‘The Night She Disappeared’ is the latest book by ‘Sunday Times’ bestselling author Lisa Jewell.
Midsummer 2017: teenage mum Tallulah heads out on a date, leaving her baby son at home with her mother, Kim. At 11 p.m. she sends her mum a text message. At 4.30 a.m. Kim awakens to discover that Tallulah has not come home. Friends tell her that Tallulah was last seen heading to a pool party at a house in the woods nearby called Dark Place. Tallulah never returns. 2018: walking in the woods behind the boarding school where her boyfriend has just started as a head teacher, Sophie sees a sign nailed to a fence. A sign that says: DIG HERE.
Every year Lisa Jewell delivers a book that is hailed as her best book to date and I always agree. But this year, Lisa has completely knocked it out of the park with ‘The Night She Disappeared’, a story of love, obsession and amateur sleuthing.
I read this book in one sitting, it was compelling, dark and extremely addictive.
The story is seen through the narrative of 3 women. Kim, mother of Tallulah who disappears one night whilst out with her boyfriend called Zach. Tallulah, a teenage mother who’s in an unhappy relationship with Zach and finds herself drawn to Scarlett, an outspoken and well to do girl who attends the same school as Tallulah. And finally Sophie, who has just moved to the area, her boyfriend is the principal of the school that both Scarlett and Tallulah attended. Sophie is the author of a crime series and when she finds a sign in her back garden with the instruction to ‘Dig here’ she finds herself piecing together the last few moments of Tallulah being seen, along with Kim.
Right from the start, this book pulled me in. The multiples narratives made for intriguing reading. Like Lisa’s previous books, the story is delivered in past and present tense. The story begins with Kim’s narrative at the moment that Tallulah doesn’t return from her night out and then a year later, still appealing for help and never giving up hope. She’s now become the full time carer to Tallulah’s little boy Noah and is heartbroken that Tallulah is missing out on pivotal moments in Noah’s life. Tallulah’s narrative are delivered in the past and to be honest, this makes for sad reading. A teenage girl struck in an unhappy relationship with a seemingly lovely boy, but who’s manipulative and when she’s with Scarlett, she radiates warmth and happiness that lifts off the pages. And newcomer to the town Sophie, is using her crime writing skills to uncover the clues, as well as being new to the town, sees the residents in a new light and is able to notice the suspicious characters and motives.
I’ve always thought that Lisa transitioned beautifully from female fiction to domestic noir and felt that she really triumphed in this story. The characters are addictive and dark, with flawed personalities that really pulled my attention. From Tallulah’s naivety, Kim’s faith and Sophie’s determination. Her writing is skilfully crafted and her observational insights into relationships and society made for even more gripping reading
A modern thriller delivered with drama and twists at every turn, ‘The Night She Disappeared’ is a tense and dramatic story that keeps the reader guessing throughout and made this book impossible to put down.
You can pre-order ‘The Night She Disappeared’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 22nd July 2021.