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Tuesday, August 24, 2021


An excellent read and judging by other critic’s comments – her best ever. I recommend the book for fans of crime and suspense. (Review by Christine E Hann)

The Night She Disappeared is the first Lisa Jewell novel that I have read. Why? I was unable to put the book down and read at every opportunity until the story reached its conclusion. Then I reread some chapters, as there were nuances that I wanted to clarify after reading the Epilogue. To note, the book is set over several timelines.

The story begins in 2017 with a teenage mother Tallulah. She lives at home with her Mum, brother, baby son Noah and her controlling boyfriend Zach. Zach moved in with the family a few months back to help support Tallulah as she went back to her studies at Maypole House, an educational institution near their home.

Things at home are strained, added to which Tallulah has embarked on a secret relationship with one of the school’s “IT” people. Scarlett Jacques is from a wealthy family, she draws people in, and they find it hard to escape her hold once she has them. One night in June Tallulah goes on a date with her boyfriend Zach. Their baby boy is left at home with her mother Kim. This promises to be a special night, for many reasons. There is a text at 11pm, and at 4.30 am when Kim awakes the two teens are not back. From friends they discover that they were last seen going to a pool party at a place called Dark Woods, which is one of Scarlett’s family homes.

The plot switches to a year later, its 2018, and a new head teacher is moving into his cottage at Maypole House with his partner Sophie – who is a crime writer in her own right. As they enter the cottage, Sophie is struck by the smell of petrol, and something burnt. Later she goes for a walk in the woods, and discovers a sign that says DIG HERE, producing the first real evidence of the couple that vanished a year ago. The mystery pulls Sophie in, she is fascinated by the abandoned house on the other side of the woods, and the story of the missing teenagers.

The book moves from 2017, to 2018, 2016, 2017, 2018 backwards and forwards, as clues, new information, and twists and turns are revealed by the author. Does right triumph over wrong? Yes and no would be the correct answer. The epilogue will make you pause. An excellent read and judging by other critic’s comments – her best ever. I recommend the book for fans of crime and suspense.

Jewell is a British author who was born in London in 1968. She is married, and lives with her husband, two teenage daughters and their family pets in North London. Her debut novel Ralph’s Party was published in 1999 which was the best-selling debut novel for that year.  She has since written 18 more, several of which are psychological thrillers. Her works have been published worldwide in 25 languages.

Some of the other books by the same author: Then She Was Gone, The Family Upstairs, 31 Dream Street, The Third Wife, The House We Grew Up In.

The Night She Disappeared is published by Century, Penguin Random House UK – 2021. ISBN: 9781529125788 - Christine E Hann