“You'll be unable to put down this immensely readable, even rereadable book. The characters are all engaging, and while some may be more likeable than others, each has an angle that pulls the reader in. (4.5 stars)”
- Robyn Glazer, book review from Romantic Times
“A perfect balance of darkness and intricate struggles. Mix in a nail-biting plot and you have one outstanding read.”
- Ann Hite, author of Ghost on Black Mountain
“Gwendolen Gross uses the disappearance of a young woman to tell the story of a community in crisis, and her gaze is both unflinching and surprisingly tender.
When She Was Gone is a dark but elegantly
crafted book, the tension building toward climax that promises redemption to its wayward characters.”
-Holly Goddard Jones, author of Next Time You See Me
“What happens behind the closed doors of a neighborhood, and beyond the facades of the people who live there?
Gwendolen Gross has the sharp insight of a documentarian, turning her lens on each house of a frightened town after a college-bound girl goes missing.
Full of heart but free of sentimentality, When She Was Gone shows the sinews of belonging and not-belonging that bind a community.”
- Nichole Bernier, author of The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D
“A teenage girl goes missing, and the reader learns the intertwining stories of her family and neighbors.
The stories revolve around childhood difficulties, parenting difficulties and the companionship (or lack thereof) in marriages, as well as the various kinds of secrets that people keep.
The author creates a mystery surrounding the whereabouts and fate of the unusually mature 17-year-old Linsey. Along the way, other mysteries and conflicts are raised and resolved, all with an eye toward offering insights into relationships: relationships with loved ones, relationships with neighbors, relationships with those we might not ordinarily notice or care about.
Death, life, redemption and music combine in a rewarding novel.” - Kirkus Reviews book review
“Similar in title and theme to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, Gwendolen Gross deftly depicts the dread-filled unfolding of a mother’s realization that her child is missing and clearly portrays how a crisis of this nature unearths alliances and fissures within a community.”
- Library Journal book review, Sheila Riley, Smithsonian Libraries
“The author of five critically-acclaimed novels, including the riveting, The Orphan Sister (which was included in Real Moms Guides' Best Summer Reads), Gross' forthcoming book may prove to be her best yet. This un-put-down-able novel is the story of uncovering what happened to Linsey Hart. When the college-bound 17-year-old suddenly disappears one morning, it turns her quiet, suburban neighborhood upside down.
When She Was Gone has been called a cross between Little Children and The Lovely Bones and will grip you as you hear the story through the alternating points of view of her family and neighbors as they tackle issues from infidelity to long-held secrets.
From Library Journal's book review-
"Lovely, bright 17-year-old Linsey Hart vanishes a few weeks before she is to leave for college. The next seven days are spent in frantic efforts to find Linsey by retracing her movements and interactions with others. Linsey’s mother, Abigail, and stepfather, Frank, had been negotiating with Linsey’s father on how to share in seeing Linsey off to Cornell.
The night before Linsey’s disappearance, the quirky piano teacher neighbor, Mr. Leonard, overheard Linsey breaking up with Timmy, her high school love. Reeva, ruler of the neighborhood clique, had been upset that Linsey failed to show up for her babysitting job but then appeared rather more concerned that Linsey might have seen her with her lover. Geo, an observant 11-year-old loner, had been doing what he always did, keeping to himself and making collages of the photographs he took of his neighbors."
From Lisa Steinke's book review, Best Books to Take on Spring Vacation, @ sheknows.com -
"When the college-bound 17-year-old Linsey Hart suddenly disappears one morning, it turns her quiet, suburban neighborhood upside down. As each of her neighbors sort through what they think they know about the missing girl, they are forced to confront the long-held secrets, prejuduces and alliances that shape their individual roles in the community.
There’s Linsey’s mother, Abigail, whose door-to-door searching makes her social outcast status painfully obvious; Mr. Leonard, the quiet, retired piano teacher with insomnia, who saw Linsey leave; Reeva, the queen bee of a clique of mothers, now obsessed with a secret interest; Timmy, Linsey’s lovelorn ex-boyfriend; and George, an 11-year-old loner who is determined to find out what happened to his missing neighbor."
From Booklist's book review -
"Just before she’s supposed to start her freshman year at college, Linsey Hart goes missing. Her absence rocks the insular commuter community, whose hypocritical residents publicly wonder how such a thing could happen, while privately disdaining the people and events at the center of Linsey’s life.
Her neighbor, Mr. Leonard, muses about Linsey’s disappearance as he plays Rachmaninoff nocturnes while wearing his deceased mother’s evening gown. George, an 11-year-old social misfit, surreptitiously photographs the
town’s denizens, searching for clues as to Linsey’s whereabouts. Randy, middle-aged soccer mom Reeva mourns the loss of Linsey as a babysitter for her autistic son, but not to the point where it interferes with her affair with Jordan, a Starbucks barista half her age. Meanwhile, Linsey’s ex-boyfriend Timmy and her mother, Abigail, each grapple with self-recriminations over their roles in driving Linsey away."
From GoodReads.com book reviews -
When She Was Gone is "a keenly observed portrait of a small town under duress, When She Was Gone is a searing portrayal of the bonds that hold a community together—and the secrets and lies that threaten to rip it apart."
When She Was Gone - A Novel by Gwendolen Gross - Book Reviews
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