Professional Reader

she's not there by Joy Fielding

She’s Not There. A gripping novel from a queen of psychological suspense and New York Times bestselling author, Joy Fielding.

‘I think my real name is Samantha. I think I’m your daughter.’

When Caroline Shipley’s two-year-old daughter disappeared, her whole world came crashing down.

Now, fifteen years later, Caroline receives a phone-call that could change everything.

But could this stranger really be her daughter? And what happened all those years ago to make her vanish without a trace? As Caroline pieces together the events of that ill-fated holiday, she begins to question whether the answers could lie dangerously close to home . . .

Duffy’s Thoughts On She’s Not There

Being an ex-pat Brit, I am sadly all too familiar with the Madeleine McCann case, it never seems to leave the front pages for very long, even after all these years.  There are some clear comparisons to the case mirrored here in She’s Not There, and you get an unsettling feeling as fact and fiction merge. What really happened?

The similarities in the case, however, take a dramatically different turn and Fielding takes you on a journey full of plot twists as she flips between past and present, filling the fifteen years since Caroline Shipley’s daughter went missing.

She’s Not There is told from Caroline’s point of view, and at times I found that the side characters of mother Mary and elder daughter Michelle were quite repetitive in their conversation. It would have added some depth to the story if the reader understood why Mary was like she was, why Michelle felt like she did, and Lilli, what was really going on in her head? I would have loved to have read a couple of chapters from their point of view.

As the plot unfolded, suspects popped up on my radar and as soon as I thought I had the answers, I realised I didn’t at all! I did have an inkling about one of the characters and dismissed it, only to be caught out in the reveal! The twist at the end did surprise me but found it all a little too contrived overall and it just didn’t satisfy me entirely as a veteran suspense reader. I did, however, read the book in one sitting. It kept me interested enough to charge through it, and maybe because it wasn’t such a ‘heavy’ read, I didn’t get too bogged down in the pages.

I’m intrigued to read more Joy Fielding.

3 out of 5 from me

Thanks to Allen&Unwin for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Buy from all good bookstores RRP $19.99

she's not there by joy fielding