Then She Was Gone

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 23 Jan 2018

Member Reviews

EXCERPT: She had no one to call, no one to ask 'Have you seen Hanna? Do you know where she is?' Her life simply didn't work like that. There were no connections anywhere. Just little islands of life dotted here and there. 

It was possible, she thought, that Hanna had met a man, but unlikely. Hannah hadn't had a boyfriend, not one, ever. Someone once mooted the theory that Hanna felt too guilty to have a boyfriend because her little sister would never have one. The same theory could also be applied to her miserable flat and her nonexistent social life. 

Laurel knew simultaneously that she was overreacting and also that she was not overreacting. When you are the parent of a child who walked out of the house one morning with a rucksack full of books to study at a library a fifteen minute walk away and then never came home again, then there is no such thing as overreacting. The fact that she was standing in her adult daughter’s kitchen picturing her dead in a ditch because she hadn't left a cereal bowl in the sink was perfectly sane and reasonable in the context of her own experience. 

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. 

It’s been ten years since Ellie 
disappeared, but Laurel has never given up 
hope of finding her daughter.
And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet. 
Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter. 
Poppy is precocious and pretty - and meeting her completely takes Laurel's breath away. 

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age.
And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back. 

What happened to Ellie? Where did she go? 
Who still has secrets to hide?

MY THOUGHTS: I loved this book. I love Lisa Jewell's writing. I love her characters. I wanted, so badly, to know what happened, but I wanted the book never to end. I think I am addicted. I have started another of this author's books straight away. And I seldom, if ever, do that. 

The characters are very ordinary people. They are not rich, nor particularly successful. They don't marry millionaires and live happily ever after. They are ordinary people with ordinary worries who have ordinary awful things happen, and who react like I imagine that I, or any of my friends, would react should a child of mine go missing. And in this very 'ordinaryness' Jewell creates compelling characters that we come to love and empathise with, and addictive reads. 

A jewel. A treasure. And even though I had an inkling about where this was going, it didn't diminish my pleasure in this read at all.

Thank you to Random House UK, Cornerstone Arrow for providing a digital ARC of Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. 

Please refer to my profile page or the 'about' page on for an explanation of my rating system. 

This review and others are also published on my blog
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I was quite surprised by this book. I kind of expected it to be all about Ellie, the search for her and the link between her and Poppy. However it's more about relationships of those left behind plus how newcomer Poppy fits into that. I loved how the story of Ellie unfolded and was woven into the narrative. 

There's several voices within the book as the story is told from about 4 different points of view. I like this kind of thing, for me it adds extra layers to my reading. 

Parts of the story are a little bizarre (Jewell says this herself in the Acknowledgements), but it does work. Again it's something I like. Throw in the maddest thing you can think of but as long as it can be woven into the story and all the loose ends are tied up and I don't care. I just like to be entertained and I was.

It's a really fast read and I was sucked in right from the start. Thoroughly enjoyable and I'd definitely recommend it

Free arc from netgalley
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Different in the best possible way. Highly original plot with some great characters, especially Laurel. Emotionally charged, beautifuly written and altogether spellbinding
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Lisa Jewell is probably my favourite author at the moment. She hasn’t written anything I haven’t been addicted to, thrilled by or desperate to reach the killer ending. I really enjoyed this one. Highly recommend!
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I found these characters appealing and sad, very sad. Through the disappearance of Ellie the other relationships suffer, divorce then a distance between the other children. 
Which is sad but I could see why it could happen. The not knowing and waiting, just waiting.
The story unfolds really well and the author has tackled it all really well. 
A good read
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I am split regarding this book.  On one side is the story.  I enjoyed the story, some predictable parts, some surprising twists.  Overall, the story was really good and gripping. On the other side is the author. I’m very on the fence with Lisa Jewell.  I am a big fan of her chick lit books but I have not really got on well with any of her thriller books.  However saying that this is definitely my favourite of hers for a long time.
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A very rare thing occured with this book, I read it twice. I read a lot, and often forget the plot ( as well as losing it :)). I found it on my kindle, for some reason it didn't show I had read it , and I recognised it from the first chapter but couldn't recall how it ended, I started reading a bit to jog my memory,and although I remembered the ending, I couldn't recall all the bits of the story and ended up reading the whole thing. I think that shows how good it was. A really unusual plot, great characters, all flawed but all very human and relatable. The way the truth started unfolding was clever, you could see the links, but not how they were going to fit, so when it was all revealed, it was happily as good an outcome as there could have been, Well written and easy to lose yourself entirely, a great novel.
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A brilliant twisty, keep you guessing book. One of those you have to lose sleep over ‘cos you NEED to know what’s going on! Yes I sussed a little of it out but this didn’t spoil my enjoyment. I've not read any of Lisa's books before but I will deffo read more. For the people who don't like 'unrealistic, far fetched' plots. I suggest you stick to nonfiction books & documentaries on telly :)). Highly recommended.
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then she was gone by lisa Jewell.
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.
wow. this was a fantastic read. couldn't put it down.  loved the story and the characters.  I love lisa last book I read i Found you. Will definitely be reading more from her. 5*.
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Ellie Mack went missing at the age of 15, There didn't appear to be any explanation for her disappearance and eventually it was decided that she had simply run away.  Skip forward 10 years and Eillie's mother Laurel meets a mysterious stranger who she starts to fall in love with. Is Floyd really all he appears to be? Floyd has a 9 year old daughter, Poppy, who is the spitting image of Ellie. How is this possible. What is the story?
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I love Lisa jewel books, and although I enjoyed 'then she was gone', I didn't find it as good as her previous books....there were some hard to believe things happening and I didn't understand why we had to have that ending with Floyd
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Amazing. This book twists and turns and gives you clues but then switches again. I really wasn’t sure as I thought it was by a chick lit author. Not at all. The characters are very believable and the main character is someone you’ll root for and empathise with. Go and buy this!
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Last time I reviewed a Lisa Jewell book (I Found You) I thought it was a masterpiece and wrote that she was at the top of her game. Well, what can I say now that she has written an even better book? I tell you, this woman is a genius.

Then She Was Gone will break your heart in about ten places. Its observations are so acute it’s as if Jewell can look into people’s minds. Laurel’s life before she lost her daughter was an ordinary cycle of worry and waiting and Jewell describes that with suchabsolute accuracy that I found myself nodding.

I’m not giving anything away here that’s no in the blurb. Laurel’s daughter Ellie goes missing aged fifteen, and that’s the main plot point. The hook of the story is so irresistible that you will be tempted to devour this book in one gulp. Several years after her daughter’s death she meets her boyfriend’s daughter who is so like Ellie that its stops Laurel in her tracks. Therein lies an intriguing story told in tantalising pieces that the readers fits together like an addictive jigsaw.

The book is harrowing in places, but the story is vividly told and not without shafts of light. It is one of the best books I have ever read and just one of the many reasons why Lisa Jewell is my favourite author. Possibly ever.
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My first 5 star review of the year, and boy oh boy, did this book deserve it!

Then She Was Gone is told mainly from Laurel's point of view, the mother of missing Ellie, who disappeared at the tender age of fifteen. However, we also get glimpses into Ellie's character as some of the chapters are told from her point of view. We hear from Ellie before she disappears, and then again later in the story. I loved the alternating points of view, and the move between first and third person narration. 

This read really got under my skin, and some of the chapters creeped me out. I felt for Ellie's family after her disappearance, especially for her mother who fell apart, and then who, years later, manages to find some form of happiness with a new man. But really, the chapters that disturbed me the most, were those about Ellie's disappearance and her capture...let's talk about an eerie basement, a tiny window, a solid door with three bolts, and hamsters, lots of hamsters...

I found this book to be totally gripping, and even though I've been in a bit of a reading slump for the last couple of months, I couldn't wait to get home every day to read. I definitely didn't feel my slump while turning the pages of this book! And this is why I awarded 5 stars - it was just pure, enthralling, entertainment...and that's exactly what I want from my reads.

In summary, I'm not the type of person that enjoys long winded, highly descriptive prose, award winning books that may be extremely well written but which tend to be a tad monotonous and let's be frank...boring. No Sir, not me! Give me a fast paced, rollicking roller coaster of a read and I'll be happy. This one ticks all those boxes! Loved it.
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One word - obsessed! I literally could not put this book down and when I physically had to I could not stop thinking about it. This book will have you gripped literally from the first chapters and you just will not believe what happens! I cannot recommend this book enough .
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Firstly, thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for allowing me a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

The plot: In 2005, Ellie Mack disappears of the face of the earth. a straight A student with a bright future ahead of her, just about to sit her GCSE's, Ellie has everything to live for.  But one day she takes herself off to her local library to study.  Ellie never makes it to the library.  Convinced something has happened to her, mum Laurel never gives up hope on Ellie.  Until her remains are found in Kent some 10 years later.  Finally, with closure, Laurel begins to move on with her life.  By chance, she meets Floyd in her local cafe, who captures Laurel's heart.  Soon they are an item and Floyd introduces Laurel to his daughters, Sara-Jade and Poppy.  To Laurel's shock, Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie.  But are Floyd and his daughters all they seem?

I've read one other Lisa Jewell book, that being Ralph's Party back in the late '90s and, if I remember rightly, that was more of a romantic kind of affair, and in all honesty I had no idea Ms Jewell had moved on to psychological thrillers.  And as the genre goes, she's done a pretty good job of it.  The book ebbs and flows, sometimes begging to be read and read and read, others slowing the pace down as if to say "take a break".  But you always have the feeling you need to go back to it and see what's around the corner for the characters.  I can honestly say I had no idea what had happened to young Ellie until the build up to the final reveal, which comes a tad early for my liking with around a quarter of the book to go - personally I think it could have been squeezed on a few more chapters.  I'll definitely be seeking out more thrillers by this author.

While it's certainly not the most gripping of thrillers I've read in recent times, there's no doubt it's a very good book, although not quite a 5* work for me.
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Sometimes you hear a lot of great things about a book, buy it, start it and then wonder what’s wrong with you because you just don’t get the hype. Well not in this case, I loved this book and it’s a definite 5 stars from me and I think I’m hard to please when it comes to awarding that five stars. I read it in a day, I didn’t want to rush it but I had to find out what happened. I just couldn’t put it down. I found the author’s writing flowed so well and I loved the characters she created, both good and bad. I found it a very emotional read and tragic in places. The story is told in five parts and various character’s stories are told in different chapters. I highly recommend this book and as it’s the first book I’ve read by this author I’m now going to have a look at her others.
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I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Then She Was Gone’ by Lisa Jewell. The premise of the story is a well-used one, as both male and female readers alike could not help but empathise with Laurel’s pain at one of a parent’s biggest nightmares becoming a reality; fifteen year old Ellie Mack leaves her house one day, and disappears. Her mother’s grief is real, raw and deeply felt. Laurel’s other relationships suffer, her marriage ending in divorce and her other two children paling into insignificance beside the all-encompassing grief of her loss.

The story is told from several points of view, including that of the lost child, Ellie, and Lisa Jewell maintains a feeling of unease throughout the telling of it. The characters are well-developed, and probably the most notable is that of Noelle, Ellie’s home tutor, intelligent, sinister and manipulative.

I have read some reviews that say that the book is predictable; I beg to differ, as to suggest that a book is predictable suggests that the author was trying to ‘hide’ a secret until the very end when the conclusion would be a shocking surprise. I don’t think this is the case with ‘Then She Was Gone.’ There doesn’t have to be a big reveal to make a book thrilling; it is my thought that Lisa Jewell left a smattering of clues throughout the book for the reader to follow, and it is her talent as a writer that maintains the sinister atmosphere throughout, as the story GRADUALLY unfolds and the mystery of what happened to Ellie Mack comes to be GRADUALLY revealed.

This for me was a five star read!
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A disturbing story of a fifteen year old girl who goes missing. Ellie is a bright 15 year old and the apple of her mothers eye, so when she goes missing her mothers world is torn apart. Her parents separate and her mothers relationship with her remaining children is far from a close one. Ten years past and when laurel thinks she will never be happy again she meets a man and begins to see just a glimmer of light in her life. With meeting said man comes his two daughters, eldest daughter SJ and youngest Poppy who shares and uncanny resemblance to Ellie. Laurels World is once again rocked as she pieces together the pieces of events that link the new people in her life with her beloved deceased daughter.

When writing this review it was extremely difficult not to write spoilers but what I will say about it is that we're I did enjoy it, I liked the writing style and I read it very fast and clearly it made and impact with me for me to rate it four stars but with that being said I did find it predictable. I knew a lot of the time what was happening and when reading thrillers I do like to be surprised and shocked. Overall the novel was well written, super sad I felt a large amount of sadness for laurel and for Ellie too.

I will be reading more books by this author in the future because this one i did enjoy.
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I really enjoyed this book.  It was well written, full of mystery  and intrigue.  I loved the plotting, which kept me guessing and I will read anything by Lisa Jewell.  She has become another go to favourite author.
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