She's Not There by Joy Fielding

Setting: Southern California
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Publisher: Zaffre
Release Date: December 14, 2017

It's a romantic Mexican getaway to celebrate 10 years together. Caroline Shipley is thrilled to find friends and family there to celebrate with them. On their last night in Mexico, their hotel babysitter never shows. Rather than disappoint everyone, Caroline and her husband decide to lock the sleeping children in the room and head to dinner downstairs. They'll check on the kids every 30 minutes.

Everything goes smoothly. The kids sleep soundly, and nothing seems to be amiss. When they return to their room at 10 p.m., their two-year-old daughter is missing. Caroline's world shatters.

Fifteen years have passed. Caroline's lived under the shame of being the mom who left her children alone. Most people believe she killed her youngest. She's dodged reporters and angry strangers for years.

One phone call changes her life. A 17-year-old Canadian woman calls to say she thinks she might be Caroline's missing daughter. It could be another scam. Caroline's not sure she has it in her to go through another round of fraud, hatred, and media attention.

Strengths and Weaknesses

The plot of She's Not There is pretty similar to the real disappearance of Madeleine McCann. If you know that story, you'll see similarities. The parents went to dinner leaving the sleeping kids alone. One child disappeared while the other/s slept. The parents returned at 10 p.m. to find their blonde, angelic daughter missing. Many have wondered what happened to Madeleine. This story takes a fictional look at a possibility.

RTR's Bottom Line

I caught on to the truth before the halfway mark. I didn't find it that hard to deduce, but then I do read a lot of mysteries. Because I was pretty sure I'd figured it out, I found myself rushing to reach the end. It's a solid story that definitely put a tear in my eye.


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