Though I cannot speak much to what exactly I was expecting from “Then She Was Gone,” author Lisa Jewell’s name has come up several times amongst discussions with literary colleagues, and I was hopeful in finally including one of her works in my now routine search for new material to review.
‘Then She Was Gone’ begins by introducing readers to Laurel Mack, a mother of three, only two of which have a physical presence in the story. You see, her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie Mack, was abducted over a decade prior and though the case has long since gone cold, Laurel has never given up hope that the truth may one day be discovered.
The years have pushed on and, though Laurel is aware of every agonizing minute, she remains largely frozen in time, somewhat trapped inside her grief. Ellie was her “Golden Girl,” as Laurel refers to her throughout the book, and without Ellie, Laurel has had little idea of what happens next in her life. She has essentially pressed pause across the board in whatever areas she can and remained unchanged.
Laurel happens to be in a local café when a charming stranger called Floyd walks in the door and sweeps her off her feet. Before she knows it, she is spending more and more time with this individual, who has appeared out of nowhere and begins to steal her heart.
When Laurel eventually has the opportunity to meet Floyd’s 9-year-old daughter, Poppy, she’s utterly astonished by how closely she resembles the face and personality of her beloved Ellie from years ago.
Jewell writes this story in five parts, each being from a unique point of view and offering something essential to the final plot. There are certain elements to this book that, I should caution, are not for the faint of heart. This is a story of grief, time and one question right after another. As always, enjoy.
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