Book review: Then She Was Gone

Lisa JewellThen She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell is a delight, the page-turning story of a disappeared teenager whose experience was something I did not expect. An excellent un-thriller; that’s a phrase I use after giving it some thought. This is not a psychological thriller in that it is frightening. It didn’t make my pulse race with a sense of danger, but it did make me very curious.

Ellie Mack is fifteen the day she fails to come home from the library, she is due to take her GCSE examinations the following week. She is a clever student, a golden girl. But she disappears, never to be seen again. Life goes on. Except it doesn’t for her family, each being trapped in some way by Ellie’s absence. Until ten years later when Ellie’s mum Lauren, now divorced, meets a nice bloke in a café. Her ex, Paul, has a new partner and so do Ellie’s siblings. Laurel is the one who is really stuck, visiting her elderly mother bed-ridden after a stroke. Then she meets Floyd and his daughters Poppy and SJ, and she blossoms.

I would like to say from the beginning I had unsettling feelings of the ‘that’s not quite right’ variety, but I didn’t. Instead the doubts crept in stealthily until the full truth dawned on me at 72% on my Kindle. And then it hit with a sledgehammer.

This is a clever book written by an author who has matured enormously over the years in the subjects she tackles.

Then She Was Gone doesn’t set out to be frightening, at least I don’t think that is the author’s primary intent. I think she started with a ‘what if’ scenario and let it unfold from there. It is a puzzle involving characters so real you feel you know them, that it could be happening to you; and that’s what makes it so powerful.

Read my review of Lisa Jewell’s The Girls and I Found You.

If you like this, try:-
‘The Good Girl’ by Mary Kubica
‘Chosen Child’ by Linda Huber
‘Stolen Child’ by Laura Elliot

‘Then She Was Gone’ by Lisa Jewell [UK: Century] Buy now

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
THEN SHE WAS GONE by @lisajewelluk #bookreview via @SandraDanby

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