Then She Was Gone Review

Friday, 16 June 2017

Rating: 5/5
Source: ARC via NetGalley 

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.

Ten years on, Laurel has never given up hope of finding Ellie. And then she meets a charming and charismatic stranger who sweeps her off her feet. But what really takes her breath away is when she meets his nine-year-old daughter. Because his daughter is the image of Ellie. Now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

What really happened to Ellie? And who still has secrets to hide?

Then She Was Gone is part thriller and part family drama, which is a genre I'm quickly growing to love thanks to Lisa Jewell. 

Earlier this year I read I Found You also by Lisa Jewell and I loved it from start to finish, I also reviewed that book so if you're interested you can click here. Like with I Found You, one of the things I enjoyed most about Then She Was Gone was the characters. Lisa Jewell is amazing with characterisation and making you connect with the character before you have really gotten to know them. Laurel, like Alice in I Found You, is brilliant and throughout the whole book I was with her emotionally. 

It would be hard not to connect with the mother of a lost daughter, and as the reader we know more than Laurel does which only makes us sympathise more. The other characters were seen through the eyes of a mother who had stopped mothering, therefore I found her daughter Hanna tedious when Laurel did, Paul, the ex-husband, was annoyingly optimistic about family life and Jake was the distant son with an annoying girlfriend. I think it's really good writing when I could dislike these perfectly nice characters and stay with the woman who is clearly in the wrong.

Floyd and Poppy are another matter. When Laurel was enamoured by Floyd I was suspicious and when she was suspicious of Poppy, I felt sorry for the girl. This is a very dark story as you guess from the description of the book, this isn't just the case of Ellie running away, there's something a lot more twisted going on and this was one of those books where I wanted to put it down and stop looking, but then it turned out I just couldn't and had to keep going. I finished it quicker than any book I've read this year. 

I thought I knew what the story was going to be about from the beginning, Ellie's monologue chapters gave me such a good sense for where I thought the story was going but things changed a couple of times. I got a couple of plot points correct but the path leading to them wasn't what I thought it would be, so there's still a fair amount of guesswork involved if you figure some things out, which is good because for all I try to work things out, I'd hate to ruin the book for myself.  

As for the structure of the book, we get Laurel's POV, as well as Ellie's monologues and there are a couple of other characters whose voices we hear, including Floyd's, and I think this keeps the book and the drama flowing really well, none of it feels dragged out and I can honestly say I enjoyed reading the whole book at the pace that I read it, even when I was close to tears. 

There are some dark themes in this book, so another one of my recommendations that should be read at your own discretion. If you are a fan of grittier thrillers then this is the book for you. I would recommend this for an at home, in bed, with a cup of something warm and some chocolate close at hand type of read. This book will be released on the 27th of July this year so you've got a month to whittle down your TBR pile to make way for this one. 

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