Review: Then She Was Gone
Then She Was Gone, Lisa Jewell
To Be Published April 24, 2018 Atria (US)
The U.K. edition of this book was published July of last year, and after I received an e-galley of the book from Atria I ended up ordering the U.K. paperback, but the (gorgeous) U.S. cover will look like this:
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.
It’s been ten years since Ellie
disappeared, but Laurel has never given up
hope of finding her daughter.
And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet.
Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter.
Poppy is precocious and pretty - and meeting her completely takes Laurel's breath away.
Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age.
And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.
What happened to Ellie? Where did she go?
Who still has secrets to hide?
I'm a big Lisa Jewell fan and I do a little dance whenever her newest book lands on NetGalley because I am an impatient book monster who feels a deep jealousy that the U.K. gets to enjoy her publications months before anyone in the U.S..
Jewell's latest has a deep creep factor early on with characters of all shapes and sizes doing things that leave both main characters like Laurel and Ellie feeling unsettled, and readers feeling dread.
While the story is mainly focused on Laurel and how she's struggling to live her life after her daughter goes missing, the reader also gets little snippets of insight into the supporting characters of the book, including their devious machinations, which means that we the readers have more information than Laurel does. So for me at least, this results in a heavy dose of Whoopie Goldberg's "Molly girl, you're in danger" every time Laurel decides to ignore the icky feeling in her gut and spend time with questionable people.
While I was living in New York City, and trying to suss out how to best take care of my female self while out and about on my own, I read an interesting article about how over time women have been subtly and not so subtly taught not to trust their gut feelings. Using patriarchal favorites like "You're being hysterical" and "you're just being overemotional" too many women who have been in dangerous situations because they didn't want to "overreact" or "seem rude" and later said, "I should have listened to my gut." This book is the epitome of this experience.
Jewell often delivers mostly happy endings in her books, and tidies up loose ends, and this book is no exception, delivering on the more uplifting endings I've ever experienced coming off a book so deep with creep that just the word "tutor" has me pushing helpful academics away in a hurry.