I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.She's Not There by Joy Fielding
Published by Random House Publishing Group on February 23, 2016
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense
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"I think my real name is Samantha. I think I'm your daughter." Caroline Shipley's heart nearly stops when she hears those words from the voice on the other end of the phone. Instantly, she's thrust fifteen years into the past, to a posh resort in Baja, Mexico--and the fateful night her world collapsed. The trip is supposed to be a celebration. Caroline's husband, Hunter, convinces her to leave their two young daughters, Michelle and Samantha, alone in their hotel suite while the couple enjoys an anniversary dinner in the restaurant downstairs. But returning afterward, Caroline and Hunter make a horrifying discovery: Two-year-old Samantha has vanished without a trace. What follows are days, weeks, and years of anguish for Caroline. She's tormented by media attention that has branded her a cold, incompetent mother, while she struggles to save her marriage. Caroline also has to deal with the demands of her needy elder daughter, Michelle, who is driven to cope in dangerous ways. Through it all, Caroline desperately clings to the hope that Samantha will someday be found--only to be stung again and again by cruel reality. Plunged back into the still-raw heartbreak of her daughter's disappearance, and the suspicions and inconsistencies surrounding a case long gone cold, Caroline doesn't know whom or what to believe. The only thing she can be sure of is that someone is fiercely determined to hide the truth of what happened to Samantha.
Another new to me author, that I am glad I discovered. Joy Fielding crafted a true “ripped from the headlines” tale of a kidnapped child, a marriage on the rocks and a family that may not survive the loss in She’s Not There. Caroline and Hunter are celebrating their ten year wedding anniversary in Mexico with family, friends and their two small girls. When the babysitter cancels, Hunter convinces Caroline to leave the girls asleep in the room and check on them every half an hour. When Caroline checks at the end of the night, the two-year-old Samantha is no longer in her crib. What follows is a media firestorm putting Caroline in the spotlight as an unfit mother. After fifteen tortured years, a phone call from a wary seventeen-year-old may change everything.
Fielding crafted a masterful tale of intrigue and family drama. The writing was crisp and conveyed emotion easily. Speaking of emotion, She’s Not There had a palpable undercurrent of loss and grief throughout that was very powerful. The world created was real and I could picture the varied environments well. The pacing was good, the chapters in the past were quick, and even if the current dragged a bit, as a whole it worked. The characters were engaging and you felt with them. A few, notably the oldest daughter, were a bit overdone, but as with the pacing it worked in the total atmosphere.
She’s Not There is a great read that I finished in one sitting. I stayed up late to finish, as I needed to know the truth. I was not at all disappointed by the ending and enjoyed the ride Joy Fielding took me on. I am again happy I found a new to me author to enjoy and my reading list is going to have some new additions with Fielding’s other books.
Favorite lines – We just want our daughter back, Hunter said, his obvious emotion in direct contrast to his wife’s eerily cool demeanor. In fact, Caroline had been dangerously close to fainting. Her deliberately calm exterior masked an interior that was collapsing in on itself, like an imploding building. The steeliness of her voice had been the only thing keeping her upright.
Biggest cliché – If I hope enough, everything will be fine.
Have you read She’s Not There, or added it to your TBR?
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2016 New Release Challenge
- Mount TBR Reading Challenge
- Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
- The Goodreads Challenge