My rating: 4.5 Stars
I have been a fan of Joy Fielding’s books for many years. I have read all of her books and although I’ve enjoyed some more than others I’m never disappointed.
Needless to say I was very happy when I was I was approved by NetGalley to read her newest book, She’s Not There. Once again I was not let down. I thought it was a great psychological suspense novel. I read it in two days but could easily have read it in one sitting if I had the time.
Instantly after reading the blurb for She’s Not There, I thought of Madeleine McCann. I have followed her story since her disappearance from Portugal in 2007. Although the story had many similarities at first, it was still an intriguing read on its on. Reading about a child that has gone missing or any crime regarding a child can be upsetting but I was compelled to find out what happened.
Fifteen years ago, Carole Shipley was happily married with two young daughters. However, her happy life exploded after her daughter, Samantha is kidnapped while the family is on a trip to Mexico.
For years Carole suffers the torment of not knowing where her daughter or what happened to her. Her relationship with her other daughter Michelle has suffered as a consequence of the kidnapping. Her marriage falls apart under the stress. But she clings to the hope that one day her daughter will be returned to her.
The story is told from Carole’s point of view and flows easily from past to present. It shows us a lot of what Carole goes through over the years. She is continually scrutinized and villainized by the media, frequently called a murderer when out in public and often let go from teaching jobs once they find out who she is. Her husband seems to be let off relatively easy by the media but she is constantly under attack.
Then fifteen years later she gets a call from a young woman…
“I think my real name is Samantha. I think I’m your daughter.”
This book really made me think of how I myself have judged people in similar situations. For example, when I first heard about Madeleine McCann and that she went missing while her parents were out having dinner (in a restaurant just outside the hotel). I thought to myself, while reading this book that I would never leave my children alone like that. But it is so easy to say what I would or wouldn’t do as I’m not in that position myself. And regardless no mother or father deserves to have their child taken from them for making a bad choice. In this instance a choice that had horrible consequences but still, show me a parent who has never made a mistake. Plus with media involvement who knows if we are ever being given the full story.
I found this book extremely emotional, at times hard to read but I was hooked. I even flipped back a time or two to see if I could figure things out. While I may have been right about some minor things I really wasn’t even close in my guess of what happened.
I highly recommend this great read by Joy Fielding.
I would like to thank NetGalley, Ballantine Books, and Joy Fielding for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.