source: personal copy
title: Then She Was Gone
genre: crime thriller/mystery
published: April 17th 2018
first line: Laurel let herself into her daughter’s flat.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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 café, 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?
Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell is my first read of 2020. I happily kicked off my new reading year with a great crime thriller. This is my first foray into this author’s work and it won’t be my last.
The book centers around Laurel Mack whose daughter Ellie disappeared ten years ago. Since then Laurel’s marriage has ended, her other two children have moved out and she lives in a small apartment alone and works part time. When a few more clues are found concerning the case, Laurel finally tries to move on with her life. She meets a single dad named Floyd. He lives with his daughter Poppy.
As the story flows, we get to see that Ellie’s disappearance has obviously torn the family apart. There is much mystery surrounding Ellie and what happened to her. The police think she ran away but Laurel does not want to believe this. Laurel begins to try to piece together the clues once more to see if she can find something she overlooked over the past decade. She is also trying to mend her broken relationships with her ex-husband and her children as well as seeing where things go with the new man in her life, Floyd.
I love a good mystery novel, especially ones that involve the intricacies of family life. When her eldest daughter goes missing, Laurel’s life falls apart. She gets divorced, her other two kids move out early on and she isolates herself. Then she meets Floyd and begins to move on with her life somewhat. We get the story through a few of these characters viewpoints through alternating chapters and I liked this style of writing. It also added to the mystery of the story because I wondered whether certain characters were telling the full truth or not.
“And she feels it, right there and then. Stark and obvious. Something askew. Something awry.”– p. 310, Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
This one pulled me right along from page one. Funny enough, I figured out something early on in the storyline, which I usually never do. I was caught up in all the plot twists and I could not turn the pages fast enough especially toward the end. This book had me on the edge of my seat while reading and I was angry at parts and with certain characters then I became unexpectedly misty eyed on reading the final page. Much of the story was heartbreaking to think of and I hoped Laurel would find her closure and get some answers.
I’m happy to say Then She Was Gone was a great first read for 2020. I recommend it to fans of psychological thrillers and mysteries involving family life and to those who enjoy stories that twist and turn until the very end.
Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. My copy of Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell was gifted to me. Some of these links are affiliate links.