'The Night She Disappeared' Is a Spooky Fall Read

"I enjoyed The Night She Disappeared and recommend it, especially to Jewell fans and those who enjoy a slow-burn mystery that does not skimp on details."

the night she disappeared
(Image credit: Design by Morgan McMullen)

If you're a Lisa Jewell fan, the #ReadWithMC community unequivocally agrees that you'll appreciate the New York Times–bestselling author's latest thriller, The Night She DisappearedTold from three different timelines and perspectives, the slow-burn mystery begins with the disappearance of 19-year-old mother Tallulah, who doesn't return home after a night out with her boyfriend. Her mother has been babysitting Tallulah's child and immediately knows something is wrong.

Though Jewell seamlessly weaves together multiple timelines and perspectives, one #ReadWithMC reviewer noted, "I had to develop a solid understanding of what was happening in each timeline and how they related to one another before I could really concentrate on the storyline and characters. Once that occurred, I was fully invested in the characters and the mystery."

If you're thinking about giving the book a read, find out what the #ReadWithMC community had to say about Marie Claire's October book club pick, below.

"I always love a Lisa Jewell book. I just do. Even when I don’t entirely connect to a book, I always find her writing to be immersive and enthralling. The Night She Disappeared was no exception. I’m excited to discuss this one in the two buddy reads—one hosted by @aimeedarsreads as part of the #thrillsandchillsfest and one by #SaturdayBookstaClub.

This one is told in three timelines with multiple POVs. There’s now where a mystery writer and her boyfriend move to a cottage at his new school. It happens to be right along the edge of woods where a college student and her boyfriend disappeared a year earlier, and the writer begins to follow mysterious clues about the practically cold case. There’s the timeline of the morning when the student’s mother wakes up to find that her daughter and boyfriend are missing, leaving her with their baby. Finally, there are the events leading up to the disappearance told from the point of view of the missing girl.

All three timelines were equally interesting to me, although it was harder to sympathize with some of the characters in the story leading up to the disappearances. I loved the mother’s belief in her daughter and I also loved the mystery writer. She was such a nuanced character. Instead of just having her there as a prop to solve the mystery, Jewell gave her a lovely arc about a relationship that might not work in a new place and it beautifully reflected the themes in one of the other timelines. I think Jewell is a master at weaving together narratives that explores the same ideas through the lens of different characters.

One small complaint was that I found the title distracting since it wasn’t just 'she' who disappeared, and even though I can think of some reasons for not including him, it still bugged me.

SPOILER ALERT in the form of an '80s analogy: In some ways I feel like this book was to Then She Was Gone what Some Kind of Wonderful was to Pretty in Pink. A retelling for people who wanted something different. Feel free to DM me if you want me to expand on this thought." —@marychasewrites

"I don’t usually give 'star' reviews because I feel a little conflicted by that system. But damn. @lisajewelluk. This book deserves all the stars.

Tallulah is a college student and a young mother, out for a rare night of fun with her baby’s father, Zach, at the local pub. Somehow, they end up continuing to party at Scarlett Jacques's mansion in the woods. Scarlett attends college with Tallulah, but her life of friends and fun is a world away from Tallulah’s life of duty and never-ending responsibilities.

But Tallulah and Zach never come home.

Kim, Tallulah’s mom, knows immediately that something is wrong. Knowing instinctually that Tallulah would never desert her baby, Noah, she fears something terrible has befallen them. But Scarlett claims that Zach and Tallulah got in a cab in the middle of the night and left, leaving the police and others to speculate that they ran away from the very adult burdens of their young lives. But even when the police declare it a cold case and stop looking, Kim never gives up, fierce in her resolve to figure out what happened to her daughter.

Meanwhile, a year later, Sophie and Sean move into the headmaster’s cottage on the grounds of the nearby college. Sophie sees a sign in her garden that says 'dig here.' She discovers a ring that was purchased by Zach and suddenly the couple’s mysterious disappearance is brought back to the forefront. Someone knows something about that night, but isn’t telling and Sophie, an author of a detective series, is determined to figure out why.

Lisa Jewell crafts a complex and thoroughly engaging thriller that will keep you guessing. I thought I had it worked out, but I was wrong! The book brims with anticipation and will leave you thoroughly hooked throughout the entirety. Pick this up immediately!" —@suzylew_bookreview

"This is my second Lisa Jewel book. At the end of 2020, I read Invisible Girl and thought it was okay. But I know Jewell's books are a fan favorite and wanted to give her books another try. The Night She Disappeared is Lisa Jewell's newest novel about the disappearance of teen mom, Tallulah Murray, who seemingly vanished into thin air after a night out with her boyfriend and college friends. This book is a slow-burn mystery full of rich detail that will keep you turning the page.

It took me a little bit to be fully gripped by The Night She Disappeared, but once I was, I was fully invested. I think the reason it took me a few chapters was because the story is told from multiple perspectives in multiple timelines that are relatively close together. I had to develop a solid understanding of what was happening in each timeline and how they related to one another before I could really concentrate on the storyline and characters. Once that occurred, I was fully invested in the characters and the mystery. I do think that Lisa Jewell does a great job handling multiple timelines and perspectives to build a complex, but riveting novel.

I found The Night She Disappeared to be well-written, albeit a bit longer than it really needed to be. However, I really appreciated that Jewell constructs detailed characters, imbeds compelling context, and creates a strong setting. While I found the novel and plot to be suspenseful and cohesive, there were portions that were predictable and those that were implausible. Generally, I do not need plots to be completely plausible, but these ended up feeling like plot holes. Despite the ending that I somewhat guessed, I still found this to be enjoyable and worth the read.

Overall, I enjoyed The Night She Disappeared and recommend it, especially to Jewell fans and those who enjoy a slow-burn mystery that does not skimp on details. Rating: ⭐⭐⭐" —@read.between.the.spines

"I have to admit that I was a little hesitant to read this one, mostly because I absolutely despised Lisa Jewell’s last two books (🤭), but ALAS!! this one I not only genuinely enjoyed, but reminded me a bit of my all-time fav Then She Was Gone.⁣

This one was almost quite as sad (but sad nonetheless) and is rooted in a mother/daughter relationship storyline that I absolutely love reading. This story from Kim’s perspective was quite a journey and I hurt alongside her from the second she knew something was up. Lisa really knows how to pull at the heartstrings and I’ve found that it’s her strong suit.⁣

There are some places where the story lulls a bit, and honestly a perspective I could’ve done without, but overall I could not stop turning the pages fast enough to see how this all came together!! The suspense!! There were also quite a few sus sentences/statements sprinkled throughout that I raised my brow at, but aside from that it’s safe to say I fairly enjoyed this one and will have to recommend! 👍🏼⁣

And before I go, of course this one is a little ~predictable~ buuuut Lisa gives you everything up front (or so I always feel), and the enormity of this puzzle is a game all of her own. You’ll be hooked trying to piece it all together!⁣

3.5-4//5 ⭐️⁣

*CW: rape, drugging, gaslighting, emotional abuse⁣" —@strandedinbooks

"'Dig here.'

Last year when I was getting back into reading I read two of @lisajewelluk’s books—Then She Was Gone and Watching You, and I really enjoyed both. I for some reason was worried that after reading so many books this year I wouldn’t like this one as much, like maybe I remembered her writing better than it was. Why did I think this? I have no idea, I was wrong. 🤣

19-year-old Talulah goes out on a date and leaves her son with her mother, Kim. Talulah and Zach never return and Kim is certain something bad happened. They would never just leave their son behind, would they? Told through three POVs and timelines, at first I was a little confused with who was who since there was a lot going on and a lot of side characters, but I got hooked pretty quickly. This is definitely a slow burn mystery, but I was never bored. I really enjoyed the character of Sophie as the crime novelist turned real life investigator was a fun idea. I didn’t guess the ending *exactly* and there were lots of twists to keep you entertained even if you did figure out a couple.

I’ve rated it 4⭐️s—I really liked it!! I definitely look forward to working my way through Jewell’s backlist!" —@whatkelseysreading

"What a book. I read the first four chapters last night before bed. Came in from work tonight and hammered through it. Just couldn’t put it down. The boys have loved being able to snuggle with me in bed whilst I read. @lisajewelluk you never fail in writing amazing books!" —@jenni4991

"🕷Add to your TBR if:

• You love page turning thrillers that keep you guessing

• You are a Nancy Drew fan

• You love books about the power of a mother/daughter relationship

🕷Keep off of your TBR if:

• You don’t like being left wanting more at the end of a book

• You don’t like when a book time hops

• You aren’t a fan of long books

🕷Final thoughts:

• One of my favorite parts about Lisa Jewell’s books is the author note at the end. She wrote an extremely powerful script at the end of this novel touching on the difficulty of writing during a pandemic. I find her notes touching and moving

• I cared about what was going to happen next in this book, which is the most important thing to me while reading a psychological thriller" —@bathandbookworms

"I don’t usually like slow burns, but when I do it’s mostly likely a thriller by Lisa Jewell. She does them so well and this one is no exception. The Night She Disappeared is narrated in dual timelines and multiple POVs. We learn about a teenage mother who is trying to navigate college with being a mother, having friends, and a boyfriend. But one night she banishes without a trace.

Lisa has the ability to fully immersed me into her fictional world. I am going to come out and say it, this one has become my favorite of hers. I wasn't able to put it down, but I forced myself to savor it slowly in order to capture every detail of the plot. It was executed so well with the different perspectives intriguing me more and more as I kept reading. Every chapter interwinds with the next one increasing the tension and suspense of the mystery. The plot was character driven, it was thrilling, compelling, and eerie. We see once more Lisa's skillful way of wrapping loose ends by providing a satisfying ending." —@thrillerswithgems

"The Night She Disappeared is told in three alternating timelines, and multiple view points. This took me a moment to get down, but they all puzzled together well in the end, and I liked the dynamic. ⁣

It all begins when a teenage mother named Tallulah and her boyfriend go missing after a date night. Tallulah’s mom is babysitting her daughter’s son and when they don’t come home in the morning, she is very concerned. She’s convinced Tallulah would never run away from her baby and start a new life, but then what happened? ⁣

There is quite the mystery element in this novel, and I felt excited for each new chapter, and to reveal another layer of the story. ⁣The characters are interesting and unique and the tension was so thick. I felt like I was going my own bit of detective work as I read, and that was fun. 🔍⁣ I was able to guess some of where it was going, but it didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of the read. It’s twisty and dark and one that will stick with me for awhile. I think it’s my new favorite of Lisa Jewell’s books." —@topshelfbookreviews

Missed out on our October book club pick? In November, we're reading All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris. Read an excerpt from the book here.


all her little secrets

(Image credit: Design by Morgan McMullen)

the heart principle

(Image credit: Design by Morgan McMullen)