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The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell

The Night She Disappeared

by Lisa Jewell

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Quick take

The hair-raising story of an unsolved disappearance that connects two women across years and many dark secrets.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MultipleNarrators

    Multiple viewpoints

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_NonLinear

    Nonlinear timeline

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Murder



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.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of The Night She Disappeared.
The Night She Disappeared


June 2017

The baby is starting to grumble. Kim sits still in her chair and holds her breath. It’s taken her all night to get him to sleep. It’s Friday, a sultry midsummer night, and normally she’d be out with friends at this time. Eleven o’clock: she’d be at the bar getting in the last round for the road. But tonight she’s in joggers and a T-shirt, her dark hair tied up in a bun, contacts out, glasses on, and a glass of lukewarm wine on the coffee table that she poured herself earlier and hasn’t had a chance to drink.

She clicks the volume down on the TV using the remote and listens again.

There it is, the very early outposts of crying, a kind of dry, ominous chirruping.

Kim has never really liked babies. She liked her own well enough, but did find the early years testing and ill-suited to her sensibilities. From the first night that both her children slept through the night, Kim has placed a very—possibly disproportionately—high value on an unbroken night. She had her kids young and easily had time enough and room in her heart for another one or two. But she could not face the prospect of sleepless nights again. For years she has protected her sleep vigilantly with the help of eye masks and earplugs and pillow sprays and huge tubs of melatonin that her friend brings back for her from the States.

And then, just over twelve months ago, her teenage daughter, Tallulah, had a baby. And now Kim is a grandmother at the age of thirty-nine and there is a crying baby in her house again, soon, it feels, so soon, after her own babies stopped crying.

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Why I love it

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!

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Member ratings (12,311)

  • Jessica M.

    Las Vegas, NV

    This book made me a bad mom for 24hrs ???? I decided to hell with cooking meals (ordering in is ok right?) and didn’t bathe my kids (well, it’s Dads turn)…..BECAUSE this book was so darn good!⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Meagan C.

    Pomfret, CT

    5/5⭐️ I literally could not put this book down. Difficult to piece together, kept me guessing until the end! Absolutely will read this again! Character dev:5⭐️ Plot 5⭐️ Twists: 5⭐️ Thrilling: 5⭐️

  • Amy M.

    Greensboro, NC

    5 ⭐️’s! Huge LJ fan & this one did not disappoint! Possibly my favorite of hers I’ve read so far. Dual timelines, well developed characters, plot shrouded in secrets & mystery. Couldn’t put it down!

  • Allison C.

    Ellicott City, MD

    A great Lisa Jewell! I’m a sucker for dual timelines and this was executed perfectly! A slow-burn mystery with a chilling atmosphere. I predicted some of the reveals but didn’t guess the ending! 4/5⭐️

  • Meagan G.

    Manteca, CA

    I couldn’t put this down. Stayed up late tonight to finish it when I know I have to be up early tomorrow. That’s how you know a book has got it’s hooks into you. I only wish the ending had more punch.

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