Then She Was Gone is recommended to thriller rather than mystery readers. Mothers especially will relate to this moving family story.
Fifteen-year-old Ellie Mack disappears one day. Did she run away or was she kidnapped? Her disappearance tears apart her family. Laurel, Ellie’s mom, has two older children and a husband but she is obsessed with finding Ellie. Ten years later, Laurel finally meets a man, Floyd, almost as nice as her ex-husband. Floyd has two daughters. The younger daughter, Poppy, bears an uncanny resemblance to Ellie. Poppy’s mother left Poppy with Floyd one day and was never seen again. When Laurel discovers the identity of Poppy’s mother, the plot really takes off.
While this was a thriller, it was not successful as a mystery. Almost from the beginning, it was obvious what was going to happen next. The format of alternating narrators and time periods was used well. Most of the characters were interesting, if not very likeable or relatable. Some of their actions seemed contrived. However, the gripping plot still resonates long after finishing Then She Was Gone. Even though I guessed the plot twists, I was still compelled to finish the book as quickly as possible. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.
Thanks to the publisher, Atria, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.