Rachel Jenner is a recently divorced mom doing her best to get over the fact that her ex-husband is happily remarried. However, when a walk in a Bristol park leads to the disappearance of her son, Ben, everything that plagued her before he was taken seems stupid in comparison to the fear and desperation she is now feeling…and the fear and confusion Ben must now be feeling…if he’s even still alive.
With the police doing everything they can to locate Ben and encouraging Rachel to wait at home for more information, she’s beginning to come undone. And with the media’s insistence on painting her as a bad mother, who can blame her?
As both the family and the police force begin to piece together the intricate tapestry of Ben’s abduction, both Rachel and the department begin to realize that nothing is as it seems, and that you can never truly know someone.
What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan is a roller coaster ride filled with many ups and downs. The beginning (besides the scene where Ben disappears) is very slow going. It was most definitely the most difficult part of the book to get through. However, once the book began to pick up momentum, it didn’t slow down, and I was happy that I stuck with it.
I appreciated the look that Macmillan gives us into Rachel’s psyche, though I thought it could’ve been a bit more fleshed out. With this being told from the perspective of Rachel’s future self, there was an awareness about her actions and reactions that I didn’t particularly care for. I would’ve loved if this book was written in time with Ben’s disappearance.
I think I was most surprised, and drawn in, by the last half of the book. There was finally the twists and turns that I look forward to in a psychological thriller compared to both The Girl on the Train and The Guilty One. With that being said, I think the first half could’ve been cut down dramatically, and the book would’ve both flowed better and kept me entirely intrigued instead of craving to skim passages to get to the next bit of action.
All in all, I was happy that I had finished the book because the ending was surprising (in a good way), and it was obviously well thought out.
Bethany Kelly is currently getting her MFA at Goddard College and has a BA in English. She is a writer, editor, and stay-at-home mother and wife who spends her spare time (when she has some) reading and cooking. Check out her website at www.bckwritingcorner.com.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by William Morrow Paperbacks. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.