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?
For many years, I didn’t read Lisa Jewell books because I had in my head she wrote romance novels. I am not sure where I got that from but, thankfully, a review on one of her books finally showed me the light and I have been working my way through her back catalogue ever since, loving each one. Seeing a new release on Netgalley then I couldn’t resist requesting a copy.
On the surface, Then She Was Gone sounds like a story I have read more than once over the last few years. A young girl goes missing, her family falls apart in the aftermath, whilst all the while there are questions to answer – where did she go, why did she go, will she ever come back? The difference here is how well Lisa Jewell writes, how she builds up the story piece by piece, revealing just enough to keep you interested but not quite enough for you guess what is coming next…each time I thought I had the answer, I was wrong (until the end, when I have a feeling Jewell wanted me to figure it out!).
Here, the book is told in parts, with the reader getting to hear different voices at different times and the story moving between the past to the present. Central to each part is Laurel, the mother of the missing Ellie as she embarks on a new relationship with Floyd, whose daughter looks remarkably like Ellie. It’s hard to know where her interest in Floyd is in the man himself or his daughter as Laurel works through her feelings at the same time you do.
I really liked Laurel, she was kind, caring and human. She was damaged by losing Ellie and it had definitely impacted her life since she had gone missing, including her relationship with her other children, but she seems able of understanding this. She isn’t completely tunnel visioned, which made her behaviour feel real. She, along with the other characters, I found really well drawn, something Jewell always does well.
In fact, I’m not sure there isn’t much, if anything, she doesn’t do well. This book is well written and well plotted and there is nothing in it I would change. Loved it!
Note: I received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review. All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own.
Also, this post is scheduled as I am away. As always, I would appreciate your comments but I won’t be able to reply for a few weeks.