She's Not There by Joy Fielding
It was barely eight A.M. and the phone was already ringing. Caroline could make out the distinctive three-ring chime that signaled a long-distance call even with the bathroom door closed and the shower running. She chose to ignore it, deciding it was probably a telemarketer or the press. Either alternative was odious, but given a choice between the two, Caroline would have opted for the telemarketer. Telemarketers were only after your money. The press wanted your blood.
Even after all this time.
Fifteen years tomorrow.
Joy Fielding is an author that has been around for quite a long time, though I think this is the first one of her books that I've read. I've certainly seen others around. She's Not There tells the story of a family that suffers a loss when one of their young daughters goes missing while they were on an anniversary trip to Mexico. A search is made and an investigation, but no leads are found and eventually life goes back to whatever 'normal' will look like for the next 15 years. And then the mother gets a call from a young woman who suspects that she might be the missing daughter.
I enjoyed the story, though it was fairly predictable. The action was swift and moved right along. There were characters that one could like and characters that one could really, really dislike (like the grandmother of the missing child - what a witch!). I was satisfied with the ending and was pleased that some of the characters grew a bit and changed before the story came to a close. Would I read another book by the author? Yes, I think I would. Have you read any books by Joy Fielding that I should pick up? Let me know.
“I think my real name is Samantha. I think I’m your daughter.”
Caroline Shipley’s heart nearly stops when she hears those words from the voice on the other end of the phone. Instantly, she’s thrust fifteen years into the past, to a posh resort in Baja, Mexico—and the fateful night her world collapsed.
The trip is supposed to be a celebration. Caroline’s husband, Hunter, convinces her to leave their two young daughters, Michelle and Samantha, alone in their hotel suite while the couple enjoys an anniversary dinner in the restaurant downstairs. But returning afterward, Caroline and Hunter make a horrifying discovery: Two-year-old Samantha has vanished without a trace.
What follows are days, weeks, and years of anguish for Caroline. She’s tormented by media attention that has branded her a cold, incompetent mother, while she struggles to save her marriage. Caroline also has to deal with the demands of her needy elder daughter, Michelle, who is driven to cope in dangerous ways. Through it all, Caroline desperately clings to the hope that Samantha will someday be found—only to be stung again and again by cruel reality.
Plunged back into the still-raw heartbreak of her daughter’s disappearance, and the suspicions and inconsistencies surrounding a case long gone cold, Caroline doesn’t know whom or what to believe. The only thing she can be sure of is that someone is fiercely determined to hide the truth of what happened to Samantha.