It feels like the past year has been the year of me reading a ton of mysteries and thrillers and Then She Was Gone is another one that I’ve enjoyed. It’s been a while since I’ve read an almost 500 page novel in 8 hours or less, but that’s what happened with Then She was Gone. It was fast paced and full of characters that the reader would find easy to care about.
Laurel’s fifteen year old daughter, Ellie, disappeared without a trace. The only real lead is CCTV footage of the last sighting of Ellie, but nothing appears out of the ordinary, so where is Ellie and what happened to her? The novel goes back and forth in time, from the time that Ellie disappeared till ten years later where Laurel still lives in the aftermath of her daughter’s disappearance. A decade since, Laurel still has a hard time finding closure, many things in her life has suffered in the wake of this tragedy, including her losing her marriage and any real relationship with her remaining children. All which is completely understandable.
Laurel might finally be able to move on with her life when it transpires that Ellie’s remains have been found. She now knows her daughter is dead and can finally bury her and say goodbye. She also meets a man and falls in love. His youngest daughter, surprisingly resembles her late daughter and Laurel finds this a bit unnerving.
When her son’s girlfriend confesses to her that her new partner is making her feel uneasy, Laurel starts questioning circumstances, especially since she found that there is a link between her daughter and his. His daughter’s mother (Noelle) used to be Ellie’s maths tutor. From here on out, the story moves forward where the characters finds out what happens to Ellie and how Noelle was involved.
The reader knows that something is amiss in Laurel’s new relationship and also the biggest twist you guess early on, but it’s the how, when and why that propels the story forward. It’s a dark and twisted tale of obsession and secrets and one of the most thrilling books I’ve read this year. I’ve enjoyed it immensely. There are many more aspects to the story that I’ve enjoyed, like the exploration of family dynamics after a tragedy. Laurel’s journey to repair her relationship with her children and ex-husband was a pleasure to read. The characters are well fleshed out, in a way that makes you really care about them and not just the story/mystery alone.
I will re-read this novel again, any time!
Now I definitely should pick up The House We Grew Up In that’s been on my shelf for over a year.
Disclaimer: I received this book from Penguin Books SA for review consideration