Title: Then She Was Gone
Author: Lisa Jewell
Date of Publication: 14th December 2017
Date of Review: 19th March 2018
She was fifteen, her mother’s golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her. And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone. Ten years on, Laurel has never given up hope of finding Ellie. And then she meets a charming and charismatic stranger who sweeps her off her feet. But what really takes her breath away is when she meets his nine-year-old daughter. Because his daughter is the image of Ellie. Now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back. What really happened to Ellie? And who still has secrets to hide?
With each novel, Lisa Jewell has been making her way up my list of favourite authors. But how did her latest domestic noir novel, Then She Was Gone, rate. Read on to see what Literature Love thought of this twisty thriller.
The narrative starts in third-person from Laurel, the protagonist’s, perspective. A lot of books in this genre are in first-person and this third-person narrative felt a bit distant at first. But that’s not to say, I didn’t want to read on.
Typical of this author, the colloquial narrative and likeable protagonist makes you feel like the narrator is telling you about what’s happened to a mutual friend. When Laurel meets Floyd, you’re really rooting for her to find happiness. Even though from the synopsis you know there’s something not right about him, you just want that to be wrong.
With a Then and Now structure, the plot builds on a series of normal everyday events making the reader feel this nightmare could happen to any family living anywhere. Then just as you’re getting used to an external third person narration: wham! The narrative switches to first and then second-person. This is where the contrast against the third-person narration works really well, drawing the reader into the warped mind of the antagonist and her victims (I would say Floyd is pretty much a victim too). Full of self-pity, the antagonist blames everybody else for her downfalls, and the second-person narrative works particularly well to portray her vent up anger and deranged mind.
I’m in two minds about the ending; but I’ll leave you to find out for yourself just what that is. Did Laurel find happiness with Floyd. Or was this a bittersweet ending? You’ll just have to read for yourself to find out!
In summary, this latest novel by Lisa Jewell is no exception in making its way onto my favourites list; in fact, I would say it’s her best yet!
I give this novel 5 out of 5 stars.