Book Review: Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

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By Chandler Chandler

Book Review: Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Chandler Chandler

Novel’s Title: Then She Was Gone

WRitten By: Lisa Jewell

Published On: 27th July 2017

Published By: Penguin Books Australia

Pages’ Total Count: 448

Genres: Crime, Mystery, Fiction, Contemporary, Suspense, Thriller

Price: $22.99

Rating: 5 stars

Lisa Jewell is a master of domestic suspense, and her 2017 novel Then She Was Gone is no exception. This book tells the story of Laurel, a mother who has never given up hope of finding her daughter, Ellie, who vanished ten years ago. 

When Laurel meets a charming stranger and his daughter, who looks eerily like Ellie, she is drawn into a web of secrets and lies that will change her life forever.

The plot: a missing girl and a shocking discovery

The book alternates between the past and the present, revealing what happened to Ellie on the day she disappeared and how Laurel copes with her grief and guilt. Ellie was a bright and beautiful fifteen-year-old with a promising future ahead of her. She had a loving family, a loyal boyfriend, and a passion for music. However, one day, she never came home on her way to the library.

Laurel has been living in limbo ever since, unable to move on or let go of her daughter. She has divorced her husband, distanced herself from her other children, and isolated herself from the world. She still hopes that one day, Ellie will come back to her.

However, everything changes when she meets Floyd, a charismatic and handsome man who sweeps her off her feet. He seems to understand her pain and offers her a chance at happiness. He also introduces her to his nine-year-old daughter, Poppy, who bears a striking resemblance to Ellie. 

Laurel is stunned by the similarity and feels an instant connection to the girl. She wonders if this is a sign of fate or a cruel coincidence.

As Laurel gets closer to Floyd and Poppy, she notices some strange and unsettling things about them. She also begins to receive some clues about Ellie’s disappearance that lead her to question everything she thought she knew. What really happened to Ellie? Moreover, who is hiding the truth?

The characters: 

The book is told from multiple perspectives, giving the reader a deeper insight into the characters and their motivations. The main characters are:

  • Laurel is the protagonist and Ellie’s mother. She is a sympathetic and relatable character who has suffered a great loss and struggles to cope. She is also determined and brave as she tries to find out the truth about her daughter and confront her past.
  • Ellie is the missing girl and Laurel’s daughter. She is a vibrant and talented character with a lot of potential and dreams. However, she is also naive and trusting, which makes her vulnerable to manipulation and danger.
  • Floyd: Laurel’s new love interest and Poppy’s father. He is a charming and attractive character, who seems to be perfect for Laurel. He is also mysterious and secretive, hiding a dark and twisted past that he does not want anyone to know.
  • Poppy: Floyd’s daughter and Ellie’s lookalike. She is a precocious and intelligent character who acts much older than her age. She is also lonely and neglected, craving attention and affection from her father and Laurel.

The book also features some secondary characters, such as Laurel’s ex-husband Paul, her other children Hanna and Jake, Ellie’s boyfriend Theo, and Floyd’s ex-wife Noelle. They all play a role in the story and add some complexity and intrigue to the plot.


Lisa Jewell is a skilled and experienced writer who knows how to craft a captivating and suspenseful story. Her writing style is clear and engaging, with a smooth and fast-paced flow. She creates a vivid and realistic setting with a strong sense of place and atmosphere. She also builds a lot of tension and mystery, with twists and turns that keep the reader guessing and hooked. 

She explores some dark and disturbing themes, such as abduction, abuse, obsession, and deception, but also some emotional and touching themes, such as grief, love, and forgiveness. She balances the thriller and the drama aspects of the story well and delivers a satisfying and shocking conclusion.


We conclude that, Then She Was Gone is a highly recommended read for fans of domestic suspense and psychological thrillers. It is a gripping and compelling book with a well-crafted plot, complex and believable characters, and a captivating and suspenseful writing style. 

It is a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat and make you feel a range of emotions. It is a book that will stay with you long after you finish it.\

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