What’s it all about?:
She was fifteen, her mother’s
golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her.
And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.
It’s been ten years since Ellie
disappeared, but Laurel has never given up
hope of finding her daughter.
And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet.
Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter.
Poppy is precocious and pretty – and meeting her completely takes Laurel’s breath away.
Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age.
And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.
What happened to Ellie? Where did she go?
Who still has secrets to hide?
What did I think?:
I’ve always heard such great things about Lisa Jewell’s writing and finally got a chance to read one of her novels when my sister Chrissi Reads and I read The Girls when it was picked for the Richard and Judy Book Club here in the UK a little while ago. As I was expecting, I thoroughly enjoyed it and immediately purchased her last novel, I Found You for my Kindle. Even more recently, a little competition was held on Twitter to win a proof copy of Lisa’s new novel, Then She Was Gone which is released today (happy publication day!) and I was delighted to be in the lucky winner – thank you so much to Century at Penguin Random House for the opportunity to read and review it. I’m also pleased to announce that after the roller-coaster ride that this novel took me on, I will certainly be re-visiting the author’s entire back catalogue. She writes such thrilling stories that they really are the purest definition of “unputdownable,” that you could ever imagine and I’m delighted to find a new to me author where I have such a wealth of past works to peruse!
But, back to Then She Was Gone. This is a novel where our main protagonist, Laurel lost her teenage daughter Ellie a decade ago and never knew what happened to her. The traumatic experience that she has gone through has affected her life in so many ways. Not only has her relationship with her husband been torn apart but she is also struggling to maintain a close bond with her other two children, both older than Ellie. Laurel eventually does find out what has happened to her daughter so there is some closure on that front, but it does not make up for never knowing where she was all that time, who was responsible for her disappearance and what happened to her while she was gone.
A chance meeting with Floyd, father to a young girl called Poppy seems to change everything for Laurel. She realises that she is allowed to be laugh, love and be happy again. However, Laurel finds herself coming up with more questions rather than answers, mainly as the spectre of her missing daughter is a constant presence in her mind, in particular as Floyd’s daughter has a startling resemblance to Ellie when she was that age. Laurel cannot get away from the fact that she needs to know what happened to her daughter so she can finally put her to rest. Yet the secrets that she manages to unearth may not be what she wanted to know after all.
I love the kind of books where it’s absolutely impossible to predict what’s going to happen, I love to be surprised and shocked by twists and turns in a plot and that’s precisely what I got with Then She Was Gone. I enjoyed reading about Laurel and her family as characters but the part that really pulled me in and kept me hooked was Ellie’s side of the story. We learn, in vivid detail, what happened to Ellie on that fateful day that she vanished and it’s completely mind blowing, I promise. Lisa Jewell has a real gift for pulling the reader in with exciting and nail-biting moments and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading this novel. The mystery behind Ellie’s disappearance is fascinating and terrible all at the same time, particularly when we learn what she has gone through. Lisa Jewell explores the boundaries of a psychologically deranged mind in a brilliant manner that will leave you disturbed and chilled to the bone yet strangely hungry for more.
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):