Ellie just wants to go to the library to study for her GCSEs. But she never arrives there and is never seen again. Her mother Laurel is sure that her daughter is still alive, but where? Ten years pass by, the family splits up and Laurel is alone with her grief. When she meets Floyd, she experiences happiness for the first time in many years. Can this be true? Finding love at the age of 55? But why is the famous writer in love with her, this old, nondescript woman? When she meets Floyd’s daughter Poppy for the first time, a vile thought is planted in her head. Was their encounter really a coincidence? Who is that man in reality?
Lisa Jewell tells the story of the vanished girl from different perspectives at different points of time. Thus, the full picture is only revealed bit by bit throughout the story and the tension is constantly kept high. You never know whom you can really trust, what is true and what isn’t, you can guess, but at times, you might be completely wrong.
I especially liked the mystery about Floyd and his daughter. At the first glance, they appear to be a bit too perfect, too lovely and likeable to be real. Just because of this you become suspicious. Is Floyd the nice loving man or is he simply evil? What might happen to Laurel when she keeps on dating him? From the experience of reading thrillers you are convinced that sooner or later something really wicked will happen, you simply wait for it to happen all the time – of course you still hope that by some miracle the nice and decent woman is spared another nightmare in her life.
“Then she was gone” is not a too bloody thriller, but it is creepy due to the characters and you always teeter on a knife edge about what is going to happen next. So, Lisa Jewell successfully plays on the reader’s nerves – just what I would expect from a good thriller.