Elizabeth is Missing by @ECHealey


Published: June 2014
Publisher: Penguin
Format: ebook (ARC)

Elizabeth is missing was provided by the publisher in return for an honest review

How do you solve a mystery when you can't remember the clues? Elizabeth is missing, yet no one will listen to her. Why?

This is a story of loss on many levels. Loss of self, loss of family and loss of friends.

Maud is an elderly woman in her eighties who suffers from Alzheimers. One minute she may remember why she out in the garden and in the next moment wonder why she is out digging in the soil. It was just so utterly sad to see her go through this. It really pulls on the heart strings.

The story is told in both the past and the present. In the present Maud is desperately looking for Elizabeth. She keeps notes in her pocket to remind herself that she is missing. She becomes increasingly frustrated as it seems that no one actually believes her. She makes several visits to Elizabeth's house. She's not there either and her son is no help at all. At this point as a reader I found myself sympathizing with Maud. I couldn't understand why her family were not listening to her. Why were they just fobbing off her concerns.

There were times I found myself really angry with her daughter. She would get angry and roll her eyes if Maud asked the same question more the once. I understand how hard it would be to look after a family member suffering from Alzheimers but for god's sake she's your mother. She gave birth to you and raised you! If she gets confused then help her. If she asks you a question more than once just answer it like it's the first time she has asked it! At times Maud seems to be nothing more than a burden to her.

However the tension and curiosity regarding Elizabeth really drove me to keep reading this during every free moment I had.

We are also taken back to the past. To just after the second world war. We learn about Maud's relationship with her sister Sukey and Sukeys rollercoaster relationships with some of the local men.  Mauds  preoccupation with loss begins to make sense as we learn that Sukey also disappeared  without a trace. 

Past and present become muddled as she finds remnants of her old life. Who exactly is missing? Elizabeth? Sukey? Why can she not remember and why will no one listen?

The threads of past and present slowly come together in a very satisfying ending. It's hard to believe that this is debut novel. The skill in the writing and composition would normally be associated with more experienced writers. 

She may not have handled the topic of Mental Health as well as Lisa Genova did in  Still Alice  but non the less it was a very engaging and worthy read.



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  1. I loved this one, too, and became so frustrated with the daughter and how she dismissed her mother as if she were a burden. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    1. I'm glad someone else had that opinion!

  2. For some reason the whole premise of this book scares me and I've avoided it so far. I think from your review the daughter would irate me too but I'm glad you enjoyed it otherwise.


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