What’s it all about?:
When Anna Flores’ adored older sister goes missing as a teenager, Anna copes by disappearing too, just as soon as she can: running as far away from her family as possible, and eventually building a life for herself abroad.
Thirty years later, the death of her mother finally forces Anna to return home. Tasked with sorting through her mother’s possessions, she begins to confront not just her mother’s death, but also the huge hole Gabriella’s disappearance left in her life – and finds herself asking a question she’s not allowed herself to ask for years: what really happened to her sister?
What did I think?:
First of all, thank you so much to the lovely Annabelle Wright and Mantle publishers for getting to touch to ask me if I’d like to read a copy of debut novel The Missing Girl, in exchange for an honest review and to be part of the blog tour. Well of course I jumped at the chance, especially when I saw it getting early rave reviews from bloggers I know and trust, like the wonderful Cleopatra Loves Books who wrote a fantastic review HERE. I trust Cleo implicitly as we tend to have a similar taste in books, particularly crime fiction so I knew I was in for a great reading experience even before I started. Luckily, this book was everything I had anticipated it to be. From a quiet build up that became even more menacing as the story unfolded, I loved everything about this novel. The writing, the plot, the characters….all these factors combined to make this story an unforgettable read that I didn’t want to end.
I’m not going to go too deeply into the nuances of the plot as obviously, with this sort of genre, the less you know the better and I prefer to go into these kinds of books knowing as little as possible. Basically, it follows our main female protagonist, Anna Flores who has returned home after her mothers’ death to deal with everything in the house, the family business – all those horrible, sad little things we have to deal with after someone close to us passes away. Coming back to her home town after being abroad in Athens, Anna is reminded of a terrible event thirty years ago when her older sister Gabriella went missing that she is now forced to confront. Nothing was ever discovered about what happened to Gabriella and who, if anyone was to blame. However, Anna now makes it her mission to uncover exactly what happened to her beloved sister.
As the reader, we are taken along a dual time-line, the present, where Anna is performing one last house clearance for her father’s old business, The House Of Flores and then we are also whisked back to 1982 and see the last months/days/hours just prior to Gabriella’s mysterious disappearance and how this affects the whole family. As this is such a steady build-up before any “big reveals,” I really felt we got to know the characters intimately, particularly Anna who became such a three-dimensional person and almost bounced off the pages for me with her vibrancy. She isn’t a perfect character, not by any stretch of the imagination and is particularly awful to one of the background characters, Martha. This is not why I liked her so much though. I thought she was written in a completely authentic way, she made mistakes, said horrible things but also felt intensely guilty afterwards for her actions and tried to make amends. Her adoration for her older sister was one of the sweetest parts of the narrative and I really felt sorry for her at points as she felt sometimes on the outside in the family unit.
Growing up in the 1980’s I also adored all the eighties references in this novel which were incredibly nostalgic to read i.e. Margaret Thatcher, The Falklands War (which my dad served in as a soldier) and classic songs like “Come On Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Runners. Alongside all this, the sense of foreboding throughout the story is eerie and tantalising and makes you want to read “just one more chapter” just to figure out what’s going on. We have no idea what’s happened to Gabriella until the very end and it’s obvious more than one person is hiding a secret which makes the unveiling all the more exciting in an ending that was gripping and incredibly surprising. I’m really looking forward to seeing what this author is going to do in the future and I’ll certainly be watching out for her next novel.
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):
The Missing Girl by Jenny Quintana is my first book in my attempt to conquer Mount Everest on the Mount TBR Challenge 2018!
Jenny Quintana grew up in Essex and Berkshire, before studying English Literature in London. She has taught in London, Seville and Athens and has also written books for teaching English as a foreign language. She is a graduate of the Curtis Brown Creative writing course. She now lives with her family in Berkshire. The Missing Girl is her first novel.
Find Jenny on GoodReads at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17206031.Jenny_Quintana
or on Twitter at: @jennyquintana95
Thank you once again to Annabelle Wright and Mantle publishers for inviting me to take part in this blog tour, I’ve had a wonderful time doing it. The Missing Girl by Jenny Quintana is out now, published by Mantle in hardback and priced at £14.99. The blog tour is running from Thursday 28th December until Thursday 11th January so don’t forget to check out my fellow bloggers stops for some more fantastic reviews!
GoodReads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36261291-the-missing-girl