Thursday 25 July 2013


Book review: The Disappearance of Emily Marr by Louise Candlish

My edition: Paperback, to be published on 1 August 2013 by Sphere, 411 pages.

Description: Arriving on the windswept Ile de Ré off the coast of France, Tabby Dewhurst is heartbroken and penniless, unable even to afford a room for the night. Then she overhears a villager repeating aloud the access code to her front door and, hardly believing her own actions, Tabby waits for the villager to leave and lets herself into the house . . .

And so she enters the strange, hidden world of Emmie, whose sudden offer of friendship is at odds with her obsession with her own privacy. Soon Tabby begins to form suspicions about Emmie, suspicions that will lead her back to England - and to a scandal with shattering consequences.


The Disappearance of Emily Marr is a beautiful, sad, intriguing and exciting read all at once. The storyline is immensely gripping so that from the very start I found it difficult to put the book down (when I needed to go to work for instance, or you know... sleep), a feeling which only increased with every new page I devoured.

After her travelling and life partner abandons Tabby in India she sets out on her own. The only thing she requires from the foreign locations she visits is that they are not England. She's been cut off from her former life for months now and rarely having any contact with those back home suits her just fine. But as her savings dwindle down and she is unable to support herself it becomes harder and harder to find somewhere to spend the night. From shabby hostels she goes to a one-night stand and eventually ends up in Ile de Ré, a tourist destination for the wealthy located off the coast of France.

While searching for a safe location to spend the night she overhears an Englishwoman, Emmie, speaking out loud when entering the password into a cottage's alarm system as she leaves. In a moment of moral compromise Tabby enters the code to gain access to the property and inside she finds a very welcome bed to rest her tired body. But while Tabby assumes that the other woman would be gone long enough for her to have a restful night, Emmie actually returns the same day to find Tabby asleep in the spare room. Instead of kicking Tabby out of her home, as she has every right to do, Emmie decides to let the younger woman explain herself. After hearing the story she feels sorry for the way Tabby has been left stranded in a foreign country by the love of her life and it sparks the feeling that she has found a kindred spirit, so Emmie decides to help this random stranger by offering her a cheap room to stay in and putting her in touch with her own boss in the hopes of finding her new roommate employment.

The Disappearance of Emily Marr is a heartbreaking story of two women who have both had a lot to deal with in their lives. Most of the unfortunate events leading them to where they are now were beyond their control, and it's surprising they turned out quite as well as they have. Sure, Emmie is wary of other people and likes to keep to herself and Tabby is perhaps a little too hung up on her ex Paul, who she sees as the most important person in her life, but both of them have good reasons for acting the way they do and they are still functioning reasonably well despite all this. While reading I felt sorrow for their individual melancholic pasts, intrigued by the secretive details yet to be unveiled and hopeful of their recovery, as their growing friendship provides a much needed positive change in both their lives.

And then author Louise Candlish drops a bombshell onto her unsuspecting readers. I will not spoil what happens but let's just say that it completely turns around the 300+ pages that have come before and I exclaimed "WHAT?!?" out loud in a public place when I got to this point. This sudden change in the storyline is what elevates an already solid 4 star novel into a brilliantly put together 5 star book.

It doesn't happen often nowadays that a story manages to take me completely by surprise several hundred pages in, but this one did. So take my humble advice and order your copy now, I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed if you decide to pick up this fantastic read.

You can pre-order The Disappearance of Emily Marr from,, Waterstones or your own preferred retailer.

Would you like to know more about author Louise Candlish? You can connect with her online at:



Twitter: @louise_candlish

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