Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Oh man, Lisa Jewell is such a good writer. I couldn’t wait to read this, despite it being described as “sad and harrowing” to me. Indeed, as soon as I started it I was feeling very anxious about the possibility of one of my children ever vanishing without a trace. This reminded me a bit of The Lovely Bones. A teenage girl vanishes and yet sometimes she is one of the narrators of the story, telling us exactly what happened to her. The reader knows, but her mother does not. And most of the story is told from the mother, Laurel’s, point of view. Laurel has had a difficult time since her family fell apart from that event, but when she meets Floyd it seems like she’s finally able to find some new happiness in her life. But then….     I wouldn’t call this a psychological thriller or suspense novel, but there were definitely some elements where you were watching everything unfold and wondering what would happen next and there was certainly psychological discomfort.
I think what impressed me most was the way the story unfurled in parts, through different points of view, and how much I really liked and felt for Laurel (who at first seemed, frankly, a bit unlikable to me, but then she had lost her child, so understandable.) I was also fascinated by the character Poppy-a young girl who was inappropriately mature in dress and mannerisms. A delightful child, but at one point described as “entertaining in a gauche kind of way.” [I loved that phrase.]

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