Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Recently, I’ve finished reading a book called Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell. The book was nominated for the best Mystery and Thriller novel at the Goodreads’s yearly choice awards and that’s how I found out about it.

The story is about a missing girl called Ellie. We don’t learn much about her, the plot rather revolves around the cause of her missing and the effect it left on her environment.

It was a solid read, but nothing spectacular; I guess that my expectations were much higher for a book that’s got more than 20,000 votes from the Goodreads community.

Lisa Jewell is an experienced writer and she knows how to tell an attention-grabbing story, but I must admit that the plot is quite predictable and I wasn’t sure whether that was authors intention or not. Some of the clues seemed to obvious as if the author was telling the reader:

Yes, you’re right! Do you want to see if that’s really true?

However, predictability didn’t repel me from the book, which is quite unusual; I simply wanted to see what happens next and if it could it get any crazier; and it gets.

Much of the story revolves around grief, denial, and hope; mostly told from the POV of Ellie’s mother, Laurel. She was living in denial of her daughter’s death until the remains were finally found. Her grief had made her blind and she neglected all aspects of her life, including the rest of her children, especially her daughter Hannah, who suffered most.

While Laurel is trying to rebuild her life, she realizes that it’s not going to happen that easily. She gets involved in new sets of mysteries and weird coincidences.

We get to see the manipulative and exploitative side of human nature who are willing to do anything for personal gain; crushing everything and everyone who are standing on their ways. In that game, nobody actually wins and the reckless, selfish, manipulative behavior affects more people than we can think of.

Although the story was built on some rather unbelievable set of events, with a lot of obvious patches for plot holes, which are not quite well explained, the reading community obviously enjoyed the book and forgave the author for taking shortcuts while building the story.

After all, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading mysteries, but be prepared to reveal a lot of information by yourself.