Then She Was Gone

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 15 Jun 2018

Member Reviews

You can Google Laurel Mack and find out all about her, all about her family. Laurel was the mother of the beautiful, smart Ellie Mack, the sixteen-year-old who went missing one day on her way to the library. Laurel used to have a big happy family. Now she lives alone. Her husband has moved on to another woman. Her other children have grown up and moved out. Her mother is in a home. 

Years have passed since Ellie went missing. But Laurel can’t completely move on. She wants to know what happened to her daughter. She needs to know what happened to her daughter. She feels like she can’t connect with life again until she does. 

Then she meets Floyd, a nice guy in a cafe willing to share his slice of carrot cake with her. And after a couple of nice dinners together, she finds herself feeling better. But when she meets his nine-year-old daughter Poppy, Laurel is thrown for a curve again. Poppy looks just like her Ellie, her daughter who has been missing for ten years. How could that be possible? 

As Laurel puts together the pieces of her lost daughter’s life, what she really finds are the parts of herself that she had lost and the ability to reconnect to the people who matter the most to her. 

Lisa Jewell’s Then She Was Gone is in turn heart-warming and incredibly distressing. Moving from past to present, telling the story from the viewpoints of several different characters, and finding the grace in even the most spirit-destroying of circumstances, this novel took me from the depths of despair to a genuine feeling of hope and faith in life. 

I listened to this book on audio, and I was captivated by narrator Helen Duff’s performance. I don’t think all the character voices were successful, but the most prominent ones were, and it took me into the story in a way that the words on a page couldn’t do. 

This is not a novel for everyone. There are scenes that are especially dark and painful to read (or listen to), so if you are sensitive to hearing the voice of a truly despicable human being, then I would recommend you skip this book. Because Jewell’s ability to bring all her characters to life means that not everyone is likable, or even palatable, but they are all so real you could imagine them as genuine individuals, whether you want to or not. 

I struggled with this book because of that. I almost stopped listening because of the depths of evil. But I pushed through and found a truly redemptive story here. It’s not a story I’ll be able to walk away from easily, but I am glad that I made it to the end. It was powerful and moving, and one that will stay in my heart for a long time. 

Galleys for Then She Was Gone were provided by Atria Books through NetGalley, but the I purchased the audiobook myself through Audible.
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Fantastic and creepy!  I loved that the book is told in several points of view.  Each point of view picks up in varies points in the story.  You don't get the whole truth in the end!  Very much a lovely bones feel. I didn't have it all figured out or how much Floyd really knew about Noelle and his daughter.
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This is certainly darker than Jewell's other books - difficult to read as a mother, for sure - but I enjoyed her writing as always and it was a fast and interesting read.
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Then She Was Gone was a gripping thriller that took you to every aspect of trying to figure out what was really going on  and what was going to happen next! This was such an amazing book and I can’t wait to see what else is released from this author!
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So I was super excited to get to this book. I ended up reading I Found You  By Lisa Jewell in 2017 and loving it. So when I saw that Lisa Jewell had a new book coming out I had to jump on it. I was so excited to get an e-arc of it. I even predicted it would be a 5 star read for me. However I was a bit disappointed in this one. 

I have to say my main issue with this book was that I found it to be pretty predictable. I feel right away you can basically guess what happened or at least have some sort of idea about what happened. I had my guesses and even though might not have been spot on, I still was on the right track. So I felt finally when things ended up being revealed I wasn't that surprised. I feel the twists and turns didn't really shock me like I hoped they would of. So because of that the story didn't really do it for me. 

Overall I did think the story was interesting. If I actually ended up getting surprised by the twists and turns I could see myself really enjoying this one. This book does give you about four point of views so that was something I liked. I feel that's becoming a real common aspect of thrillers. I always enjoy that. It's nice seeing everyone's different perspective. I still really enjoyed Lisa Jewell's writing in this. I do want to pick up more books from her. This one just ended up being too predictable and not as shocking as I'd liked. 

*I got a free copy of the e-arc of this book from the publisher on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
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I could not put this book down! I have never read Lisa Jewell so I wasn't sure what to expect. Her writing blew me away and the whole story gave me the creeps!! Would absolutely recommend to others!
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This book totally took me by surprise. I’ve been on a mystery kick lately, so i jumped into this one with no idea what to expect. It was creepy and heartbreaking. It was hopeful. It was so intriguing. And it kept me wanting more until the very end.
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Lisa Jewell is the Queen of Thrillers!! Her books are very captivating and this book was no different! She had me at the edge of my seat!
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Loved this book to bits! I was thrilled and filled with suspense as I gobbled up this tasty treat chock full of family drama, mystery, and intrigue. Such a great book!!
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Laurel Mack' s daughter has been missing for ten years when she meets Floyd and attempts to move on with her life. But something isn't quite right with Floyd and his daughter Poppy. Told between chapters of then and now, Jewell creates an atmosphere of unrest that grows with each page turned.

Copy provided by the Publisher and NetGalley
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I am an avid reader of Thrillers and I have to admit sometimes they become monotonous and very predictable this book excelled here because I didn't see what was coming. This book was however too busy for my taste. I did listen to an audio book and read parts of it and no matter which route I went the book had just too many things going on. I kept getting confused and distracted.
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My favorite psychological thrillers are ones that leave me on the edge of my seat, but also have a "somewhat" happy ending (one that I'm satisfied with, anyway.) This book did not disappoint. I read it in 2 days and only because I forced myself to give my family some attention. So well written and will keep you hooked. I liked that there were no hidden characters, as there so often are in thrillers, and you can somewhat figure out the mystery on your own, but then are still duped in the end. Brilliant.
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Written by Lisa Jewell
2018; Atria (359 Pages)
Genre: standalone, fiction, mystery, suspense, psychological thriller


I have been wanting to read Lisa Jewell for awhile and this was the perfect entry into her suspense novels. It reminded me of two books (View Spoiler on my Goodreads review (view spoiler)) which I really did "like".  With a more sensitive and dark issue, it is hard to say you liked or enjoyed the book, but rather were drawn into it and appreciate the writing.  I really found Jewell's writing style easy to settle into, with flawed realistic characters paired with raw emotions. It was this that created the most suspense for me. As soon as I closed the book I decided to add most of Jewell's books to my TBR-list. There were moments when I knew where the book was heading, and it seemed like it would spoil the book, but the journey that the characters take are what made me glued to the pages. That is all I can say without spoiling anything.  It's one of those novels that you are afraid to discuss as anything could give away the ending.  Just because I, or you, can guess the ending doesn't mean that another reader won't find it an exciting twist.   Highly recommend this novel to those that love gritty books.

***I received an eARC from NETGALLEY***

My Novelesque Blog
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Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell that spans years in the telling and the anguish and destruction of one family in the disappearance of their child. 

"...At that moment the door opened and another policeman walked into the room. He approached Dane and he whispered something in his ear. Both men looked Laurel and Paul. Then Dane sat straighter, adjusted his tie, and said, 'They've found human remains.'
Laurel's hand instinctively found Paul's.
She squeezed it so hard she felt his bones bend..."

Ten years have passed since Laurel's world has fallen apart. Her daughter Ellie simply disappears. They wait, Laurel and her husband Paul but there is no news. Not after months, not after years. Ellie is gone. 

Laurel cannot give up and Paul cannot go on with her. They loss of their daughter is the end of what had been left of their marriage. As time passes Laurel meets a man, Floyd, who walks into her cafe and they are swept away. Soon she is spending the night and meets his precocious nine year old daughter, Poppy. A child that reminds her too much of her own missing child.

"....Poppy's hands fall onto the book. 'Stories,' she says, 'are the only thing in this world that are real. Everything else is just a dream.'
Laurel and Paul smile and nod. Then they turn to each other and exchange a look. Not a wry look this time, but one of disquiet.
Ellie used to read two books a week and when they teased her about always having her nose in a book, Ellie use to say, 'When I read a book it feels like real life and when I put the book down it's like I go back into the dream.'
Laurel picks up her champagne and raises it to Poppy. 'Cheers to that, Poppy,' she says, 'cheers to that..."

Soon Laurel is beginning to question the similarities between her lost daughter and her boyfriend's child Poppy. Ellie had gone missing ten years before and Poppy was just going to turn nine. It seems that the key to the puzzle is Poppy's mother who deserted the child and Floyd years before. The woman known as Noelle Donnelly. 

"....I was still fucked up over my parents splitting up, all that shit. I wasn't a pretty sight. I wasn't an easy kid, either. I was a total nightmare, to be honest. And right in the middle of all this I thought I saw something.' She places the knife gently down on the table and looks straight at Laurel. 'I looked through the door of my dad's bedroom, when Noelle was about eight months pregnant. I looked in and ....' She stops and her gaze drops to the table. 'She was naked. And there was no bump. She was naked,' she repeats. 'And there was no bump..."

Who was Noelle? Who is Poppy and why does she look just like Ellie?

Now Laurel must dig into the history of her boyfriend's young daughter and find out just what happened to bring Poppy to this place and just this moment. But will the truth do more damage than good?

This is a very well written book that struggles on only a few points. The points being the relationship between Laurel and Floyd. The one man she comes to care for after her marriage dissolves happens to be the only man in the entire state, probably country, whose daughter is the spitting image of the child she lost? That is a huge leap of faith for any reader to have to take and at times made the story difficult to get into. 

There is a great difference between reading a good book and knowing that you are reading a book. It is the suspension of belief that a good writer must achieve to have the reader involve themselves and their emotions into the book. It can be difficult and at times the writer will lose the reader just over this one moment. 

In Then She Was Gone the suspension of belief is not in the missing daughter or her kidnapping. It is in the relationship between Laurel and Floyd and the fact that Poppy is his daughter. This is where Lisa Jewell and her talented storytelling come into play and she does a wonderful job of selling this point. But still, there are times, as a reader I stepped out of the novel and realized how much I was asked to accept. In a fantasy novel, okay yeah. But in a novel about kidnapping? No, a novel like this should be somewhat more grounded.

A good novel that could have done with a little more thought to the intelligence of its reading audience.
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My feelings when it comes to this novel are very divided. There were things I felt were very well done, and things I thought could definitely have been improved.

Let's start with the positives:

I really liked the writing style. It was very easy to read this book because it had a very good flow. I had no trouble at all getting through this story, and I thought the descriptions of the various scenes was apt. I also loved the way the author drew up the emotional elements of the story. This is where Lisa Jewell shines. She is able to make the reader connect so well with the characters and really feel the emotions that they are going through. Clearly, there is no problem with this writer's ability to write.

But then there comes the negatives:

This story was just so predictable. The mother-daughter relationship in this book is nothing unique. I've seen it a million times already and while I'm not expecting some crazy variation, there just wasn't anything there to set this one apart. I also didn't like that the first few chapters contained all of the major revelations. It didn't leave a lot to the imagination.

Now I'm pretty bad at guessing what happens in thrillers. In fact, that's why I like them so much: they always have me barking up the wrong tree. But in the case of this story, I had it pegged from the very start. Every prediction I made turned out to be true. And that was really disappointing. Predictability is never a good thing when you're trying to serve up a mystery or thriller because it will make the reader bored. And that's what happened with me. I just wanted to get through the story quickly to see if I was right, and when I did, I felt nothing at all. There were also some parts of the story that didn't really make much sense and that also affected my enjoyment of the novel.

Overall, I have conflicting thoughts on this novel. On the one hand, the writing and the emotional elements of the story are really well done. But the actual plot suffered due to its lack of originality. For those reasons, I'm giving this a 2/5 stars.
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Ellie was a fifteen-year-old when she went missing, 10 years later, her mother is still hoping that Ellie is out there in the world. That she just ran away and she will be back any day. Then Ellie's bones are found along with her backpack and other personal items that Ellie had with her the day she was last seen, and her mother, Laurel, is ready to throw in the towel. Laurel fears that she'll never find out what happened to her daughter, especially now that her life has been torn to shreds. Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell is a new twist on the missing child story, the cast of characters may confuse you at first, but eventually everything comes together in a whirlwind. 

Laurel meets a new man, who happens to be a single father. The only strange thing about that is that his daughter looks almost identical to the child Laurel lost almost a decade ago. How can that be? Who is this man? Is he telling her the whole truth? Is there something to this little girl who looks so much like Ellie that it's scary? As Laurel falls for Floyd and Poppy, his precocious daughter, her suspicions become more and more twisted, involving family secrets, delusions, and a person no one would suspect. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the way that this book flowed, the story unraveled flawlessly, and the pieces fit together to create a bigger picture that was ultimately terrifying but satisfying to my thriller loving mind. The one issue that I had with this story was that at times it was hard to understand the intricacies in the relationships, and the characters in the book. I felt that there were a couple characters and their relationships that just weren't needed. SPOILER ALERT Like Laurel's eldest daughter and her secret boyfriend, it didn't seem necessary or really move the story along as far as I could tell. I was more interested in learning about Floyd and what he had to do with the situation, if anything, than any other side relationship. 

Other than that, I really liked this book, it held my attention, like so many books can't these days. I find that my mind wanders quite a bit while reading anymore, so when a book can pull my attention in like a laser beam, I'm going to proclaim it a good story. This book will make you hold your kids closer and watch who you let into your life for sure. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. It's a really good thriller with a few minor details I would eliminate.
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This book was full of twists and turns. It has well thought out characters and I like that the book is told from different point of views. This is the story of Ellie Mack’s disappearance and how her family copes. What happens when someone you love disappears and you find someone that has a child that looks just like her? This book is definitely a thriller!
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This is a creepy, spellbinding book. Ellie Mack disappears from her loving family when she is 15. The police think maybe she has run away - but why? Ellie is a straight A student, happy, confident, and has a great boyfriend. Her mother, Laurel, never believes she has run away and holds out hope she will return. In the meantime her family falls apart and they are emotionally distant from each other. Years after the disappearance Laurel has finally reached the point where she has started dating. She has met a man that she completely falls for. She is disturbed and intrigued when she meets his daughter Poppy. Poppy looks surprisingly a lot like Ellie. The more time Laurel spends with Poppy the more she starts to see mannerisms and traits like Ellie’s. At this point you can see where the book is going but the mystery to be solved is how it gets there. Even knowing the direction of the book it doesn’t take anything away as this is such a great suspense story. So well written you can’t stop reading!
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I enjoy Lisa Jewell and was excited to read her new book.  It was a fast read, and I enjoyed how the story was told in many parts from different points of view.  Without giving away the plot, I thought one of the parts was a bit far-fetched and unbelievable.  I did enjoy the conclusion.  Thank you for the advanced copy.
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Didn't find this book too great  - seemed very reliant on Gone Girl tropes, but lacked the depth and substance
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