Laurel Mack had the worse thing that can occur to a parent happen to her ten years earlier. Her perfect daughter Ellie, her youngest, disappeared suddenly. Laurel and her husband Paul went through every attempt to find her: the police, ads, word of mouth, and looking around their area. When Ellie didn’t appear, the event devastated both parents and drove them apart.
The hardest hit for the couple was when the police ceased their efforts with the verdict that Ellie had run away. This decision broke any semblance of a bond between the couple with the result that Paul left Laurel.
Seven years after the breakup, Laurel meets a man while having coffee. After so much time alone Laurel makes the decision that she needs companionship in her life and enters into a romance with Floyd. The relationship proceeds normally until it is time for Laurel to meet her new boyfriend’s family. The surprise is Floyd’s daughter Poppy. The girl bears an uncanny resemblance to Ellie and awakens memories and reactions for Laurel that were buried deeply.
Jewell has written a fascinating novel touching on the psychological reactions and motivations of the principal characters in the book. There is first and foremost those of Laurel, then of course Ellie. In addition there is a tutor that had been working with Ellie just prior to her disappearance. Memories are dredged up and once again the question of what happened is examined. The resolution of the question: what happened to Ellie and those involved with her is a masterpiece of psychological narrative and marks Lisa Jewell as quite adept at the genre. An all nighter and one allowing the reader to begin awaiting Jewell’s next book.
4/18 Paul Lane
THEN SHE WAS GONE by Lisa Jewell. Atria Books (April 17, 2018). ISBN 978-1501154645. 368p.