The Happiness Project

Mental Health blog, focused on self-care and learning to love your life!

*** Possible Spoilers Ahead! ***
Book Title: 
Then She Was Gone
Lisa Jewell
Main Theme: 
Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Domestic Fiction

Thesis: Ellie was a fifteen-year-old girl, a golden girl with good grades and a perfect boyfriend. She loved her life, loved her parents and siblings, and was ready to take her tests for school. Then suddenly, she disappeared without a trace. Ten years go by without her.

Her mother, Laurel, has picked up the pieces of her shattered life and has tried to move on. Life was bleak until she met Floyd, a charming man who smiles can captivate the audience but is he hiding something? Laurel must face her demons again as new information is brought up concerning her daughter’s disappearance. What does Floyd have to do with this? Or his daughter, Poppy, who bores such a striking resemblance to Ellie. Laurel will find the answers, whether she’s ready for it or not.

What Drew Me In: I’ve been a real good kick with thrillers/suspense lately. After reading Ruth Ware’s newest book, The Turn of the Key, I was left feeling empty, so I was on the hunt for a new book. I was actually playing with Hoopla, a service offered at the library that I work at. It provides E-books, E-audiobooks, comics, TV shows, and movies for card users! Hot damn! Lisa Jewell popped up, and I figured, why the hell not?

My Thoughts: So let me be the first to say if you like fast-paced, gory, bloody plots, this book isn’t for you. It definitely has that suspense level in it, it keeps you guessing and turning the pages to find out more.

The book started out kind of slow. You learn of the Mac family, Laurel, and Paul, the parents, and three kids, Jake, Ellie, and Hannah. They live a fairly normal life, each kid in school, and nothing could be wrong. Ellie asked for a math tutor, so she could be sure she would ace her exams. So Laurel hires Noelle Donnely, an Irish woman to tutor Ellie. Everything was fine until Ellie became uncomfortable around Noelle, and she lied to her mother and told her that she thought she was fine in math and didn’t need a tutor anymore. Noelle was dismissed, and a few weeks later, Ellie went missing.

All of this happened in the first quarter of the book. I will admit, I was kind of surprised by the quickness. I thought Ellie’s disappearance wouldn’t be until much later in the book, and we would find out what happened to her towards the end (which, we kind of still do). Without spoiling too much, the plot was definitely full of twists and turns, just how I like it.

There were definitely some strange characters in the book, and by strange, I guess I mean that they weren’t really… needed? Take Jake’s girlfriend, Blue. She’s an oddball. The only thing that she really did in the book was telling Laurel that she saw a “dark aura” around Floyd because she’s “physic” or whatever. The only thing that came out of that was the seed of doubt that was placed in Laurel’s mind. It was just kind of pointless, and I chuckled at Blue’s weirdnesses. Or like S.J., who is Floyd’s other daughter from another relationship. She was a total weirdo. She’s a nude model that works for an art school and is having an affair with her married professor. Okay… She at least had a little bit more use. She did tell Laurell about Noelle’s strangeness, like when she thought she saw Noelle naked and not pregnant at eight months, or how aggressive she always was. That prompted Laurel to do a little more digging into the bizarre situation.

If you are worried that it might get too creepy/disturbing in the book, I wouldn’t fret. There are really only a few chapters that get weird, and of course, they are told in Noelle’s point of view. She really was a weird lady. I’m thankful for those chapters though because Lisa Jewell did a great job at revealing Ellie’s story in that creepy, suspenseful feeling.

Would I recommend this book?: Overall, yes, I would recommend this book for people who like a thriller but is a bit more on that “cozy mystery” side of fiction. Lisa Jewell is a great storyteller, knowing when is a great time to reveal a new character or switch point of view to keep the story going. She had me constantly wanting to listen to the book, which is an achievement all on its own because I’m not a huge audiobook fan. This is the first book I’ve ever read by her, so I’m curious to read her other books and see if they have that same vibe I get from this book. It could totally be a Ruth Ware situation, where her books get better and better over time. I’m currently looking at “I Found You” and “The Girls”, both some of her newer ones, to check out. I’m curious to read her latest one, which should be released sometime this month, called “The Family Upstairs” which seems to be one of her creepiest yet. Fingers crossed I’ll pick it up soon.

Hoping to have one more review up before I’m gone for two weeks for Thanksgiving. I’m trying to crank out those reviews as much as I can! 🙂 

The Library Lady ♡


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