BOOK REVIEW – Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Then She Was Gone

Published April 24, 2018 by Atria Books
 
 

 A terrific read from Lisa Jewell!

I have read and listened to a few of Lisa Jewell’s books and I have enjoyed them all. This one kept me gripped and I finished it in just a couple of sittings.

Ellie Mack was fifteen when she went missing over ten years ago.  Ellie was a very smart, lovely girl whose disappearance left a hole in the lives of those who loved her. Ellie’s mother, Laurel Mack has never given up hope of finding her daughter.

The book opens from Ellie’s point of view ten years earlier.  Life is going great for Ellie. She’s doing well in school and the boy she’s had her eye on seems to like her too. Her future is bright.

Then she leaves home one morning to go to the library and doesn’t return.

The police thought Ellie might have run away. But Laurel knew that wasn’t possible. The years went by and although Laurel kept pushing the police to do more…there was only so much they could or would do.

Ten years later, Laurel is still struggling. She doesn’t socialize. She just works and visits her mother once a week. Though it seems everyone else has moved on, Laurel feels stuck in place. But then, she meets someone new. Suddenly, all of those thoughts and questions come rushing back with a vengeance.

What happened to Ellie Mack?  Will her mother ever learn the whole truth?

Once again, I am impressed with Lisa Jewell’s storytelling. I thought this was a terrific story. Told from multiple points of view, alternating between ‘then’ and ‘now’, I was enthralled as everything was revealed.

Populated with fantastic characters, this was a fascinating and moving story about obsession, loss, and family. Some suspension of disbelief may be necessary, but it didn’t really bother me, I just enjoyed what I found to be a unique and absorbing story.

Gripping and heartbreaking, I shed more than a few tears as the book came to an end with a gut-wrenching epilogue.

As you can tell I, loved this novel. I can’t wait to read more of Lisa Jewell’s previous novels and of course, I’m looking forward to reading what she writes next.

BOOK REVIEW – Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan

Little Disasters

Published August 18th 2020 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books

A gripping and thought-provoking read!

Liz is a pediatrician who is on call one evening when her friend, Jess brings her ten-month-old daughter, Betsey to the emergency room.  Jess tells Liz that Betsey had fallen at home. She didn’t think it was serious but thought she should bring her in to be examined just in case.

After examining Betsey, Liz has some questions but Jess is being very vague with her answers. Liz has known Jess for some time. She is a fantastic mother of three who has also been a terrific friend to Liz. But now, Liz wonders if she ever really knew Jess at all.

Jess is shocked by what happens at the hospital. Things quickly go from bad to worse…

Who can be trusted?

Secrets, lies, and deception.

The majority of the story is told from Jess and Liz’s point of view. I read it quickly as I was anxious about how things were going to play out. It was gripping but some parts were uncomfortable to read. At times, I definitely had to suspend disbelief but there were also parts that felt very real and honest.

I really thought I had things figured out but I did not see that ending coming!!!

Overall, this was a well-written character-driven domestic suspense novel. It was an interesting story about motherhood and relationships that also deals with important issues like postpartum depression, anxiety, parenting, and more.

I look forward to reading more from Sarah Vaughan.

I’d like to thank the publisher for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

BOOK REVIEW – The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

The Good Sister

Published: April 13th 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

A diabolical and compelling read filled with emotional drama that tugs at the heartstrings and entertains with its twists and turns.

Twenty-eight-year-old twin sisters Rose and Fern are completely different in both looks and personality. Fern works as a librarian. She’s not your typical librarian. She wears her hair like Princess Leia (it’s practical!) and she’s partial to bright and sparkly clothing adorned with things like rainbows and unicorns. Fern takes her job VERY seriously. However, if a patron needs assistance with the photocopiers she’ll do almost anything she can to avoid them. Rose is married and works as an interior designer. She’s quick to point out that she’s the type “who designs office spaces, not the type who chooses scatter cushions.”

The sisters spend a lot of time together. Fern has dinner at Rose’s house at least three times a week.

Rose’s husband, Owen has been in London working for the last three months. Rose was not able to accompany him. She needed to stay to help Fern. Rose has always felt the need to protect her sister. They had a difficult childhood with a very manipulative mother. Something happened when they were twelve years old that changed their lives forever. Only Rose and Fern know what really happened that day. It’s a secret they have both kept all these years.

Some people find Fern very peculiar. She has sensory issues and gets overloaded easily by bright lights, loud noises, large groups of people, and more.  She also has difficulty reading social cues. These things can make life difficult for Fern. Rose understands all of this tries to make things easier for her. Fern appreciates how much her sister does for her. That’s one of the reasons why she wants to help Rose fulfill her lifelong dream.

 “This could be my chance to pay Rose back for everything she’s always done for me.”

But things don’t always go the way we think they’ll go.

And sometimes, things aren’t always what they seem…

Will the secret the sisters are keeping finally come to light? And what if that isn’t the only secret being kept?

I loved this book!!

This was the perfect read to help me escape from reality for a while. Sally Hepworth writes about family drama in a way that’s often relatable. There were many endearing characters in this novel and the interactions between them had me laughing out loud at times.

The story alternates between Rose and Fern’s point of view and includes flashbacks to their childhood. Some things may seem obvious but I feel like the author intended it to be that way. So while I did figure out a few things early on, I was so engrossed and entertained that it didn’t bother me at all.

A clever story about family dynamics and dysfunction, manipulation, complicated relationships, and of course secrets!

I’d like to thank the publisher for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

BOOK REVIEW – Always the Last to Know by Kristan Higgins

Always the Last to Know

Published June 9th 2020 by Berkley Books

 

Another terrific novel from Kristan Higgins!

Seventy-year-old, Barb Frost is at work when she gets a call that her husband, John has been rushed to the hospital.

Barb has always been good in emergencies, but she can’t believe this is happening. Barb and John have been married for 50 years. Their relationship has had its up and downs. Recently it’s become even more challenging.

The doctors tell Barb that John will need surgery to remove the pressure on his brain. The outcome is uncertain. Barb calls her daughter Juliet but holds off on calling her other daughter, Sadie. Barb is waiting for more news when John’s phone rings. The display says work is calling. Barb opens his phone and sees the screen filled with texts. She starts to read them, but a minute later she turns off the phone, shocked by what she’s read.

Juliet has a beautiful home, a great career, and most importantly, a wonderful husband and two healthy daughters. Her life is perfect, yet she is currently sitting in a closet having a panic attack. Just as the attack subsides, Juliet’s phone rings. It’s her mother calling to tell her that her father is in the hospital.

Once Juliet gets to the hospital and talks with her mother and the doctors, she calls her sister, Sadie.

When thirty-two-year-old, Sadie’s phone rings, she’s surprised to see that it’s her sister, Juliet, who rarely calls. Juliet tells her to get to the hospital as soon as possible. As Sadie drives to the hospital she chants “please don’t die“  over and over.  If something happens to her father she doesn’t know what she’ll do. Who else would be there for her? Her Mom was always so critical. Her father was always encouraging. He was the one who made her feel loved.

This family will be forever changed. As new secrets and old are revealed, will they come together or be pushed further apart?

Dysfunctional domestic family drama!

I love the way Kristan Higgins tells a story. Her stories are filled with heart and compassion and she creates characters that I can easily connect with.

The story is told from multiple points of view and I found it easy to follow. It was slow-burning, but it wasn’t long before I was completely invested in this dysfunctional family. I especially loved the friendship between Barb and her best friend, Caro. They had me laughing out loud many times. I also shed a few tears.

A heart-warming story about family, love, friendship, forgiveness, and more.

I’d like to thank the publisher for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.