Then She Was Gone – Lisa Jewell

About the book header

Published: 27th July 2017 (Cornerstone)


From the acclaimed author of I Found You and the Richard & Judy bestseller, The Girls, comes a compulsively twisty psychological thriller that will keep you gripped to the very last page.

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?

My Review

I have been a massive fan of Lisa Jewell’s books and writing style right from the very start with Ralph’s Party in (ahem!) 1998. I was introduced to Jewell’s books by my now sister-in-law and I’ve not looked back! This is one of those authors whereby I preorder a new book without even reading the blurb!

Over the years, Jewell’s writing style and genre have evolved and I have enjoyed every single stop on this journey. Then She Was Gone has most definitely lived up to the reputation of its predecessors.

Ellie Mack seemingly disappeared without a trace when she was just fifteen years old – Ellie headed out to the library to do some studying for her exams and simply never returned. With no witnesses, clues or a body found, the case was closed unresolved with the presumption that she had simply run away and did not want to be found. Her mother, Laurel, ten years on is still not ready to accept these version of events and is hopeful that Ellie will one day walk back through her door. However, this hope has come at a price – Laurel is in limbo, she hasn’t really moved on since Ellie’s disappearance whereas her now ex-husband Paul has found happiness and is living his life (albeit still in Ellie’s shadow).

Then She Was Gone is told both in the present day and the past so we hear both Ellie’s voice throughout the book as well as Laurel’s which provides an interesting dimension to the story.

What I loved most about this book was how this author has created a cast of lovable characters, all with their own personalities and back stories. Then She Was Gone is a story about family as much as it is a mystery – Laurel’s relationships with her ex-husband, her son and remaining daughter are well crafted and truly add to the narrative to provide a round-view of the Mack family both then and now. It’s fascinating how they have all dealt with Ellie’s disappearance in different ways – as such, Jewell has created an emotionally charged story. At times, this is uncomfortable reading both in regards to Ellie’s story and when the plot line begins to unravel to the reader.

Jewell’s writing style is stunning (as usual!) and, alongside the brilliant plot, makes this a fascinating read that is impossible to put down. It is so easy to get completely immersed in Jewell’s books – highly recommend this to both firm fans and those new to Lisa Jewell (and there is an exceptional back catalogue of books to get through too 🙂 ).

About the Author

Lisa was born in London in 1968. Her mother was a secretary and her father was a textile agent and she was brought up in the northernmost reaches of London with her two younger sisters. She was educated at a Catholic girls’ Grammar school in Finchley. After leaving school at sixteen she spent two years at Barnet College doing an arts foundation course and then two years at Epsom School of Art & Design studying Fashion Illustration and Communication.

She worked for the fashion chain Warehouse for three years as a PR assistant and then for Thomas Pink, the Jermyn Street shirt company for four years as a receptionist and PA. She started her first novel, Ralph’s Party, for a bet in 1996. She finished it in 1997 and it was published by Penguin books in May 1998. It went on to become the best-selling debut novel of that year.

She has since written a further nine novels, as is currently at work on her eleventh.

She now lives in an innermost part of north London with her husband Jascha, an IT consultant, her daughters, Amelie and Evie and her silver tabbies, Jack and Milly.


7 thoughts on “Then She Was Gone – Lisa Jewell

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