Format: Paperback, ARC
Links: Goodreads | Amazon UK
Blurb: When Anna Flores’ adored older sister goes missing as a teenager, Anna copes by disappearing too, just as soon as she can: running as far away from her family as possible, and eventually building a life for herself abroad.
Thirty years later, the death of her mother finally forces Anna to return home. Tasked with sorting through her mother’s possessions, she begins to confront not just her mother’s death, but also the huge hole Gabriella’s disappearance left in her life – and finds herself asking a question she’s not allowed herself to ask for years: what really happened to her sister?
The Missing Girl by Jenny Quintana is out now, published by Mantle in hardback and priced at £14.99.
Review: I’m thrilled to be taking part in The Missing Girl blog tour today. I received a copy of this book a while before the tour so figured I’d kill two birds with one stone by reading it and taking part in the tour. So here we are. The Missing Girl is about Anna, who’s sister, Gabriella, goes missing when she’s young. Naturally, her sisters disappearance tore her family up, led to deep family secrets being unearthed and discovered and a police investigation which led nowhere.
But after Anna’s mother’s death, Anna is back in her hometown and her sisters disappearance is brought to the forefront of her mind again. It was never solved, Gabriella was never found and neither was the body. Amongst her Mother’s funeral arrangements, unusual house clearances for old neighbours and tying up lose ends before moving back to Athens where she started her life over, Anna is pulled into her sister’s disappearance once again but this time, she’s determined to find out what happened.
Although I’m all for shock factor in Mystery / Thriller’s, this was a really solid, classic whodunit type Mystery. Arguably not the most shocking or thrilling but I really enjoyed it nonetheless. It filters backwards and forwards between chapters from present day adult Anna and 1982 Anna and the days and months to the lead up to her sister’s disappearance. The swapping between time zones was easily and effortlessly done and I really enjoyed both parts – possible the 1982 chapters slightly more because I enjoyed hearing about what their childhood was like, the characters that formed their town and their family and the stark difference as to what it was like growing up in the 80’s.
I liked Anna a lot – I think we could have got a more rounded view of her as an adult but I really liked younger Anna from the past chapters. I really did come to feel for her, especially when her sister was gone and she took the backseat in everyone else’s lives. I also really liked Gabriella and the “image” of Gabriella. I’m often drawn to characters who have huge personalities but don’t feature in the book that much – which I felt was very much like Gabriella. She was a fascinating person, despite not being featured an awful lot which tends to happen in these “missing person” type books – the person who goes missing tends to be the one who’s full of life.
In terms of writing, it was very easy to read. It wasn’t a hard going book at all and I found myself sailing through the chapters. If you’re into slow-burners, then you’ll really enjoy this. So often we consider a slow burner as a bad thing in a book but I personally felt it worked really well in this because it was all the little details which really made the difference in this story. The tiny things we don’t often think about or notice which can have a dramatic effect on things. In fact, Anna and another character, David, speak briefly about ‘The Butterfly Effect’ in the latter part of the book. However, speaking of David, he seemed like a really lovely character and we didn’t see him much nor the development of his and Anna’s friendship / relationship. I would have liked to have seen a little more of that.
Okay, so to round it off, The Missing Girl is a good’un. It’s old school, vintage and a classic Mystery – it gives nothing away and leaves you completely in the dark. I certainly had absolutely no idea what had happened to Gabriella or who was involved in it. None at all. It tackles topics such as family secrets and the idea that we don’t really know those closest to us. A solid debut from Jenny Quintana. Rating: 4 stars
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About Jenny Quintana: Jenny Quintana grew up in Essex and Berkshire, before studying English Literature in London. She has taught in London, Seville and Athens and has also written books for teaching English as a foreign language. She is a graduate of the Curtis Brown Creative writing course. She now lives with her family in Berkshire. The Missing Girl is her first novel.