‘Hello? Police? My husband and our children… they’re gone.’
When Mel arrives at the holiday cottage in the Lake District, she expects to find the heating on and her husband Luke and the two children waiting for her. Maybe a bottle of wine open…
Instead, there is just a note on the side, saying they’ve gone out for a walk.
But they aren’t back several hours later, and Mel knows something is wrong. Really wrong. When a search doesn’t find them, she has to confess to the police that her marriage isn’t all that it seems.
Even if that risks her own secrets being revealed…
Love You Gone by Rona Halsall Review
How Far Would You Go to Protect the Ones You Love?
I love a good psychological thriller, especially one in which I can relate to the main character, so Rona Halsall’s latest book appealed to me. The story is about a woman who discovers that her husband and children have disappeared.
When I was ten, two boys from my school went to a football match with their father. They never came home. All three of them perished in a fire at the football ground. Thirty years later, I still think of their mother saying goodbye to them that day, not knowing that it would be the last time she saw them.
As a mother myself now, just thinking about losing my husband and children gives me chills so I felt immediate empathy with Mel, the mother in “Love You Gone”.
However, as with any good psychological thriller, things are not always what they seem. Just when you think you have it all figured out, Rona Halsall throws you another curveball.
In the opening chapter, we meet Luke, Mel’s husband. He’s made a life-changing decision which he believes is for the good of his children but how will it end?
Chapter one had my mind buzzing with questions. Why were they in the car? Where were they going? Who was Callum afraid of? How did he get hurt? What was the difficult thing that Luke was planning to do? I was well and truly hooked.
My grandmother used to say “you never know what goes on behind closed doors” and the idea that people behave differently at home than in public has always fascinated me.
When reporters interview the neighbours of murderers, rapists and terrorists, they often express disbelief and describe them as “such a nice, quiet man”. When a man shoots his wife and children before turning the gun on himself, people who knew them say “but they were such a happy, normal family”. And nowhere is the public / private face more prevalent than in the world of domestic violence.
“Love You Gone” looks at domestic violence from a different perspective and forces you to face some uncomfortable questions.
How far would you go to keep your children safe? Would you break the law to protect your family? By the end of the book, I was questioning many of my own assumptions and values.
Overall, this is an enjoyable read. It’s thought-provoking and emotional. I did find the first part a bit sluggish but boy did it pick up the pace. I was thinking about the ending and the moral questions it threw open long after I had finished the book.