Audible version, narrated by Gabrielle Glaister.
10 years ago, the beautiful and clever Ellie Mack leaves home to go to the library. She was 15 years old. She never returned. Her mother, Laurel, is devastated. In the aftermath of Ellie’s disappearance her marriage unravels, and Laurel’s relationship with her remaining two children suffers to the point where they are barely in touch when the present day story picks up 10 years later.
Laurel is functioning but she is not living. And then she meets Floyd. Floyd is charming and takes Laurel completely by surprise – they start dating. And then Floyd introduces Laurel to his daughter, Poppy. An extremely precocious 9-year-old who is the spitting image of Ellie. Coincidence, surely?
After a very intriguing start the book shifts focus mainly to the “then” perspective of 10 years ago, and honestly it kind of drags. You should be able to guess most of what happened based on what’s been told already, and there are very few surprises. And there’s also some stuff that from a science point of view is dubious at best. I found myself losing patience with the “then” story, eager to get back to present day and for Laurel to figure out the missing pieces of Ellie’s disappearance, and what if anything it has to do with her new relationship with Floyd and Poppy.
The reason I still stuck with 4 stars for this one is that I still overall thought it was an interesting story, and the ending is very heart-warming. There’s also something Laurel does towards the end that basically removes much of the suspense from the final reveal: she tells someone where she is going to be and that if she is late back they should call the police. However, this is the smart and believable thing to do, so I won’t hold it against Laurel or the author. I’m constantly annoyed by characters in thrillers knowingly going into danger without telling anyone – it seems like such a cheap ploy to create tension. I found it quite refreshing that Laurel stayed in character as a grounded and level-headed woman.
It was a decent if somewhat predictable thriller, but the ending makes up for a lot in my opinion.