Book Review: Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

  Then She Was Gone  by Lisa Jewell Genre:  Mystery, Thriller Synopsis:   Ellie Mack was the perfect daughter. She was fifteen, the yo...


Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Ellie Mack was the perfect daughter. She was fifteen, the youngest of three. Beloved by her parents, friends, and teachers, and half of a teenaged golden couple. Ellie 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 cafĂ©, 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?

Content/Trigger Warnings: Kidnapping, abuse, animal abuse, loss of a loved one, sexual abuse

Overall rating:  ★★★★☆

Lisa Jewell is like Karin Slaughter if you toned down the graphic violence by a billion percent. Her writing is gripping and her stories are absolutely horrifying in a very real way. I’ll say that Then She Was Gone started out very slow for me. Some stories excite you from that very first page, while others require you to get to know the characters before really feeling a connection to the story. This book was certainly the latter, forcing you to meet the characters before letting you care about the story. That isn’t to say that the plot isn’t incredible, because it is, but this is certainly a character-driven book.

"Stories," she says, "are the only thing in this world that are real. Everything else is just a dream."

I really enjoyed the pacing of the book and I felt that I was able to unravel aspects of the plot as I delved into the story. There were definitely parts I figured out, but were still shocking and didn’t take away from the impact of the story. Usually I’m annoyed when I “figure things out,” but somehow it felt intentional with this book. It was as if Jewell set up the story so the reader could figure it out bit by bit. I will say, however, that I was super annoyed with the MC Laurel. She was a bit clueless, and it was aggravating that she wasn’t figuring it all out. Maybe it was denial on her end, but she just seemed so oblivious throughout. I’m also not a fan of the “man gives woman’s life meaning” plot device, and that’s ultimately what impacted my thoughts on the book.

Overall, I found Then She Was Gone to be interesting, shocking, and sickening (in the way a good thriller is), but it wasn’t my favorite. I would recommend though. If you want a thriller with a great pace, and shocking outcomes - check this out!

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