I’ve been a fan of Lisa Jewell since her debut outing with Ralph’s Party way back in 1998. Known for her larger than life characters Jewell has carved herself a niche in modern British fiction. This is her fifteenth book and Then She Was Gone is a bit of a departure for her in that she has taken on the psychological thriller and managed to merge the two genres perfectly in this story. It is a dark and twisty tale that has a damaged family at its core.
Ten years ago fifteen year old Ellie Mack left the house as normal. She never came home. An extensive search was mounted but there were no sightings and she was never found. The police assumed that she had run away because she was nervous about taking her GCSE exams. Laurel fell apart after the loss of her daughter and the family never recovered. Divorce from husband Paul eventually followed and there was a strained relationship with her remaining children Jake and Hanna who felt they could never measure up.
When Laurel gets talking to a handsome stranger in a coffee shop she feels like she is beginning to wake up again. Floyd is fun and seems to share her interests and views. When she is introduced to his daughter Poppy she is struck by her likeness to Ellie and finds herself really enjoying being part of a family dynamic again.
As time passes Laurel starts to realise that Floyd is not what he appears and that there is a much more sinister reason for him to seek her out. This is a book that you won’t want to put down. The final denouement is truly shocking.
UK Publication Date: July 27 2017. 422 pages.