Top critical review
The whodunnit is obvious, but how the fallout unfolds is intriguing.
31 July 2017
I enjoyed this book and read it in a night, but do think it was pretty obvious what happened to Ellie from the beginning and why Poppy looks so much Ellie.
I'd be surprised if readers DIDN'T guess what happened / how it came to be. I note Jewell's author's note about the book being a bit twisted and her editors having to talk her down from the ledge a little. I have to admit I would have liked a bit more of a twist, as I felt as I was kinda waiting to get what I knew confirmed and then move on to the intricacies of the fall-out and exactly who knew what.
Because I think that is this book's strength - we spend much of the book wondering: what Floyd knew; and / or what Floyd did. And - of course - what will happen now?
I did wonder, as I said, if there was going to be some extra twist and I guess there was in a way as the conclusion pans out (ultimately) in a pretty unexpected way, which I found exceedingly sad but didn't take away from my enjoyment.
I adored Poppy though I'm not sure I'd cope with a real life version of the somewhat precocious 9yr old. Laurel however was hard to warm up to and felt a little like the mother-from-hell. She seemed like a nice person but the comments she made about her kids (and we know she meant them because we're in her head) are a bit horrendous - admitting (to us) her regret that it wasn't her older daughter who disappeared.
I do realise, however, that she's anointed Ellie as the golden child and if she'd not disappeared then her glimmer might have dulled a little for her mother.
I should also mention there's a sadness or wistfulness about Ellie's story. I mean, that's a no-brainer, but even Ellie talks about the 'kinks' in the timeline and moments at which - if she, or others had done something differently - her fate might have changed.