”Then She Was Gone” by Lisa Jewell

I found this book at Costco way back last spring, and it has collected dust on my bookshelf ever since. I meant to get to it …eventually. I recently joined a book group on Facebook that rings all of my nerd bells, and this book was the group read for the month of January, so I dusted it off and bumped it up my TBR list.

Ellie was 15 when she disappeared on her way to the library. She is repeatedly labelled as the “Golden Child”, clearly her mother’s favourite. 10 years after her disappearance, the family is torn apart. The relationships between Laurel (Ellie’s Mom) and her other children is strained, and Laurel has not moved on. She always held out hope of her daughters return.

One day, Laurel is at a coffee shop where she meets Floyd, and gets swept up in a whirlwind romance. Everything is going so well, until she meets his 9 year old daughter Poppy, who is just the spitting image of her Ellie. Something seems off about Floyd and Poppy’s relationship. He watches everything she does, and home schools her, which seems to have stunted Poppy’s social skills. Laurel begins to become obsessed with Poppy, her life, and the question of why she looks so much like Ellie.

This was just an OK read for me. On the positive side, it was a fast paced, easy read, it had good character development, and it was hard to put down. The downside was that it was somewhat predictable. I will admit, I did not guess the ending of Poppy’s storyline just right, but I knew each character’s role in the plot as soon as they were introduced, which took some of the tension out of the story. There were a few WTF moments, and I felt there were some pretty big holes in the story that were attempted to be filled by rather unrealistic means. The story had good bones and the potential to be great, but I just felt it fell short for me.

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