Review: Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Publication Date: April 17, 2018

Laurel Mack's daughter disappeared from the street one day, never to be seen again. The police never figured out who did it, and for years, there were no leads.

But Laurel never gave up on finding out what happened to her Ellie. As time goes on and she begins to build a life for herself again, Laurel starts dating a handsome, charming man she met in a coffeeshop. Their romance builds until she meets his 10-year old daughter, who looks exactly like Ellie once did.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Date Read: December 29, 2018

This was another mystery that I heard several people talking about since it got published. It was supposed to be pretty good, and I needed a couple more books to finish out my Goodreads challenge. Since this was a decently short audiobook, I decided to pick it up.

The initial set-up for the mystery was pretty quick. It was straight-forward and simple, making it easy for the story to start in an exciting manner. But I felt like there was too much time between the set-up and the time when Laurel started to become suspicious that something was wrong. By the end of the set-up, I had a rough guess as to what happened because of the synopsis. Waiting for Laurel to start catching on was painful and slow.

Because of this, the pacing of the book didn't work for me. I wanted it to move faster because I knew roughly what had happened, and I felt like it was really obvious and straight-forward. It took such a long time for things to start getting good and for Laurel to start looking into things that should have tipped her off ages ago.

I felt like there was too much of a focus on the romance between Laurel and Floyd that took away from the actual mystery. I know that it was supposed to be a huge point in the story since it's Floyd's daughter that looks like Laurel's missing daughter, but it still could have been less of a focal point. More often than not, it felt like their relationship was taking away from the mystery itself, and it was cumbersome to have to go through all the reasons why he's such a great guy when there were several things that I was suspicious of.

The slow manner in which things unfolded made the book feel longer than I think it had to be. There could have been more concise scenes that moved the plot along faster. I did feel like a lot the book dragged, but that could have been because I felt like I had a lot more figured out than I probably should have.

And as a result, when the book started to reveal the ending, I was kind of bored. It wasn't surprising at all, and it also felt like it dragged out. I wanted it to be a big reveal and some kind of big conflict, but it wasn't. The whole thing was very calm and seemingly resolved in a very simple manner. It got to the point that I actually fell asleep while the narrator was telling me how everything ended. I had to re-listen to the last few chapters because I had no idea what happened. Once I got to the end, I just sat there and felt let down.

I think that the book attempted to do something good and interesting, but the execution didn't work for me. It was too slow and obvious for my taste, but I can understand why other people liked it so much.

Laurel was a pretty likable character, except for how slowly it took her to catch on to things. Her motherly instincts were written well, and I think that the way she was portrayed to still be struggling as well-done. It was mostly her infatuation with Floyd that had me frustrated because she was a grown woman getting involved with a strange man much faster than I thought was safe.

3.5 stars. It might be a good mystery for those new to the genre, but I feel like it might still have been too simple for that. Unless you're really bad at picking up on hints and clues, I think you'll likely figure out the mystery before Laurel does.

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