*WARNING, THERE MIGHT BE SPOILERS. NOT REALLY MAJOR ONE BUT IF YOU WANT TO KNOW ABSOLUTELY NOTHING BEFORE READING THE BOOK, SKIP THE REVIEW
I read three Lisa Jewell books in succession more than ten years ago. They just seemed to pop up a lot in my favourite second hand book store. From what I remember, they were more or less “chick lit”, some twists but mostly focused on romance. They were light, fast reads, and I liked them but was not totally wowed by them. But I do remember, that she had the ability to write infuriating characters that you’re still interested in.
After all these years of not keeping up with her work, I was surprised to find that she seemed to have branched off to a more thriller/suspense/mystery genre. Those kinds of books with twists that got ubiquitous after the success of Gone Girl.
15-year old Ellie was a golden girl, with the perfect boyfriend. Favored by her mother, with a bright future ahead of her. Then she disappears.. Ten years later, her mother Lauren,is living an unsatisfying life, divorced, barely having a relationship with her two remaining children and still desperately wanting to know what happened to her beloved girl. Then Ellie’s body is finally found. This seems to Lauren some measure of closure and opers her up to a handsome single father she meets at a coffee. She is the happiest she has ever been in 10 years. Until she meets his 9 year old daughter. Who looks exactly like Ellie. What happens next is the unravelling of the mystery of what happened to Ellie. But along the way, our protagonists learns some things about herself, her grief, and her family.
Like all the other Lisa Jewell books I’ve read, this sure is a page turner. She also still knows how to write annoying and flawed but ultimately relatable characters.
The twists and crimes are dark, but they somehow have a lighter feel. It just didn’t seem as grim and dark as say a Gillian Flynn or Tana French book. There is a little bit of Lovely Bones feel. I liked that the family relationship was a big part of the resolution of the book. As a thriller, it was not really that thrilling. It was more of a mystery. Unfortunately, I could make out the twists pretty early on, but that did not really damp my enjoyment too much. It is quick and engrossing read.