Synopsis from Goodreads.com:
Ten years after her teenage daughter disappears, a woman crosses paths with a charming single father whose young child feels eerily familiar, in this evocative, suspenseful drama from New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell—perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Liane Moriarty.
Ellie Mack was the perfect daughter. She was fifteen, the youngest of three. She was beloved by her parents, friends, and teachers. She and her boyfriend made a teenaged golden couple. She was days away from an idyllic post-exams summer vacation, with her whole life ahead of her.
And then she was gone.
Now, her mother Laurel Mack is trying to put her life back together. It’s been ten years since her daughter disappeared, seven years since her marriage ended, and only months since the last clue in Ellie’s case was unearthed. So when she meets an unexpectedly charming man in a café, no one is more surprised than Laurel at how quickly their flirtation develops into something deeper. Before she knows it, she’s meeting Floyd’s daughters—and his youngest, Poppy, takes Laurel’s breath away.
Because looking at Poppy is like looking at Ellie. And now, the unanswered questions she’s tried so hard to put to rest begin to haunt Laurel anew. Where did Ellie go? Did she really run away from home, as the police have long suspected, or was there a more sinister reason for her disappearance? Who is Floyd, really? And why does his daughter remind Laurel so viscerally of her own missing girl?
Wow. This book was absolutely gripping and one of my favorite reads so far this year. Laurel Mack has been reeling from the disappearance of her teenage daughter, Ellie, for the last ten years. Ellie’s disappearance destroyed Laurel in so many ways. She’s grieving as a heartbroken mother would. She divorced her sweet husband. She chose to fixate on Ellie’s disappearance at the expense of her relationship with her older daughter. At the end of the day, nothing served as replacement for the light that Ellie emanated into Laurel’s life. That is, until the day she met a handsome stranger named Paul in a cafe.
From the moment Laurel meets Paul, the reader has no doubt that he is somehow connected to Ellie’s disappearance. However, the story really starts taking shape when Laurel meets Paul’s daughter, Poppy, who has a striking resemblance to Ellie. It’s at this point that Laurel’s infatuation with Paul starts wavering between an unhealthy desire to be with him and a sort of undefined repulsion toward him. Laurel’s internal suspicion is always there, but it takes her a good portion of the book to acknowledge it.
Throughout this book, I thought I had the ending figured out about five times. While some of those assumptions turned out to be correct, I think there are enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing until the end. Please be aware that there is some detailed violence in this book, and some of it might be hard for some people to read. However, if you are looking for a gripping book to read poolside this summer, I definitely recommend “Then She Was Gone.” 4/5 Stars.
Thank you to NetGalley, Lisa Jewell, and Atria Books for a free electronic version of this book.