One day, 15-year old Ellie Mack was living her ideal life, preparing for exams, in a relationship with a wonderful boy and on her way to the library…and then she was gone. She disappeared without a trail, leaving her family in despair, especially her mother, Laurel. Ellie was her youngest, her golden child that was the light in the home. Her absence seemed to extinguish that light over time, destroying her parents’ marriage and fracturing Laurel’s relationships with just about everyone, including her remaining two children. Then one day, Laurel meets Floyd Dunn, a divorced professor with two daughters, the youngest, Poppy, who stirs something in her she hasn’t felt in years.
I thought I knew what kind of story this would be, one where the investigation into Ellie’s disappearance would be all consuming and the heartbreak and angst of it all would be emotionally draining. This isn’t that kind of book at all. Most of the story is told through Laurel’s point of view, in third-person, so it provides some distance (somewhat) from the pain. It’s quite the work of art to see things through her perspective and experience the contrast of that with the reality of those in her orbit, particularly her daughter Hanna and ex-husband Paul. Ellie’s absence is always in the background, like an invisible third person.
There’s a literary quality to this story, with moments of insight sprinkled throughout, not liberally but when least expected and giving me pause and more profound understanding of these characters and the insidious nature of this kind of loss. As Laurel transformed, so did my clarity of the other characters, like a veil lifting allowing me to see beyond their original frames. This was more than what happened to Ellie and her fate, whodunnit and why. It’s a marvelous exploration of the human condition and the circumstances of her disappearance just made things more interesting. This was a fascinating story and the narrator did an outstanding job of capturing it and well defining most of the characters. I was riveted.
- Release Date: April 17, 2018
- Narrator: Helen Duff
- Audio Length: 10 hours, 16 minutes