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Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell


As a big fan of Lisa Jewell, I was excited to hear about Then She Was Gone, which follows her turn to a rather darker she has been successfully using in her past few books. The story follows Laurel Mack, though it is really told from multiple POVs (of which I tend to be a big fan). Her teenage daughter went missing ten years ago, and when she meets a man, Floyd, whose nine-year-old daughter is the image of Laurel's missing child, Ellie, and she understandably cannot let the mystery go. Laurel is amicably divorced, but has a strained relationship with her two other children, fixated on her perfect daughter, Ellie, her favorite, she has to admit to herself.

Initially, I wasn't sure about Laurel. She came across as a little cold, but after a while, I felt this was mostly a defense mechanism, because she was just so shattered by what had happened to her family. I really liked the multiple view points from which the story is told, jumping back in time as well, which Jewell did very smoothly. The story is fast-paced, though the action is slow and meticulous. I will admit, I guessed the revelation about half-way through, but that may simply be because I read a lot of crime fiction and it is getting harder and harder to find a book in this genre with a truly shocking twist. That being said, I happily continued reading, eager to know if my guesses were correct.

Jewell has a style that makes you feel immediately involved in the story. Her writing is sometimes chatty, but never banal, and I think she has made the shift from chick-lit author to crime fiction writer very nicely. Her books are some of the best domestic suspense I have read, and would surely appeal to fans of Liane Moriarty or Sophie McKenzie. Recommended!

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