Then She Was Gone: A Novel
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INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“An acutely observed family drama with bone-chilling suspense.” —People
“Jewell teases out her twisty plot at just the right pace, leaving readers on the edge of their seats. Her multilayered characters are sheer perfection, and even the most astute thriller reader won’t see where everything is going until the final threads are unknotted.” —Booklist, starred review
“Sharply written with twists and turns, Jewell’s latest will please fans of Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train, or Luckiest Girl Alive." —Library Journal
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?
Praise for Then She Was Gone:
“Then She Was Gone is a riveting thriller.”, PopSugar
“Jewell teases out her twisty plot at just the right pace, leaving readers on the edge of their seats. There will surely be comparisons to novels such as Emma Donoghue’s Room (2010) as well as all of the “Girl” thrillers, but Jewell’s latest really isn’t at all derivative. Her multilayered characters are sheer perfection, and even the most astute thriller reader won’t see where everything is going until the final threads are unknotted. Those few who do guess early won’t mind, as the pace and prose will keep them hooked.”, Booklist (starred review)
“Jewell gets more riveting and twisty with every book she writes. Completely absorbing, fast-paced, well-written and with a shocking ending that will keep readers guessing, Then She Was Gone is a nearly pitch-perfect thriller. Fans of Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins and Ruth Ware are sure to adore this haunting novel.”, Shelf Awareness
“More than a whiff of The Lovely Bones wafts through this haunting domestic noir from bestseller Jewell…Skillfully told by several narrators, Jewell’s gripping novel is an emotionally resonant story of loss, grief, and renewal.” , Publishers Weekly
"For thriller readers, Jewell's latest will not disappoint. Sharply written with twists and turns, it will please fans of Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train, or Luckiest Girl Alive.", Library Journal
“In addition to being a complex and genuinely suspenseful narrative, Then She Was Gone is a rich study of the ways in which people respond to grief and how past trauma can continue to shape their decision-making and relationships years or decades later. Readers will be truly affected by Ellie’s real story once it’s revealed—and they’ll be satisfied by the hopeful yet bittersweet ending. Jewell demonstrates once again that she has what it takes to genuinely shock, surprise and move her readers.”, Book Reporter
"What begins as a story about the mother of a missing girl starting a new relationship as she comes terms with her grief morphs into a gripping, disturbing and utterly fascinating tale about what really happened to young Ellie Mack. I've been a Lisa Jewell fan for a long time and in this book, as in all her others, she deftly weaves a compelling plot with an emotional depth that leaves you gasping. In Then She Was Gone she has created a book that is dark and claustrophobic but also heartfelt and moving. Then She Was Gone packs a huge emotional punch that will leave you winded. I loved it." -- C.L. Taylor, bestselling author
"If you were the first of your friends to read Girl On The Train, and have read Gone Girl more times than you can remember, then here is your summer read. A thriller about a 15-year-old girl who has vanished and a mother who won’t give up hope. A perfect Pimm’s companion.", The Sun (UK)
"Smart and engrossing.", Sunday Mirror (UK)
About the Author
Lisa Jewell is the internationally bestselling author of eighteen novels, including the New York Times bestsellers The Family Upstairs and Then She Was Gone, as well as Watching You and I Found You. Her novels have sold more than 4.5 million copies across the English-speaking world, and her work has also been translated into twenty-five languages. Connect with her on Twitter @LisaJewellUK, on Instagram @LisaJewellUK, and on Facebook @LisaJewellOfficial.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Then She Was Gone
Those months, the months before she disappeared, were the best months. Really. Just the best. Every moment presented itself to her like a gift and said, Here I am, another perfect moment, just look at me, can you believe how lovely I am? Every morning was a flurry of mascara and butterflies, quickening pulse as she neared the school gates, blooming joy as her eyes found him. School was no longer a cage; it was the bustling, spotlit film set for her love story.
Ellie Mack could not believe that Theo Goodman had wanted to go out with her. Theo Goodman was the best-looking boy in year eleven, bar none. He’d also been the best-looking boy in year ten, year nine, and year eight. Not year seven though. None of the boys in year seven were good-looking. They were all tiny, bug-eyed babies in huge shoes and oversized blazers.
Theo Goodman had never had a girlfriend and everyone thought maybe he was gay. He was kind of pretty, for a boy, and very thin. And just, basically, really, really nice. Ellie had dreamed about being with him for years, whether he was gay or not. She would have been happy just to have been his friend. His young, pretty mum walked to school with him every day. She wore gym gear and had her hair in a ponytail and usually had a small white dog with her that Theo would pick up and kiss on the cheek before placing it gently back down on the pavement; then he would kiss his mum and saunter through the gates. He didn’t care who saw. He wasn’t embarrassed by the powder-puff dog or his mum. He was self-assured.
Then one day last year, just after the summer holiday, he had struck up a conversation with her. Just like that. During lunch, something to do with some homework assignment or other, and Ellie, who really knew nothing much about anything, knew immediately that he wasn’t gay and that he was talking to her because he liked her. It was totally obvious. And then, just like that, they were boyfriend and girlfriend. She’d thought it would be more complicated.
But one wrong move, one tiny kink in the time line, it was all over. Not just their love story, but all of it. Youth. Life. Ellie Mack. All gone. All gone forever. If she could rewind the timeline, untwist it and roll it back the other way like a ball of wool, she’d see the knots in the yarn, the warning signs. Looking at it backward it was obvious all along. But back then, when she knew nothing about anything, she had not seen it coming. She had walked straight into it with her eyes open.