Then She Was Gone - Lisa Jewell
Laurel Mack was never perfect, but her daughter Ellie, was the pinnacle of perfection. Until one day when Ellie was fifteen, and she didn't come home. 10 years later the Mack's are still connected by the tiny thread of their missing daughter and sister. While the rest of her family has been able to move on and live again, Laurel is a shell of her former self. Then one day in a cafe she meets a man who makes her smile just a little and soon she is meeting his precocious perfect daughter, Poppy. From the moment she meets Poppy, Laurel is thrown by how she could very well be a clone of her own Ellie. Suddenly Laurel's lust for answers, to know what happened to Ellie, becomes more crucial than ever.
I just want to put a disclaimer that this book touches on some pretty heavy stuff; I can't go into exactly what without being a spoiler just know this book can be a bit triggering, I will not go into any of the heavy here in my review but wanted everyone to be aware should you decide to pick up your own copy.
I had such a hard time getting into this one. As a mother, this book is my worst nightmare. I had a really hard time liking or caring about Laurel's character. She sounds like a horrible mother. With 4 kids I have never had favorites (I'm sure my kids would tell it differently though), I love each of them uniquely and in the way they need to be loved because they are individuals. I just cant fathom the idea of loving one child more than another and that left me disconnected. Then She Was Gone is written incredibly well. The way Lisa Jewell depicts this fractured family and broken woman, is as if she has lived it herself. You have to give credit when the writing is so well done that you just despise a specific character, and it only took a single line to do it for me.
"It should be you missing and Ellie eating beans on toast."
And that's okay! You can appreciate an authors writing without enjoying the book fully. Not every character in every book will always engage you as a reader. Sometimes you'll give up; throw it on your DNF pile, because your time is precious. But sometimes, sometimes you'll trudge through to the very end because you have the unending hope that something will click and it will suddenly turn into the greatest read of your life and what if you gave up and missed it?
It took me quite a few sittings to make it through Then She Was Gone, but I did. At one point, a phrase said by a character in passing, piqued my interest and an idea of the twists to come took root, I knew I had to finish to know if I was right. (I was 😉) I finally got into the characters when the point of view shifted more from Laurel's around Part 3. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys books about family dynamics, thrillers or who loves when authors throw in fantastical twists. I wouldn't read this if you are a under the age of 16 and tend to know whats happening hours before it does in a movie.
⭐⭐⭐ 3 stars for Then She Was Gone. All 3 go to writing style, not the content itself.
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