Then She Was Gone
Book Review - Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
I’ve noticed lately that I become suspicious of single, first person narrators. When we are inside the mind of just one character, when we only get one perspective, it seems to be a very narrow perspective so I wonder how much of the story is being left out by that one character. It creates this is suspense. It leaves me uneasy. And the longer I listen to this one narrator the more uneasy I get. I think this could accurately be called the "Gone Girl Syndrome." The first part of this book was told from just the perspective of the mom, Laurel Mack. The longer we just had her perspective the more I felt the coming of the "Gone Girl" moment. I was relieved when we finally got to hear from other characters and the story really began to take shape.
The story is about Ellie, she is a star student, a darling daughter, and universally loved by all. Then she was gone. Without a trace. Some suspected that the pressure of school exams finally got the best of her and she ran away. Or perhaps she was kidnapped. Or worse. Ten years later, Ellie's mom Laurel is trying to put her life back together. She is trying to put back the pieces of her fractured relationships with her ex-husband and her other daughter, Hannah. She has a new boyfriend, too. Things are starting to feel better for Laurel but there is something off about her new boyfriend, Floyd, and his daughter reminds her intensely of Ellie. But there are still a lot of unanswered questions regarding Ellie's disappearance and it seems that Floyd and his daughter have some surprising connections to Laurel's past.
I listened to this book via Audible - as you may have guessed it was one of my Book of the Month selections. A big shoutout to Helen Duffy for narrating all of the characters in this book including Laurel Mack, Floyd, and Noelle (with an Irish accent.) All of the voices were believable without being cheesy - Helen made the audiobook immensely enjoyable to listen to and even made me tear up while listening to the final lines of the book.
I discovered this beautiful garden tucked inside Blanchette Park in St. Charles. Apparently, there are over 50 species of butterflies in the garden. It was a bit difficult to find once we were in the park but after driving around the perimeter we eventually saw a small sign leading us to a charming arch of ivy. From there we followed winding brick paths which opened into this garden with lots of flowers in bloom and these towering floral topiaries. As a bonus, we had the garden to ourselves (granted, it was super hot the day we visited but it was pleasant enough in the shade!)