Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Hayley always seems to pass on the most fabulous books and this was no exception.

I had not heard of this title (clearly my head had been in the sand) but I was intrigued when I read the blurb on the back. I love a mystery novel, so was more than happy to give this book a go.

From the moment I started this book I was hooked. In my first sitting I read 125 pages; I just could not put the book down (pretty sure I should have been doing something else but clearly that was forgotten). I loved how the novel was structured, the narrative came from a variety of characters, which kept my interest in the novel even more. Jewell smoothly transitions between the viewpoints of different characters, bringing depth to the story.

I always find it difficult to blog about mystery novels as I never want to spoil any part of the plot. The twists and turns in this plot are not always a surprise, but this does not take away from the novel as the story is rich enough.

After having finished this novel, I would be keen to read other titles by Lisa Jewell. This was, after all, the perfect summer mystery read.

Have you discovered any new authors this summer? Any recommendations?

The Power by Naomi Alderman

I picked this up in one of my favourite bookshops ever – it is a little Oxfam Bookshop which always has the most wonderful collection of titles, and you feel like you are doing a little bit of good whenever you donate or purchase from this little establishment.

So, on a very cold November Saturday morning, I popped in and found a bargain unread copy of ‘The Power’ and I could not leave it on the shelf. I had been asked by a few friends if I had read it and I had kept saying no so I thought it was about time I turned that answer to a ‘yes’. I had also spotted that Hayley (Hayley from Home) had picked up a copy, so I felt inspired.

I found the idea of this novel fascinating; from the title to the story, there is so much in this book that I am not sure I can do it justice in a blog post. I am not often stuck for words with a book that I have enjoyed but I feel that this is the sort of book that you need to be able to have a very informed discussion about. So, I am just going to give it my version of a review.

Immediately, I was gripped by the idea of the role-reversal in society and, in fact, what an impact that would have on the world. It is ridiculous to think that women having ‘power’ should be such a dramatic tale as we grow up in the 21st century but, sadly, I think it would be a shock to some of those in the world. In fact, ‘power’ was such a significant word throughout the novel because it took on so many different meanings throughout the book, strength and control being just two of them.

I was fascinated by the way that it addressed the interpretations that people can have of the same information. The religious ideas in the tale suggest that if things had been interpreted differently, would it be a woman that would be found to be central to the beliefs and ideas in the world?

The structure of the tale, looking at how ‘The Power’ impacts a variety of different figures, makes the novel a page-turner, as you are keen to see what awaits each character. I did on occasion find that some of the tale was a little longer and my attention was not always focused, but I was still keen to know what would happen next. I have not read many tales like this one, other than ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ (which I read earlier this year), but I am ready to seek out more tales like this one as I find that they really do make you think and challenge the world that we are in. I enjoy being made to think about the world we live in and question what we know as fact.

Have you read ‘The Power’? How did you find it? Any other books you would recommend along these themes?