Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell is a thriller about a missing child, and also about a missing mother of another child. Since I normally read historical fiction, I wanted to branch out with a different genre for my last book of 2020.
Laurel Mack’s beautiful and happy daughter, Ellie, disappeared without a trace ten years earlier. After the disappearance, Laurel distanced herself from her husband and her other two children. Now divorced, she is trying to move on with her life. One day she randomly meets Floyd Dunn at a coffee shop. The two of them hit it off and begin dating seriously. When Laurel first meets Floyd’s 9-year-old daughter, Poppy, she is stunned by Poppy’s resemblance to Ellie. Floyd states that Ellie’s mother disappeared without a trace.
When Laurel learns that Poppy’s missing mother, Noelle Donnelly, was also Ellie’s math tutor, things start to get dark. Was the first meeting with Floyd really random? What did Noelle and/or Floyd have to do with Ellie’s disappearance? Who is Poppy’s real mother? What has become of Ellie and Noelle? We learn the answers from the points of view of Laurel, Ellie, Noelle, and Floyd as the story goes back and forth between ten years ago and the present.
3-Stars. I enjoyed this novel. I thought Laurel’s character was flawed and believable, as were her family members. I found the confession at the end of the novel to be gimmicky.