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Gone by Glenna Thomson is a riveting fictional crime thriller with family drama and grief. It is set in rural Australia, where the mystery and suspense keep you guessing to the very end.

Eliza is 14, and her sister Rebecca is 17. They used to be close, but that changed once Rebecca considered herself grown up.

On the last day of school in 1984, the bell rang 90 minutes early, leaving them a long wait for the school bus. The sisters and their friends went to the showgrounds to wait, and Eliza watched Rebecca peacefully sit in the shade of a tree reading a book.

A car arrives in a cloud of dust. It is their mother, Diane Bundy. Diane angrily confronts Rebecca accusing her of stealing money from her purse. The fight between mother and daughter is nasty and witnessed by their school friends. Rebecca refuses to get in the car.

Both girls are embarrassed and humiliated by their mother’s behaviour.

Eliza’s last view of her sister, was Rebecca hurrying away through the shadows of the Morten Bay fig trees and vanishing behind the toilet block to go back to school and catch the bus home. However, Rebecca didn’t come home, she was gone.

The police didn’t take the missing person’s report too seriously. After all, teenagers and parents have rows, and she would come home when she had calmed down.

But, Rebecca didn’t come home!

Did she simply run away or has she met foul play? Rumours surface and there is no shortage of suspects. Eliza is not sure she knew her sister at all. The main suspect is Rebecca’s boyfriend, but he insists he is innocent and says someone must know something. He was right, someone did.

It was 38 years before Eliza knew what had happened and who was responsible.

The emotional trauma for Eliza and the family is devastating. Her parents are living in the past, while Eliza is willing them to live in the present and take notice of her.

The writing style is descriptive and so easy to read, it draws you in and you are right there with Eliza.

Eliza narrates the story, sharing every thought and emotion. She is such a powerful character.

The suspense of Rebecca’s fate plus Eliza’s own journey keeps you turning every page to get to the climactic end.

Gone is one of the best books I have read in a while. I was right there with Eliza and her parents hanging on to every emotion they shared and desperately wanting to know what happened to Rebecca.

Excellent read, definitely 5 stars.

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A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club members are reading Gone by Glenna Thomson. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

8 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Gone

  1. Thank you for Gone by Glenna Thomson.

    This was an atmospheric book as told by the sister of Rebecca who went missing. Eliza witnessed her sister run away after an embarrassing fight her mother started in front of friends, and she was never seen again. Rumours started swirling involving a local teacher, her boyfriend who was a bit rough around the edges, a local Dad where she babysat. Then a tragedy occurred near town and Rebecca’s case was put on the backburner. After time had passed it became a cold case and affects all the family in different and long lasting ways. Eliza’s parents never seem to recover and Eliza just wants to get away like she imagines her sister did. This is Eliza’s side of the story and it is interesting to see how this impacts her life and there are some twists and turns to keep it all interesting. The community has an interesting dynamic in relation to the case as well, and perception is intriguing.

    This book is different to other mysteries I have read in style and content. It did keep me interested all the way through to see if there were any answers to go with the many questions. I love that it was set mainly in Australia, making it all the more relatable. A book that really got me thinking, and went a fair way through lives, therefore bringing older parents and changes in town residents into play. Highly recommend.

  2. Thank you for allowing me to read Gone by Glenna Thomson.
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish. It certainly kept me wanting more and trying to solve the mystery.
    I felt sorry for Eliza who felt she was “in the way” when her sister vanished. It was a hard time for her too.
    The ending was very different than I expected.

  3. Oh wow! This was an amazing story and it had me totally enthralled from beginning to end. I had to know the outcome.

    Wonderfully written, with detailed accounts from the fourteen year old thoughts and happenings thru to her 40 year old self.

    Highly recommend!

  4. Gone
    Eliza Bundy is 14 and her 17 year old sister Rebecca has disappeared from their small country town of Maryhill in rural Victoria. It is the last day of school and a week before Christmas. Rebecca has yet another fight with her mother and is never seen again. Eliza tells her story – how her sister’s disappearance affects everything about her growing up, her relationship with her family and her future life. This is a riveting read and is hard to put down as you can’t help but become invested in the life of Eliza and that of her family. A missing teenager with a history of running away and mixing with what her parent’s call the ‘wrong people’ is a heart wrenching event for everyone that knows her. There are the what ifs, the maybes and the where or what has happened to Rebecca. Grief, lies, betrayal, secrets, family bonds and small town gossip and rumours. Forty years go by and Eliza is still haunted by the event and still looking for answers.
    A captivating read!

  5. After a violent argument with her mother teenage,Rebecca is missing. There are a considerable number of suspects; even though the police are unwilling to investigate thoroughly due to another unforeseen tragedy that occurred in the same time frame. Was it the teenage boyfriend disliked by her parents?
    Or the father of the local family she often did babysitting for? Maybe it was the local school teacher with a reputation! Or the employed farm hand of her fathers or perhaps the devious man that was seen loitering at the showground around the time she vanished.

    These characters are all interwoven in the story as told by Rebecca’s younger sister Eliza and how she manage to endure the nightmare of such an emotional situation for almost 40 years.
    The novel is written beautifully and flows from one character to another and describes the years of Eliza’s tortured life.
    It reads as a powerful movie! One that eventually, I’m sure will be made, as it has all the essence of a box-office hit.
    A powerful twist at the end provides an element of surprise; a couple of parents that illicit sympathy and disgust in equal measure, a tortured protagonist!
    The answers lie in the inner circle!
    Wow, just Wow! Glenna Thomson I devoured every page and found it very difficult to put down!

  6. Thank you Beauty and Lace for the offer to review Gone by Glenna Thomson.

    It is 1984 when 17 year old Rebecca has a big fight with her Mum and is humiliated as it is in front of Rebecca’s friends. Rebecca’s sister Eliza who is 14 years old has seen the fight and seen Rebecca run away from it. The story is told from Eliza’s point of view. They live in Maryhill a rural small town in Victoria. Being a small town the rumour mill starts when Rebecca goes missing. The police at the beginning do not take it seriously that Rebecca is missing since she has run away from home before. She is also known to not have good friends that she hangs around.

    While Rebecca’s case is still active the Police put it aside when another tragedy happens. It unfortunately becomes a cold case. It is from Eliza’s point of view that we read and it shows how it has affected the whole family. It is close to forty years later that Eliza finds out what happened.

    I loved the ending even though it wasn’t what I expected. It is very well written and I enjoyed it very much. I always love reading a book set in Australia.

  7. If I could leave a book review and sum it up in one word it would be – WOW! Gone by Glenna Thomson is one of my standout reads for this year.
    A gripping crime novel set in Australia we are introduced to Eliza aged 14 learn that Eliza’s sister Rebecca (then aged 17) would go missing after a massive argument (witnessed by Eliza) between Rebecca and her mother. On Friday December 20, 1984, Rebecca is last seen at the Gyle showgrounds and is rumoured to have travelled to QLD. Early into the investigation Rebeccas disappearance would soon be overshadowed by the shocking murder suicide of the Healy family who live nearby. Rebeccas disappearance soon becomes a cold case and as far as the media is concerned it is now just another story. Rebeccas absence had a profound effect on Eliza no matter what stage of her life. 40 years later we are hit with the truth – a very shocking truth.
    Thanks to Beauty and Lace book club and Penguin books for my copy of Gone.

  8. ‘Gone’ is the story of missing 17 year old Rebecca, who hasn’t been seen since a nasty argument with her mother on the last day of school in 1984. It’s told in the perspective of younger sister Eliza, aged 14.

    Eliza struggles with the drastic changes in her family dynamics following Rebecca’s disappearance and over the years, many theories and many suspects remain.

    Decades go past & the mystery deepens, with Eliza still left none the wiser about Rebecca’s disappearance.

    I was on edge reading this book & was left guessing right up until the very end if we would ever find out what happened to Rebecca. I am assuming the author has spent time with families of missing people as the emotions, anguish and unrest mirrors that of the real life stories told in the true crime book ‘Vanished’ I read for Book club last year.

    Brilliant writing, such an emotive book & a gripping mystery, highly recommended!

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