As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Century, 27 July 2017. ISBN: 978-1-78089641-0 (HB)
Every mother's nightmare: a child goes missing, and no trace is ever
Laurel Mack's nightmare began
ten years ago, and has just reached a conclusion; a buried rucksack has been
identified as the one her teenage daughter Ellie was carrying on the last
morning she was seen, then a DNA match was provided by some bones found close
to it. Laurel's fractured family comes together for a funeral, and Laurel
begins to think there might be a future for her after all.
But the nightmare is about to
take another turn. Laurel falls in love – and her new partner's nine-year-old
daughter Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie at the same age. Questions stack
up, and suddenly the foundations of Laurel's newly rebuilt life don't seem
quite so secure.
The plot and the timeframe
twist and turn as the truth about what happened to Ellie gradually unfolds,
told from several points of view, with clever interleaving of flashbacks,
first-person narration and present-and past-tense sequences. Lisa Jewell is
adept at juggling styles in a way that brings the characters to vivid
The characters in this
tangled tale are very much centre stage; another of Jewell's skills is
portraying the way tragedy can tear a perfectly functional family apart, and
each member of it comes across loud and clear. Ellie was the golden girl, the
focus of everyone's life, and her disappearance has affected everyone profoundly.
Laurel's emotions have atrophied, and she can't move beyond that appalling day.
Her husband Paul can't cope with the way she opts out of family life. Hanna and
Jake, Ellie's siblings cut themselves off from Laurel, emotionally if not
physically. Only her mother Ruby, confined to a care home after a severe
stroke, can see beyond the grey, one-day-at-a-time existence to which Laurel
has condemned herself. The various locations in which the narrative takes place
are equally well realized; a soulless apartment and a seedy house with a dank
basement will stay in my mind for a long time.
When Ellie's remains are
found, and Laurel's life seems to start again, the wounds begin to heal,
until... But any more information about what happens next would be a major
Enough to say this is a book
that will keep you up till well past bedtime.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Jewell was born in London in 1968. She was educated at a
Catholic girls’ Grammar school in Finchley. After leaving school at sixteen she
spent two years at Barnet College doing an arts foundation course and then two
years at Epsom School of Art & Design studying Fashion Illustration and
Communication. She worked for the fashion chain Warehouse for three years as a
PR assistant and then for Thomas Pink, the Jermyn Street shirt company for four
years as a receptionist and PA. She started her first novel, Ralph’s Party, for a bet in 1996. She
finished it in 1997 and it was published by Penguin books in May 1998. It went
on to become the best-selling debut novel of that year. She has since written a
further nine novels, as is currently at work on her eleventh. She now lives in
an innermost part of north London with her husband Jascha, an IT consultant, her
daughters, Amelie and Evie.
Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen,
and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but
never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher
for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now
burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with
books, about half of them crime fiction.