The hair-raising story of an unsolved disappearance that connects two women across years and many dark secrets.
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Why I love it
Author, Survive the Night
If I made a list of all the things I want in a thriller, The Night She Disappeared would check off every single item. Creepy woods? Check! Academic setting? Check! An ancient, sprawling estate called Dark Place? Check! Secrets, illicit affairs, and suspicious characters inhabiting multiple timelines? Check, check, and heck yes! Even better, at its center are three flawed, determined, vivid women—a missing girl, her devoted mother, and a mystery writer who finds a clue that turns a cold case into a bonfire.
The writer is Sophie, who moves to a quaint English village when her boyfriend becomes head teacher at a private school. Before she can settle in, Sophie hears about Tallulah and Zach, a young couple who vanished a year earlier after attending a get-together at Dark Place. Soon after, Sophie stumbles upon a handwritten note on the edge of the storied estate’s vast woods that bears an ominous message—DIG HERE. What she finds buried there brings her into contact with Kim, Tallulah’s mother, who continues to look for her daughter long after everyone else has stopped. Together, the two women set out to learn what really happened to Tallulah.
Once again, Lisa Jewell proves herself to be a master of page-turning suspense. With the ease of a Vegas blackjack dealer, she shuffles between the days after Sophie’s discovery, the months leading up to Tallulah’s disappearance, and Kim’s frantic search in the days that followed. I loved the way Jewell teases out the story in delicious bits and pieces before finally hitting us with the shocking truth about what happened that night. That’s another thing to add to the list. A killer ending? Check!
2017: 19 year old Tallulah is going out on a date, leaving her baby with her mother, Kim.
Kim watches her daughter leave and, as late evening turns into night, which turns into early morning, she waits for her return. And waits.
The next morning, Kim phones Tallulah's friends who tell her that Tallulah was last seen heading to a party at a house in the nearby woods called Dark Place.
She never returns.
2019: Sophie is walking in the woods near the boarding school where her boyfriend has just started work as a head-teacher when she sees a note fixed to a tree.
'DIG HERE' . . .
A cold case, an abandoned mansion, family trauma, and dark secrets lie at the heart of this remarkable new novel.