Book Review: Then She Was Gone


Photo by Amber Wright

Author: Lisa Jewell

Synopsis: Ellie Mack was the perfect daughter. And then she was gone. Ten years after Ellie’s disappearance, her mother, Laurel Mack, is trying to put her life back together when she meets an unexpectedly charming man in a café. Before she knows it, she’s meeting Floyd’s daughters–and his youngest, Poppy, takes Laurel’s breath away. Because the eerily precocious Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie. And now, the unanswered questions she’s tried so hard to put to rest begin haunting Laurel anew. Where did Ellie go? Did she run away from home, as the police have long suspected, or did something more sinister happen? A haunting page-turner of “sheer perfection” (Booklist, starred review), Then She Was Gone is a gripping and emotionally resonant tale of one mother’s quest to uncover the clues she failed to recognize and finally discover the truth of what happened to her daughter.

Review: Lisa Jewell wrote Then She Was Gone to be an addictive and wonderfully dark thriller, and she did not fall short. She took the classic missing person storyline and artfully put her own spin on it. With this book being a blend of multiple genres, it creates a unique reading experience that readers of all kinds can enjoy it.

One of my favorite aspects of this book was the characters. All of the characters were fully developed and absolutely human, complete with their own unique flaws and convictions, and relationships between the characters were fleshed out and real. Readers can genuinely relate to the protagonist and her raw grief that she endures over her daughter’s disappearance.

Ellie’s disappearance felt like a real loss, not just something that exists within a book because of the strong writing and beautifully sinister plot. Those who are not strangers to mystery novels may be able to predict some of what will happen next in the book as I did at times, but everyone will struggle to figure out the why, which is what makes this book suspenseful and so hard to put down.

“If she could unwind the timeline, untwist it and roll it back the other way like a ball of wool, she’d see the knots in the yarn, the warning signs. Looking at it backward it was obvious all along. But back then, when she knew nothing about anything, she had not seen it coming. She had walked straight into it with her eyes open.”

You’ve probably noticed that I have said nothing about the plot itself, and there is a good reason for that. It’s best if you go into this book as blind as you can. But what I can tell you is that this book is absolutely worth reading. The writing is skillful and poetic, which somehow works for this thriller. It’s a story of love and loss and it reminded me to appreciate everything I have because everything can change in an instant.

Rating: I would give this book a 9/10. I loved reading it and I would recommend this book to anyone!