She's Not There by Joy Fielding
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
'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 . . .
I felt I already knew this story before I began as it mirrors the Madeleine McCann story so closely.
A two year old girl is kidnapped from her holiday apartment bedroom one night while her parents are having supper with their friends in the restaurant below. Like the McCann story each parent goes up to check on the children every half hour. Samantha (the child that is taken) is in her cot while her sister who is five (Michelle) is asleep in the same room. The discovery is made by Caroline (the mother) when towards the end of the meal it’s her turn again to check the children. Like the McCann case the Mexican authorities and the locals after the initial shock start to look to blame the parents and after weeks of no real leads and Hunter (the father) having left just a week later Caroline has no choice but to go back home without knowing what has happened to her youngest child. She never gives up hope of finding Samantha and follows up any and all leads no matter how obscure which is why when 15 years later she can’t dismiss it when she receives a phone call from someone who believes she may be her long lost daughter.
The story is told with alternative chapters set between between the past and present. We learn how the marriage disintegrated and that Caroline and Hunter eventually divorce; we get a better insight into the rest of the family history and meet Caroline’s parents, learn more about Michelle, and a little more about Hunter. This all builds nicely as the truth about happened that night 15 years ago starts to come together.
This is well written and made me think perhaps there was more to the McCann story than we know. It highlights the dangers of speculation and how destructive this can be.
I needed to read to the end and did not guess the outcome of what really happened that night. Good suspense building throughout and a thoroughly enjoyable read which deserves four stars.
I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.