I bought this book many months ago after reading so many amazing reviews from other book bloggers. Since then I’ve been sneaking longing looks at it, just waiting for that magical day where both my study calendar and blog schedule would open up long enough to allow me time to sit down, read and enjoy at leisure. My only regret is that I didn’t clear an entire twenty-four hours free of kids and responsibility so that I could have sat and enjoyed in one single sitting!
Beginning in 1985, the chapter headings of Missing Pieces show the date and the number of days ‘after’. Before I’d even read a word I was immediately intrigued, my mind full of questions. I didn’t have long to wait as on the first page it is revealed that Linda and Tom are burying their daughter, Phoebe. That first line of the first chapter is going to go down in my own personal reading history as one of the most simple, yet powerful first lines I’ve ever read. Just five words, and I was instantly sympathising with the characters without having met them and my eyes were stinging with tears.
The aftershocks of grief completely transform the family forever, and the novel very much focuses on the impact of grief and loss on each member of the family. Even when the narrative fast forwards to 2011, where we meet their third daughter, Bea, the ramifications are still being felt and so much is hidden and unresolved. However, as much as Missing Pieces is a tear jerker (and I mean big ugly sobs in my case), I also thought it was incredibly life affirming in many ways and the ending was perfectly pitched. It is a book which will stay with me.
The writing within the novel is just gorgeous. The language is stripped back and raw, fully focused on the emotion, allowing the reader to deeply connect with the characters. I was fully invested in the Sadler family almost instantaneously, and it is rare than an author can make me ‘feel’ quite so quickly. Their eldest daughter, Esme, for me, was the stand out character of the book and her journey is the heart and soul of this novel.
‘Missing Pieces’ is an incredibly beautiful debut novel. Laura writes with huge empathy and love for her characters and this leaps from the page. I am now very much looking forward to reading Laura’s next novel, ‘Nobody’s Wife‘ which will be out in late March.
What if the one thing that kept you together was breaking you apart?
All Linda wants to do is sleep. She won’t look at her husband. She can’t stand her daughter. And she doesn’t want to have this baby. Having this baby means moving on, and she just wants to go back to before. Before their family was torn apart, before the blame was placed.
Alienated by their own guilt and struggling to cope, the Sadler family unravels. They grow up, grow apart, never talking about their terrible secret.
That is until Linda’s daughter finds out she’s pregnant. Before she brings another Sadler into the world, Bea needs to know what happened twenty-five years ago. What did they keep from her? What happened that couldn’t be fixed?
A devastating mistake, a lifetime of consequences. How can you repair something broken if pieces are missing?