Friday 17 December 2021

The Night She Disappeared

Finished December 9
The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell

This story takes place in an English suburb. On a summer night over a year before the main story, a teenage couple Tallulah and Zach head out to a local pub for dinner. This is the first time the pair has been out since the birth of their baby Noah several months before. Tallulah lives with her mom and younger brother and attends a local college. Zach is working and saving money for their own home and a few months earlier, after a break in their relationship, moved in with Tallulah. Tallulah's mom, Kim is close to her daughter and hopes for a better relationship for her than the one she had with her children's father, who moved back with his own mother shortly after their son Ryan is born. 
But Tallulah and Zach don't return home. Zach's parents don't seem concerned, and seem to think the two felt parenthood too much and took off together. Kim knows Tallulah wouldn't abandon Noah, and tries to track their movements the night before, finding that they'd gone to the house of another young woman, Scarlett Jacques. 
Scarlett says they left when Tallulah felt ill, but no taxi firm has any record of a trip and there seems to be no trace of the two, even when police get involved. 
Fourteen months later, Sophie Beck moves into the headmaster's cottage at a local school, Maypole House, with her boyfriend Shaun, the new headmaster. Sophie writes cozy mysteries. At the back of the garden, she finds a sign on the fence saying Dig Here, and when she does, she finds something that leads her to Kim. Sophie wonders who has left the sign and whether it is targeted specifically for her, because of her novels. 
As we follow the timelines of Sophie and Kim in the now, and trace the events in Tallulah and Zach's lives leading up to that night they disappeared, we find things are not always as they seem, and that relationships are more complex than anyone close to the couple knew. 
Kim lives in both fear and hope, and Sophie finds that mysteries made real may change her life as well. 
A fascinating tale of love, control, and the things people are willing to do for both. 

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