February 2021 book of the month club

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rubysmama

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I made the mistake of reading it too early in the month, so it's no longer fresh in my mind. And as it was a library book, which was returned, I can't skim through it to refresh my memory. Guess I should have written down my thoughts then, and saved it to post now.

It was a fairly fast read, though certainly disturbing at times. I didn't hate it, but didn't love it ever. I'd rate it 2 stars out of 5.

When I read the book description, I got chills over the part that the new boyfriend's little girl looked so much like Laurel's missing daughter. Little did I know how that happened. I wish it had been for a different reason, but glad, at least, that Floyd wasn't the father.

I also read that the author's original ending was different, and I would have preferred if they hadn't changed it. Here's the original ending, if anyone is interested: Lisa Jewell: The Alternative Ending I Envisaged for Then She Was Gone (Warning: Contains Spoilers!) - WHSmith Blog

That's all I can think of to post right now. Maybe I'll have more comments, as others post their reviews.
 

verna davies

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I would rate this book 4.5 stars, really enjoyed it and found it an easy read. It threw some red herrings in and sometimes send me down the wrong path.
I guessed quite early on that Poppy was the granddaughter of Laurel but thought that Floyd was her biological father.
I didn't like Floyd at first, thought he was a bit too smooth and didn't trust him. Didn't take to Poppy either, felt she was a far too grown up for her age and her behavior didn't seem natural at the birthday meal of Laurel and Hanna, I like children to be children. I couldn't understand why she was home schooled and who looked after her when Floyd was in work.. no-one it seemed.
Poppy grew on me later once I understood the life she had been living with Noelle.
I couldn't work out why Floyd wanted a relationship with Laurel as he realised she was Poppy's grandmother but it became obvious that he was doing it for the right reasons.
Once the disappearance of the candlestick came into the story and then being found in Poppy's bedroom I couldn't work out how they got there, good red herring as I thought that Ellie had gone home and taken them as well as the cake etc although it would imply that she was indeed alive and had run away.
I would have thought that Ellie might have put up a bit of a fight to get away from Noelle, whacked her with the chair maybe or used the chair to break the glass in the window when she knew Noelle was not in the house.
I felt sorry for Hanna, feeling she couldn't tell her mother about her relationship with Theo.
Surprised that Noelle told Floyd the name of Poppy's natural mother, seemed a bit out of character.
Did Floyd need to kill himself, he didn't have to tell Laurel he had killed Noelle then he could have continued to be part of Poppy's life.
The letter found written by Ellie was sad and what a terrible way to die.
 

gilmargl

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I also read that the author's original ending was different, and I would have preferred if they hadn't changed it. Here's the original ending, if anyone is interested: Lisa Jewell: The Alternative Ending I Envisaged for Then She Was Gone (Warning: Contains Spoilers!) - WHSmith Blog
Thank you for that interesting piece of information.
This alternative ending would mean either leaving out the body in the woods and the funeral - at least that would remove the "wild animals" (one of my grudges against this strange tale) - or make another error and bury the wrong body. This may work in "Rebecca" (early 20th century) but not in modern day Britain! :evilgrin:
When is it safe to speak openly - has everyone finished reading?
 
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rubysmama

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I would have thought that Ellie might have put up a bit of a fight to get away from Noelle, whacked her with the chair maybe or used the chair to break the glass in the window when she knew Noelle was not in the house.
I know after the one time Ellie tried to fight her, she commented that Noelle was stronger than she expected, but I did think she might have tried again. Course once she was stuck in that room for so long, she would have probably lost muscle mass, and strength.

The letter found written by Ellie was sad and what a terrible way to die.
It was an awful way to die. At least it seemed she was mostly out of it by then. But so heart-breaking.
 

Mamanyt1953

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1. How would you rate the book on a scale of 1 to 5 *****?

2. Who was your favourite character?

3. Did you have to force yourself to get through the book or were you unable to put it down?

4. Did you learn anything you didn't know before?

5. Did you find the characters believable?

6. Is there any part of the book you would change?

7. Were there any points of view you felt the author had that you disagreed with?
OK, now that I have some points of reference, I'll actually free-style! With my ADD brain, points of reference are a huge plus, even when I don't answer question-by-question!

I'll give this book a solid 3 stars. Only three for many of the reasons mentioned, forensic issues, etc, but still three for being a well-crafted story and compelling characters, over-all. Noelle was disturbing, as well as disturbed. From the get-go. And I've known people very like her who would, had they a chance, go to just such extremes, even if not that one! As for "affording to buy sperm," that's only true if you go through a sperm bank. I personally know at least one couple who managed the trick with a willing friend and a well-sterilized turkey baster. Rare(and unspeakably icky in my opinion, but can be done, so I gave that a pass.

Had I not had the background in mental health care that I do (worked several years in an acute-care hospital), I would have found both Noelle and Floyd totally unbelievable. But since I have, OH BOY, do I see how that might have happened, although not as it did.
I was heartbroken over and for Ellie. I wish that the original ending had been used. No, she did not "have" to die. Happy endings are allowed. The bad guys can be caught, and the good guys have a happy ending, and still be honest. And I was so glad to be able to read that original ending! THANK YOU FOR THE LINK!

I, too, was relieved that Floyd wasn't Poppy's biological father. And, as stated, I can see how Poppy came to be. It happens. And I can even see Floyd's compulsion to reveal Poppy to Laurel. A world of guilt, there.

I was also heart-broken for Hannah. She got the short end of the stick in so very many ways. I had a sister who died just (days) before I was born. I was, growing up, compared to her constantly, and always came out the loser. My mother actually said to a friend, not knowing I could hear her, "God always takes the best, the brightest, the most beautiful, and we have to carry on with what is left." So, I suppose, Hannah may well have been my favorite character, because I identify with her so closely.

I'm glad I read it. I may even read it again at some point.
 

Mia6

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My mother actually said to a friend, not knowing I could hear her, "God always takes the best, the brightest, the most beautiful, and we have to carry on with what is left." So, I suppose, Hannah may well have been my favorite character, because I identify with her so closely.
God, I am so very sorry you heard that!!:hugs:
 
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rubysmama

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I wish that the original ending had been used. No, she did not "have" to die. Happy endings are allowed. The bad guys can be caught, and the good guys have a happy ending, and still be honest.
I totally think a happy ending could have been used. They're certainly rare, in cases of missing persons, but do occasionally happen. I even wondered if Ellie never being found would have been more realistic, than having Noelle stage her death.

I had a sister who died just (days) before I was born. I was, growing up, compared to her constantly, and always came out the loser. My mother actually said to a friend, not knowing I could hear her, "God always takes the best, the brightest, the most beautiful, and we have to carry on with what is left."
Oh, Bek, I'm so sorry you overheard that. :alright: I'm sure it was your mother's grief talking, but not easy for a daughter to hear. 🤗

Another point: assuming the alternative, original ending: how would that change Hannah's life with Ellie's ex-boyfriend? Would she be returned to her "second-best" role with Ellie the winner?
Likely Theo would have been a short-term high school boyfriend, and both sisters would meet other guys before settling down. They didn't really explain that relationship, did they. But I presume they bonded over the loss of Ellie.
 

verna davies

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Another point: assuming the alternative, original ending: how would that change Hannah's life with Ellie's ex-boyfriend? Would she be returned to her "second-best" role with Ellie the winner?
I would say yes and maybe even more so. She would be more treasured than before. Thinking of Hanna's character, I don't think she would be comfortable staying in the relationship with Theo.
 
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rubysmama

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Another point: assuming the alternative, original ending: how would that change Hannah's life with Ellie's ex-boyfriend? Would she be returned to her "second-best" role with Ellie the winner?
I realized my answer to this question was assuming Ellie had never been kidnapped, not that she was rescued. So that, obviously, changes my thoughts.

If she was found after Hannah and Theo were a couple, then I think they would have continued to be estranged from the family, assuming it was a serious relationship. Then again, guilt might split them up.

Theo getting back with Ellie would certainly never happen. And, definitely, Ellie would have become more treasured than before, and Hannah would feel 2nd best.
 

Mamanyt1953

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Another point: assuming the alternative, original ending: how would that change Hannah's life with Ellie's ex-boyfriend? Would she be returned to her "second-best" role with Ellie the winner?
OH GOD, that's a horrible thought...although...Had Ellie's return taken place after the frank (FINALLY) discussion between Laurel and Hannah, Laurel may have been aware enough to (a) not allow that to happen, or (b) and more likely, been self-aware enough to at least mitigate the worst of the "second-best syndrome." Or so I hope. Because I must.

Mamanyt1953 Mamanyt1953 You're our " best, brightest, most beautiful,"!!!!💖💞💝
Thank you, Darlin! I think that about each and every one of our members at one point or another! And about MOST of our members ALL AT ONCE! And I'm allowed to do that. This is very much my "real" home.
 
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rubysmama

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February with only 28 days, means the last official day of discussion is also the last day of the month. So that means tomorrow we will be moving on to our March 2021 book of the month club book which is From Baghdad, With Love (Lava #1) by Jay Kopelman, Melinda Roth.

This is one of our few non-fiction books, so hopefully it will be as well received as our fiction choices. 🐶

As always, do feel free to add any more comments about this month's book. The threads remain open, even as we move onto new books.

And a here's a teaser for our April book, which will be announced in early March. It is a novel, written by a male author, published in 1978, and is one of the top 20 books on the following list: Best Books of 1978 (117 books)
 
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