Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Bookworm’s Fantasy! I hope you’re all doing well. Today I’m posting my review of Lisa Hall’s compelling psychological thriller, ‘Have You Seen Her’. I’ve read some of Hall’s other novels and really enjoyed them – and this one was no exception! Keep reading to discover my thoughts…
Bonfire Night. A missing girl.
Anna only takes her eyes off Laurel for a second. She thought Laurel was following her mum through the crowds. But in a heartbeat, Laurel is gone.
Laurel’s parents are frantic. As is Anna, their nanny. But as the hours pass, and Laurel isn’t found, suspicion grows.
Someone knows what happened to Laurel. And they’re not telling.
** TRIGGER WARNING ** Explores the theme of child abduction in great detail. The theme of grief and loss is also explored throughout the novel. Includes references to infidelity and details scenes of a sexual nature. The theme of abuse is portrayed throughout the novel, including emotional and physical violence.
‘Have You Seen Her’ (2019) is Lisa Hall’s fourth novel, following on from ‘Between You And Me’ (April 2016), ‘Tell Me No Lies’ (October 2016) and ‘The Party (July 2018). Her latest novel, ‘The Perfect Couple’, was released on 22nd June 2020. Lisa has always dreamed of being a writer, and now lives with her family in a small village in Kent.
The novel has received positive praise, from the likes of Woman’s Own: “A classic twisting mystery from [the] queen of suspense” and Read and Rated: “This WILL be a bestseller, it is utterly unputdownable”. Many fellow authors have also enjoyed the novel, such as Alice Feeney: “Brilliantly plotted … a gripping read”, Phoebe Morgan: “A tense, believable nightmare that you won’t be able to put down”, Vicky Newham: “Twisty, giddy and brilliant” and Roz Watkins: “A breathlessly tense and unsettling page-turner”.
‘Have You Seen Her’ follows the lives of Laurel’s family and her nanny Anna, as they struggle to deal with the fact that Laurel is missing. As the search for Laurel continues, it soon becomes clear that somebody is hiding something – will they discover the truth about Laurel’s disappearance before it’s too late?
The story is told from the first-person perspective of Anna, Laurel’s Nanny. The reader is given a in-depth insight to her thoughts, feelings and emotions, as she struggles to cope with Laurel’s disappearance and attempts to uncover the truth. The narrative is told in the present tense throughout, with some allusions to the past. Overall, the narrative is really easy to follow, yet still very effective.
My favourite character in the novel is Anna. Anna is absolutely devastated when Laurel goes missing, and she finds it hard to deal with her emotions. She was Laurel’s primary caregiver and probably spent the most time with her out of everyone. As Anna gets more involved in her quest to discover the truth, it soon becomes clear that Anna is hiding something too. She must work hard to conceal her own secrets, which are lurking just beneath the surface. Anna is a very realistic, three-dimensional character, and I felt a great deal of sympathy towards her throughout the novel. She is an extremely well-written character.
Fran, Laurel’s mother, is a complex character. She’s always busy at work, and arguably doesn’t spend as much time with her child as she should. On the surface, her relationship with Anna seems positive – but when you dig a little deeper, there is a great deal of tension between the two. When Laurel goes missing, Fran is very upset and becomes extremely frantic, and she initially blames Anna for not looking after her child properly. But it soon becomes clear that Fran has a dark side, and she isn’t necessarily the mother that she makes out to be. Fran is another very well-written character.
** TRIGGER WARNING ** (I apologise for any spoilers here.) The novel explores the theme of child abduction and kidnapping in great detail, including all the grizzly details involved in the search to find her. The theme of grief and loss is also explored throughout the novel, as the characters struggle to deal with the absence of Laurel. The novel includes references to infidelity and details multiple scenes of a sexual nature. Finally, the theme of abuse is also portrayed throughout the novel, including both emotional and physical violence. All of these issues are explored with appropriate sensitivity – but if you feel that they may be triggering for you, I suggest you skip this book.
As the narrative motors onwards and the search for Laurel continues, many surprises are uncovered. The case becomes more and more complex, and it becomes unclear as to whether we will ever find out the truth about what happened to Laurel. Anna must work hard to conceal her own secrets and battle her internal demons – will they ever discover what really happened to Laurel, and to Anna?
So, let’s talk about the ending. There’s a dramatic end scene in which the truth about Laurel is finally revealed. The ending was really shocking, and I certainly never saw that coming! And then just when you think you know how the book is going to end, the author throws in yet another curveball and events take a different direction. I was utterly hooked throughout the ending, and my eyes were glued to the page. I really enjoyed the ending, and felt that it tied everything together brilliantly.
Overall, I highly recommend this book to those of you who enjoy psychological thrillers, particularly if you like reading books about missing people. This book has a compelling plot, fantastically-written characters, and plenty of suspense and mystery throughout – with a few twists and turns thrown in too. For me, the book lacked the “wow” factor and so I am unable to award it 5 stars – however, it’s still an excellent read that I would highly recommend!
Sound good? Click here to purchase the book.
Happy reading 🙂