Little Girl Gone by Alexandra Burt

Estelle Paradise’s baby daughter Mia has gone missing and she can’t remember anything about it. The book opens with Estelle waking in hospital after an car accident with severe head injuries and no memory of what has happened. Estelle’s amnesia is what makes this such an intriguing book to read. How much of what she slowly recalls can actually be believed?

The story moves back and forth in time to before Mia was born, tells of the seven months she was with Estelle and her husband Jack, reveals Estelle’s memories of what might have happened immediately following Mia’s disappearance and describes the present time with Estelle in a psychiatric facility receiving therapy to try to recover her memories.

As I read I genuinely had no idea what might have happened to Mia. I had a few theories, most of which were disproved as I read on. The cleverly written story and the way information was revealed gradually kept me guessing throughout. Estelle being such an unreliable narrator meant that I really couldn’t tell what was real and what might be her imagination. I was really trying to read between the lines for clues as to what had really happened. I wanted to believe that Estelle hadn’t harmed her child as she clearly loved her but her memories of fractious, colicky Mia and how she struggled to cope made me consider the possibility. I’m sure that many mothers will identify with her feelings of inadequacy with a baby that won’t stop crying and the sheer exhaustion of dealing with a newborn. Estelle and Jack’s marriage was on shaky ground and she obviously had post-natal depression, but receiving little support felt she was a failure as a mother and a wife. Along with Estelle, I began to eye the other characters suspiciously – could any of them have been involved?

I do wish that people would stop making comparisons with successful books and newly published ones. I have seen this compared with Gone Girl – obvious title similarity of course. But really popular books are often very divisive and this could actually put some people off reading. This book was a great psychological thriller in its own right, no need to compare to other books. And #didshedoit as the publicity strapline asks? Well, I’m not saying of course, you’ll just need to read it for yourself and find out!

I would like to thank the publishers Harper Collins, Avon for providing me with a review copy via Netgalley. It will be published on 24th September in paperback and e-book. You can currently pre-order a Kindle edition for only 99p. Click here Little Girl Gone

Book description

A baby goes missing. But does her mother want her back? When Estelle’s baby daughter is taken from her cot, she doesn’t report her missing. Days later, Estelle is found in a wrecked car, with a wound to her head and no memory. Estelle knows she holds the key to what happened that night – but what she doesn’t know is whether she was responsible…

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