Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Then She Was Gone

Author: Lisa Jewell
Genre: Suspense, Psychological Thriller
Type: e-book
Source: NetGalley
Publisher: Atria Books
First Published: April 24, 2018
First Line: "Those months, the months before she disappeared, were the best months."

Book Description from GoodReadsTen years after her teenage daughter disappears, a woman crosses paths with a charming single father whose young child feels eerily familiar, in this evocative, suspenseful drama from New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell—perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Liane Moriarty.

Ellie Mack was the perfect daughter. She was fifteen, the youngest of three. She was beloved by her parents, friends, and teachers. She and her boyfriend made a teenaged golden couple. She was days away from an idyllic post-exams summer vacation, with her whole life ahead of her.

And then she was gone.

Now, her mother Laurel Mack is trying to put her life back together. It’s been ten years since her daughter disappeared, seven years since her marriage ended, and only months since the last clue in Ellie’s case was unearthed. So when she meets an unexpectedly charming man in a cafĂ©, no one is more surprised than Laurel at how quickly their flirtation develops into something deeper. Before she knows it, she’s meeting Floyd’s daughters—and his youngest, Poppy, takes Laurel’s breath away.

Because looking at Poppy is like looking at Ellie. And now, the unanswered questions she’s tried so hard to put to rest begin to haunt Laurel anew. Where did Ellie go? Did she really run away from home, as the police have long suspected, or was there a more sinister reason for her disappearance? Who is Floyd, really? And why does his daughter remind Laurel so viscerally of her own missing girl?

My Rating: 5 stars

My Review: I finished this book with a big exhale and a tear in my eye. Then She Was Gone is an emotionally-charged read featuring damaged characters and a story that is as touching as it is chilling.  While it’s touted as a psychological thriller, I found it to be more of a dissection of dysfunctional families set around the story of a missing teen.

The story is told by four characters in two different time frames and the switching back and forth was done fluidly with the various points of view adding to the characters' depth. The characters were a diverse bunch – they’re complicated, a few were unlikable and some even sinister. But Jewell shows readers where their damage stems from and while I still wasn't endeared to a few, I appreciated getting a glimpse into why they became that way.

Within the story, Jewell handles some big issues: mental illness, healing, family dysfunction and the struggle to persevere after great suffering. I especially liked the focus on the influence, positive and negative, that parents hold over their children's emotional, physical and mental well-being, and how disconnect of this bond, can influence a child, no matter their age.

As an avid reader of the suspense genre, I figured out the main twist early on, but it was Laurel's journey, and my hope that I was wrong, that kept me glued to the pages. Then She Was Gone is an engaging read with emotional scenes, diverse characters and some mystery, ending with an epilogue that will hit readers hard.

Disclaimer: This Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) was generously provided by the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. 

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