Title: Then She Was Gone
Author: Lisa Jewell
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?
Then She Was Gone is a fairly different novel to the one I was expecting. Having read The Girls and hugely enjoying it [read my review here], and also seeing many reviews for the much-loved I Found You, I was expecting a thriller/ mystery-style novel which focussed more on the investigation. This was not at all that type of novel – but I really enjoyed it!
The novel focuses much more on the characters and family dynamics between Laurel and her son and daughter in the years since the disappearance of her other daughter, Ellie. There are parts which are quite sad and emotional and there’s definitely still the element of mystery – it just didn’t feel like the main narrative in this book. I did, however, really enjoy finding out what had happened to Ellie.
The characters in this novel cover a wide range of personality types, from the weird and annoying through to those lovely, helpful people – and everything in between. Some people I wanted to scream at Laurel not to trust. There are various parts of this novel which seem, as Lisa Jewell says in her introduction, pretty crazy. You have to suspend your disbelief slightly for some elements, and I saw some parts coming a mile off, but I didn’t feel it impaired my enjoyment of the book and I found myself racing through this novel, finishing it in a few hours. I have to say I absolutely love a good police procedural/ thriller, but in Then She Was Gone I enjoyed reading more about Laurel and her family, and their experiences, instead of just focussing on the investigation – it felt like something a little different, too.
Many thanks to Century and Netgalley for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.