Book Reviews

Book Review: Then She Was Gone

Then She Was Gone

By Lisa Jewell

Published in 2017

359 pages

On an otherwise ordinary day, fifteen-year-old Ellie Mack disappears en route to the library.  Ten years later, the case has gone cold, and her mother, Laurel, is trying to put her life back together.  The disappearance of her youngest daughter has taken its toll, leaving Laurel in a gray world where she is single and enjoys only a lukewarm relationship with her two remaining children.  Until the day when she meets Floyd, a warm and funny man who strikes up a conversation with her in a cafe.

She’s soon so involved with Floyd that a “real” life might be possible.  A life where she looks forward to the day and can finally lay Ellie to rest. Until she meets his daughter Poppy, who is strikingly similar to Ellie. Amazingly Poppy’s mother was Ellie’s math tutor.  Instead of letting the past go, Laurel begins to piece together what might have really happened to Ellie.

Obviously, this is not a new book but I enjoy Lisa Jewell and hadn’t read anything by her in awhile, so I picked up what my library had on offer.

Let’s start with the positives.  I couldn’t help but feel for the characters, particularly Laurel who started the novel so bitter and beaten down that I have no idea how she got out of bed every day.  I might have given up were I in her situation so her broken relationships were completely understandable. Given where she started, her arc was impressive. Other POVs are woven in with Laurel’s and presented in either first, second, or third person. Overall, they added depth to the story and I always love getting into the antagonist’s head. 

In a nutshell, Then She Was Gone solidified my opinion that the author is an accomplished storyteller who can weave together a great mystery.  

But, and there’s usually a but, aside from a few details, the ending wasn’t a surprise.  I’m not sure if that’s because the use of multiple POVs stole some of the tension or because the hints weren’t well hidden, but I had figured out what happened to Ellie well before the reveal, as well as several other “surprises.”  And let’s face it, the fun of reading a mystery/thriller is being blown away by the ending.  That didn’t happen here, although it was still a great story.  

My final take-way is that this was a worthwhile read, but not the best I’ve read by this author.

I rated this novel three stars. 

Until next time, thank you for visiting.

My rating system:

5 stars – Wow, I could not stop thinking about this book and/or I wish I’d writtn it.

4 stars – This was an awesome novel, I’d recommend it to friends.

3 stars – This was a good novel, I will look for more by this author.

2 stars – An okay novel, but I probably won’t look for anything else by the author.

Crime stories are rarely about crime, they’re a study of its aftermath.


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