Wednesday 17 December 2014


Book review: The Day We Disappeared by Lucy Robinson

My edition: paperback (proof), to be published on 9 April 2015 by Penguin, 434 pages.

Annie has a secret. But if she's not going to tell, we won't either. It's a heart-breaking secret she wishes she didn't have - yet Annie isn't broken, not quite yet. Especially now there's someone out there who seems determined to fix her.

Kate has run away. But she's not going to tell us why - that would defeat the point of running, wouldn't it? It's proving difficult to reinvent herself, however, with one person always on her mind.

Scratch beneath the surface and nobody is really who they seem. Even Annie and Kate, two old friends, aren't entirely sure who they are any more. Perhaps you can work it out, before their pasts catch up with them for good...


I've read a lot of novels in 2014, but out of the 100+ titles I have spent many hours devouring the pages of there are only a handful I found truly exceptional and I still find myself thinking back on and recommending extensively to friends (and strangers). One of those is the incredible The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me by Lucy Robinson and so when I have the opportunity to pick up a proof of her new novel The Day We Disappeared, not out until April 2015, at the Penguin Annual Women's Fiction Evening a few weeks ago I was absolutely thrilled – there may have been some squealing when I spotted the neon pink cover of the proof pop out of the piles of books on display.

Having high expectations of a novel before having even read a single page is always risky as I could set myself up for disappointment rather than enjoyment, but I needn't have worried as Lucy Robinson has done it again and delivered a beautiful, clever, moving, thoughtful and, most of all, powerful book, which I once again will be rambling on and on about to friends, and strangers on the train.

The novel centers on two friends; Kate Brady and Annie Mulholland. While Kate suffers from severe stress at her high-flying job at Google in Dublin and decides to take a much-needed break by working on a equestrian farm in the countryside, Annie's professional and romantic life is finally moving forward as she's hired by a big corporation and she falls in love with her generous and supportive new boss, Stephen Flint.

Even though Kate has little experience of working on an equestrian yard, with her off-the-charts confidence and loud Irish attitude she charms her fellow grooms and even manages to de-ice her new boss, Olympian Mark Waverley, somewhat. Annie, on the other hand, comes out of her shell as she gets romantically close to someone of the opposite sex for what feels like the first time in her life. Midway through the novel the lives of both friends seem to be grand but that's when everything starts to go very, very wrong.

This is not the first time I've read a book which in alternating chapters tells the story of two people while slowly moving together and intertwining their interactions to create a single entity, but Lucy Robinson is so very clever. I know she is and I didn't expect to be reading a straightforward romance, so I do admit that I read between the lines for the entirety of the novel while trying to guess what was really going on with Annie and Kate. But it wasn't until very near the actual revelation that it finally hit me. And it was good. So good. It was unexpected, heartbreaking and thought-provoking all at once.

The excellent, completely compelling story aside, I am absolutely in love with Lucy Robinson's witty writing. The way Kate always talks about the Bad Shit (caps are hers, not mine) and Annie's group of friends are nicknamed Le Cloob (which is French(ish) for The Club), make that the novel is not only genuinely good but also a lot of fun to read. And her characters are so loveable (Joe, Becca, Tim and Ana Lucia I am looking at you), it's heartwarming to be reading about such kind and hilarious characters, I just wanted to be friends with them all myself.

And the story is incredibly powerful, just wow. I cannot reveal why as that would be spoilerific, but just trust me when I say that The Day We Disappeared will make you think as a reader long after turning the final page. It touches upon some subjects not often explored in women's fiction, though they should – especially in the beautiful, sensitive way they've been handled in this book.

Lucy Robinson is one of the most brilliant women's fiction writers right now and each one of her novels (at least the ones I've read so far, I still need to pick up her debut The Greatest Love Story of All Time) is vastly different from the others, and so as a reader – and fan – you never know what to expect from her next and that makes it a very exciting journey indeed.

You can pre-order the novel from Waterstones, or your own preferred retailer.

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



Twitter: @Lucy_Robinson

Many thanks to the publisher for an advance copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

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