Then She Was Gone

Lately, I have been in somewhat of a book slump. I read five books in January, yet managed to only read half of a book throughout the first few weeks of February. Though, this failure to read is certainly not from a lack of books. Psychological thrillers line my bookshelves, many of which are books that I plan to read but have yet to open. I may (or may not) have a slight habit where I see a book I would love to read, buy it, and then slowly amass a bookshelf full of books that are waiting for their chance to be read. To further make my point, I have approximately forty books on my TBR (to be read) shelf, and manage to keep collecting more. Though my obsession with books is beside the point of this review, I felt it necessary to say that many of those books are psychological thrillers. Then She Was Gone was a thriller I have had on my bookshelf for a short time, but a part of me knew that this was the one I needed to help me get out of my book slump. (See, everything comes full circle).

Ellie Mack was the perfect daughter. She was fifteen, the youngest of three. She was beloved by her parents, friends, teachers, and boyfriend. She 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 ten years after her daughter goes missing, 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.

Though Poppy is a bright and intelligent child, it is her striking resemblance to Ellie that shocks Laurel. And now, despite the possibilities this new relationship brings her, Laurel is haunted by the questions she is desperately trying to put behind her. Questions that bring back memories of the time before her daughter's disappearance and an odd home invasion that occurred years after Ellie was gone. Questions that all come back to what happened to her daughter.

A twisted and eerie thriller, Then She Was Gone, was a fun and fast paced read. It is one of those books where you can imagine where the story is leading, however, the author gives such effort to detail that the ending is difficult to wholly predict. This is my first Lisa Jewell book, but it will not be my last. When reading a book and determining my review, I always focus on three factors: plot, flow and characters. Then She Was Gone has a clever plot, one that is somewhat predictable but so deliciously strange that you want to keep reading. As the book bounces from different characters' perspectives it pieces together a brilliant story. And lastly, the characters are so detailed and precise with their own personalities, it is easy to envision each character throughout each page. And yet, despite everything seeming so structured, it all is ultimately unpredictable. Thrill seekers and mystery lovers will find it hard to put this book down!

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