A baby goes missing. But does her mother want her back?
When Estelle’s baby daughter is taken from her cot, she doesn’t report her missing. Days later, Estelle is found in a wrecked car, with a wound to her head and no memory.
Estelle knows she holds the key to what happened that night – but what she doesn’t know is whether she was responsible…
*Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
I know what most of you were thinking when they heard this book was out, probably something along the lines ‘Oh, no. Another Gone Girl!’ And you know what, that’s not a bad thing, I was in the same group of people, slightly getting fed up of books compared to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.
But you know how they say never to judge a book by the cover? Well, I guess same way it could be said never to judge a book by the title. So, yes, lately we’ve seen the pattern of insta successful books which by a chance have ‘girl, daughter, husband’ in their title. But hey, a catchy title is important especially for a debut, as it makes the book stand out.
But let me now compare ‘Little Girl Gone’ with some well known besellers written in the last year or so. The few resemblances I’ve seen are: the fact they’re written by a female, their similar titles and the unreliable MCs. These are the only things I find in common.
So how is ‘Little Girl Gone’ different than the rest of the psychological thrillers written lately? I shall get to that too, but let me tell you a few words about the plot first. Estelle’s badly injured and found in a car. She has no recollection of how she ended up on that road and in that car and why she’s injured. Slowly she’s getting her memory back and remembers her baby daughter Mia is missing. However, as we find out later, Estelle didn’t report her daughter missing. Why the hell didn’t she? What kind of mother doesn’t report a missing child? A guilty one? An unreliable one who’s got something with her child’s missing? An addict? You’ll constantly be asking yourself #didshedoit.
Switching from past to present, we get to see who Estelle is, we see her many flaws, the marriage which is everything but happy, the daughter who seems to never stop crying, the constant stress and great turmoil Estelle is experiencing. I’m telling you, there were times that I wanted to hug and hold Estelle in my arms and others when I wanted to give her a good shake.
This is one of the things that makes this book stand out and so good, the fact that despite her numerous flaws I simply couldn’t hate Estelle. Most of the actions she takes to find her daughter seem ridiculous, and seems like she’s leading you to judge her. She’s weak, she’s got tons of problems, however she felt so real to me.
I think Ms Burt did a rather brave thing when she created Estelle. We’re well aware most readers are loving books that have happy endings, or at least book characters they could connect to. But Estelle doesn’t fit the scheme, seems she’s doing everything wrong and risks of being deeply hated and even judged. As a mother, I can see why she’s going bit gaga, and could understand her to a certain point. However, the fact she didn’t rapport Mia missing was what was eating me inside and what I wanted to find out.
Now this is the second thing that fascinated me. Though I was initially drawn to the mystery of the missing child, soon I got so deep in analyzing Estelle’s complex character and her actions. I was trying to get into Estelle’s head and see her reasons for being the way she is. I was looking for the roots of her problems. Hell, at times she even made me suspect the very existence of Mia. Honestly, it all felt like a roller coaster. I felt like someone was playing with my head and I simply couldn’t predict where Ms Burt would take me next.
As you see, I really enjoyed ‘Little Girl Gone’ and even found it a more gripping than ‘Gone Girl’. My tbr pile is massive, but I started reading it the same day it arrived. I read it in a single sitting, in just 4 hours or something like that. In my book, that’s always a good thing. It means the book keeps my interest and turns the pages all by itself.
Though I was fascinated with the pacing and the way Estelle was portrayed, I must say there were some ‘holes’ or unanswered questions which are stopping me from giving ‘Little Girl Gone’ the max star rating. I admit, these holes made me feel confused at times, but still I enjoyed the ride.
‘Little Girl Gone’ is dark, atmospheric and gripping read that definitely deserves to be on your TBR list. A thought provoking read that explores human nature and just what humans are capable of. Definitely recommend to fans of psychological thrillers.
My rating: 8/10
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Where to start… I was born in Fulda, Germany, a baroque town in the East Hesse Highlands. I spent my childhood accompanying my two older brothers on local countryside adventures, roaming abandoned farm houses, ancient beech woods cratered by WW2 bombings, and sandstone towers rumored to have housed witches waiting to be burned at the stakes. A gluttonous reader long before online bookstores, grocery store crime novels, and large book chains cropped up in every city, I made do with a small town library in the city hall building. After I exhausted the children’s section, I moved on to crime fiction and serial killers.
I am the third generation of women in my family who left our home country to seek a life on unfamiliar grounds. I love to tell the story of my late mother and our shared obsession with books. “I remember my mother reading a book, a paperback, and I’d say hurry up, let me borrow it, how much longer? One day, tired of my nagging, she ripped the book in half, handed me the first half and continued to read the second. Neither one of us said a word, but we felt as if we had just discovered whatever it was that made the sun come up every morning. From then on, our shelves were filled with torn books, prompting visitors to wonder if there was some peculiar violent child living in our house, or maybe a dog chewing on book spines. We never told. It was our secret.”
While pursuing literary translations, I decided to tell my own stories. After three years of writing classes and gluttonous reading, my short fiction appeared in the Freedom Fiction Journal, All Things Girl, and MUSED Literary Review. I am a proud member of Sisters In Crime, a nationwide network of women crime writers. I am an outspoken animal rights activist and animal welfare supporter, and a proud vegan. My favorite place is below the vaulted roofs of trees with spongy earth beneath my feet. One day I want to live in a farmhouse and offer old arthritic dogs a comfy couch to live out their lives. I currently live in Central Texas with my husband of twenty years, my daughter, and two Chocolate Labrador Retrievers.
I am currently working on my second novel.