Originally published: 20 February 2020
Author: Emily Elgar
Published by: Sphere
Length: 352 pages
Reading dates: 15-17 February 2020
Grace is Gone starts at full throttle and doesn’t let up through the whole story! The book begins as Cara visits her next door neighbours and friends, Meg and Grace to drop off some clothes. Grace is a very sick 17 year old – she has been very poorly for many years with a heart condition and epilepsy and needs constant care and medication. Meg, her mum is beloved by the community in the small town of Ashford in Cornwall and is Grace’s carer, worries endlessly about her and does everything for her. When Cara finds the front door unlocked she knows something is terribly wrong. She finds Meg brutally murdered and Grace missing.
This shocking discovery rocks the community, especially as Grace can not survive for much time without her medication. Surely it is only a matter of time before she turns up dead?
Jon is a disgraced reporter. After interviewing Meg and Grace about Meg’s violent ex husband and then writing a piece that was sympathetic to him, the community targeted Jon online by using photographs of his sick son on Facebook as revenge. Jon ended up attacking Meg’s home and was arrested. Once he hears about the murder and Grace’s disappearance, he feels himself drawn to the case and is once again involved in their lives.
The story is told from the point of view of Cara and Jon. Cara always saw herself in a big sister role to Grace but in recent years, she has been busy with her own life and hasn’t seen Grace as much. She desperately wants to find her alive and along with Jon they start to find clues as to what might of happened. Both feel guilt – Cara because she hasn’t been there for Grace and Jon because he caused hurt and distress for them.
When I was approached to see if I wanted to read this, I was told it was based on the true story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard and was advised not to look into it and I’m glad I didn’t. This was such a good read. I’m not going to say too much more in case I give anything away but I was blown away and utterly shocked by the story, especially as it was inspired by true events. The dual chapters from the point of view of Jon and Cara worked well, both were equally important and brought their own strengths to the story. Each discovery left me gobsmacked. Emily Elgar certainly knows how to tell a story!
A really fantastic read – I can’t wait to speak to some other readers who have read this so I can talk about it!
Many thanks to Millie at Little Brown for sending me a proof copy.
About the author:
Originally from the Cotswolds, Emily Elgar studied at Edinburgh University and then worked for a non-profit organization providing support services to sex workers in the UK. She went on to complete the novel writing course at the Faber Academy in 2014. She currently lives in East Sussex with her husband and young son.