Book Review | She’s Not There by Joy Fielding

She's Not There Joy Fielding Crime Fiction One More Page Book Review

[I received a copy of this book from its Canadian publisher Penguin Random House Canada. This does not affect my review of the novel.]

Imagine: your husband surprises you and your two young children with a luxurious vacation in Mexico to celebrate your 10th anniversary. Imagine: on the night of your anniversary dinner, your youngest child, 2, goes missing. Imagine: fifteen years later, after being constantly hounded by the press, a young woman calls you claiming to be your daughter. Imagine getting to watch every detail unfold in Joy Fielding’s latest mystery She’s Not There

Before I started reading this book I had heard other bloggers mentioning that they had read the book in one day. Well, I was in the mood for a quick and engrossing read this weekend, and I gladly fell into the group of readers who couldn’t put this book down until it was finished. I’ve completely embraced crime fiction, my friends!

Joy Fielding does a great job of transporting her readers into the various situations her characters go through in She’s Not There: I held my breath as I read the exchange between Caroline and maybe-Samantha; I felt tense when Caroline and her other daughter, Michelle, couldn’t stop arguing; I traveled alongside the Shipleys as they followed an intriguing lead on a crazy whim… But, it was not just my emotional response to this book that made me love it so much; I was also fascinated by the way Fielding crafted her characters and the way they each handled the same incident differently. I read on a friend’s blog (I forget where at the moment – sorry!! If I am quoting you, can you please leave your link in the comments so I can give you credit?) that crime fiction/thrillers are essentially studies of human choices and how those choices play out as consequences. Reading She’s Not There made me wonder: what would I have done if I were Caroline? How would I have reacted if my child went missing? What would my life look like? In the end, not only did She’s Not There provide a bit of escapism for a day, it also made me look inward and wonder.

Verdict: A really well-paced and well-plotted novel that will lure you in and hold your attention until the very last page. This was my first Fielding book, but I’m excited to read more from her.

Read if: You’ve ever wondered how you would react if a child went missing on your watch, you enjoy fast-paced thrillers, want to see why Joy Fielding is so (rightfully) beloved.

Are you a Joy Fielding fan? What are your favourite mysteries/thrillers?

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7 thoughts on “Book Review | She’s Not There by Joy Fielding

  1. Elusive says:

    Hi Karen,

    I haven’t read this yet but Joy Fielding is one of my favourite authors. I’d recommend ‘Whispers and Lies’, ‘Grand Avenue’, ‘Missing Pieces’ and ‘The Deep End’.

    Regards,
    Elusive

  2. Naomi says:

    Our last book for book club was a crime thriller, which I don’t read a lot of. I found it a page-turner at times, but after it was over it was over. This sounds like one that might stick a little better, but maybe that’s just because it’s about the kidnapping of a young child, which is the kind of thing that’s hard to get out of your head anyway. Is it devastating?

  3. Shan says:

    I feel the same way, that with this book I’ve fully embraced crime fiction. After finishing this book I thought “I need more of this!”

  4. DoingDewey says:

    I love books you can’t put down 🙂 This reminds me a lot of What She Knew, which I really enjoyed and would highly recommend. It seems like a similar mystery, a similar look at different perspectives and the result of choices, and also has a fascinating look at how the media and public respond to crimes.

  5. sydneyeditor1 says:

    Oh wow, I love this! I totally had a preconceived notion of her books unfortunately — this is so cool!

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