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Book review #12: The Night She Disappeared

Book review: The Night She Disappeared

Format: Kindle ebook

Rating: 5/5 

O My Gawdd!! Guys, you HAVE TO read this. If this is the only fiction you read this month (or year!), YOU HAVE TO. 

I wanted to talk about the plot so much with my housemate but she kept saying that she’ll read it one day just to stop me from talking so I was just buzzing with adrenaline as I finished it. Obviously, I can’t even tell you about it so I just have to go crazy myself. I’ve finished two other thrillers by the time I’m writing this, but the amazingness of TNSD is still palpable.

I didn’t want to read this when everyone was sharing it all over Instagram; something about not wanting to be disappointed and saving the best for the last. I decided to read it anyway one random night, around 9pm. I just bought 4 new books from my recent trip to Hay on Wye but hey, I feel like reading TNSD so kindle made my wish come true (because I cannot wait). It was quite expensive – £9.99 for the kindle version vs £7.99 for the paperback.

Summary: It starts off like any other mystery thriller with the disappearance of Tallulah and her boyfriend Zach after their first date night in a long while. Both are young parents at the age of 19 and Tallulah herself has been extremely busy juggling life as a college student, new mum and living with a (?slightly) controlling boyfriend at her mum’s house. Kim, Tallulah’s mum was looking after her grandson, Noah that night.

When her daughter still hasn’t come home the next day, she knew something was wrong. Two years later, long after the police have exhausted their clues and the case gone cold, a mystery novelist Sophie moves to the town with her boyfriend, the new headmaster of a nearby boarding school. Just outside the cottage they moved into, Sophie found a sign saying “Dig Here” which interestingly opens up the cold case again with the new evidence she found. 

Now, I’ve never read anything from Lisa Jewell so this was a pleasant surprise because I’m officially a fan now! It was an absolutely brilliant read for a slow burn, what a treat! As I read, I continued guessing where it was going and was proven wrong again and again. You have no idea, how excited this made me. Each chapter ends on a torturous, tantalising note that I found me convincing myself to read “just one more chapter” until I finish the book in the wee hours (4am!!). It’s been soooo long since I’ve binged on a book like this. 

The multiple point of views on different timelines; Tallulah in 2017 before she disappeared, 2019 of Sophie after she moved to the cottage with her boyfriend, and Kim’s POV before, during the investigation and after. It could have been so confusing but it wasn’t, how did she (Ms Jewell) do it (I’m still impressed)? It’s really clever was how she incorporated their lives before the incident seamlessly and the character development very well done that I can empathise with most of them, it’s like I know them myself. Obviously, I loved Tallulah, Kim and Sophie throughout it all and was secretly rooting for them although I’m not exactly sure what I’m rooting for (if that makes sense?). This wasn’t just a whodunit story, it’s more like who’s done what??

Then there was the grey area of manipulation and emotional abuse. Where does love end and abuse starts? As a reader, it was obvious but I get it, when you’re experiencing yourself – it is hard! It is not that easy to be self aware enough to call it abuse. Also, how do you get out of that situation? What can you do? Although it wasn’t exactly explored in too much detail, she started the conversation and I loved that.

I can go on and on about everything I loved about this book but then, the lines between summary and spoilers are already so blur – I’ll just stop here. READ THIS, period.


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Aziza Aini

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