printed copy

And Then She Was Gone

Rosalind Noonan

ISBN 9780758274991
Publish Date 12/31/2013
Format Trade Paperback
Categories Kensington, Thriller/Suspense, Psychological, Fiction, Fiction

Eleven-year-old Lauren O'Neil vanished one sunny afternoon as she walked home from school. Six years later, her parents Rachel and Dan still tirelessly scour their Oregon hometown and beyond, always believing Lauren will be found. Then one day, the call comes.

Lauren has been rescued from a secluded farm mere miles away, and her abductor has confessed. Yet her return is nothing like Rachel imagined. Though the revelations about what Lauren endured are shocking, most heartbreaking of all is to see the bright-eyed, assertive daughter she knew transformed into a wary, polite stranger.

Lauren's first instinct is to flee. For years she's been told her parents forgot her; now she doubts the pieces of her life can ever fit together again. But Rachel refuses to lose her a second time. Little by little they must relearn what it means to be a family, trusting that their bond is strong enough to guide them back to each other.

Intensely moving and absorbing, this is an extraordinary story told with sensitivity and grace, and filled with the depth and breadth of a mother's love.

Praise for Rosalind Noonan

"Noonan has a knack for page-turners and doesn't disappoint." --Publishers Weekly on All She Ever Wanted

"The author once again takes on an emotional topic with great sensitivity." --Booklist on The Daughter She Used to Be

"Reminiscent of Jodi Picoult's kind of tale. . .it's a keeper!" --New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jackson on One September Morning

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Although stranger abduction is one of a parent’s worst nightmares, most abducted children are kidnapped by their own parents or relatives. Are there ways that society might safeguard children from people like Kevin Hawkins? Discuss the balance between warning children of “stranger danger” and allowing them a modicum of trust toward their community.

2. Do you think Rachel’s decision to let Lauren walk home from school was irresponsible? Have you ever made a “responsible” choice that you regretted later?

3. Kidnapped at age eleven, Lauren was held captive in semi-isolation for six years. Discuss the important stages of development she “missed” during that time. What lifedefining moments do you remember from your teenage years?

4. While in captivity, Lauren nurtured an idealized view of family life by watching videotapes of old television sitcoms. What is the downside of looking for relationship truths in shows like Full House and Seventh Heaven? What positive values might these shows teach a child?

5. In the later years of her captivity, Lauren was not handcuffed or locked inside by Kevin Hawkins. What kept her from fleeing the compound?

6. Rachel believed that the terrible ordeal would be over once her daughter was found. Instead, the young woman who was rescued did not want to return to her family. What expectations should society have toward recovered captives? Should women of legal age be pressured to return to their families of origin? Why or why not?

7. When Lauren tries to re-assimilate with her family, her mother is the one person she finds it hard to bond with. “I know Mom can be a pain in the ass,” Sierra tells Lauren, “but she does mean well. She loves you a lot.” Although Lauren knows this is true, the feelings of resentment and betrayal prevail. Why does Lauren feel so much anger toward her mother? Do you think Rachel’s personality makes their breach worse, or does it help them mend their relationship?

8. In therapy, Lauren learns about finding balance in life. “Male and female, darkness and light, cold and hot, evil and good. At first she had told Wynonna that she wanted to be only yang, the sunny side of the slope. But Wynonna pointed out that the sun always moves across the slope, obscuring what was revealed and revealing what was hidden.” Discuss the interplay between yin and yang. Do you agree with Wynonna’s assertion that “We appreciate the sunlight more when we’ve been living in darkness”?

9. In the past, conventional therapy has not worked for Dan, who “was not an advocate of wasting time on a shrink’s couch. Too invasive, too touchy-feely, and way too expensive.” What elements of Wynonna’s program appealed to him? How could conventional psychotherapy be adapted to better suit clients?

10. The use of horses as a therapeutic aid dates back to ancient Greece. This therapy developed Lauren’s cognitive skills as well as establishing a relationship of trust between horse and rider. From playing ball with a horse to teaching it how to deal with fear, what was the most interesting aspect of this therapy for you?

11. What do you think Lauren will be doing five years after the story ends? What sort of career/future do you envision for Sierra?

12. If you were producing And Then She Was Gone as a movie, who would you cast as Lauren? What actress has the nurturing quality and hard drive of Rachel? Who do you see as Dan? Sometimes attractive villains are the most devastating. Who would you cast as Kevin Hawkins?

About Rosalind Noonan:

Rosalind Noonan is the New York Times bestselling author of highly acclaimed women’s fiction and domestic suspense novels, including And Then She Was Gone, In A Heartbeat and Pretty, Nasty, Lovely. She is a co-author of the bestselling collaborative novels Sinister and Ominous with Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush, and she also writes crime novels under the name R. J. Noonan. Rosalind Noonan lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she writes in the shade of some towering two-hundred-year-old Douglas fir trees. Please visit her online at RosalindNoonanBooks.com.

Photo Credit: Sondra Myers


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