense and made your assumptions falter. How audacious—the idea that Ellie has gone missing and that, counter to anything she’d done before, she may have purposely run away. This rattles Laurel for a long time.

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell @Amazon.ca
Published by Atria, see it on SimonandSchuster.ca

Or visit https://www.facebook.com/LisaJewellofficial/, or follow her on Twitter @LisaJewellUK.

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