Then She Was Gone - Lisa Jewell

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Genre: Thriller

Pages: 384

My Rating: ☆☆☆/5


Synopsis: 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 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?


My Thoughts: Ellie Mack was a 15 year old about to sit her GCSEs when she vanished without trace after not returning home from the library. The police find nothing for over 10 years and begin to give up the search for Ellie. The story follows Laurel, Ellie’s mum, for the most part. 10 years have passed since Ellie went missing, but Laurel is hesitant to move on with her life. Her two other children are now grown up and have moved into their own homes and she has separated from her husband Paul.

Without giving too much away, Laurel meets a chap called Floyd in a coffee shop and before long they are seeing each other frequently. Floyd has two children of his own, both with different mothers. Sara-Jade who is in her early 20s and Poppy who is 9. When Laurel is introduced to Poppy, Laurel thinks that Poppy is a spitting image of Ellie when she was that age and that’s something that really plays on her mind. It turns out that not long after Ellie disappeared, Poppy’s mum also vanished without trace - a bit suspicious, eh?

The book goes about finding the truth of what happened to Ellie which slowly unwinds and the pieces of the mystery start to fit together as the book progresses. It’s quite hard to write a good review for this book without giving anything away!

In January, I read The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell and I read the majority of that book on a train journey down to London, so I knew before I started reading Then She Was Gone that it would likely be a book that I flew through. I was right. I read the entire book in one evening. I’ve only ever finished one book in one sitting before and that was Esio Trot by Roald Dahl when I was about 8 - I refused to go to sleep until I had finished (it was a school night too. Oops).


What I liked about this book: I love the way Lisa Jewell writes. I don’t know what it is about her books but I find them so gripping and I just can’t put them down. As I previously mentioned, I also FLY through her books!

Another thing I loved about this book was how it was told from different perspectives. The majority of the book is told in third person following Laurel. There’s parts of the book written in the present and then there’s parts in the past which delve more into Ellie’s story. Towards the end of the book, there are also parts written in first person which are almost the confessions of certain characters (I’m not saying who!).


What I didn’t like about this book: My problem with only having read one other book by Lisa Jewell is that I keep comparing it to The Family Upstairs, which was a 5 star read for me. The Family Upstairs had me guessing right until the very end. With Then She Was Gone, I figured out what was happening quite early on. There seemed to be fewer twists and turns in the plot and I felt like I was reading the second half of the book just to validate my own guesswork.


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