The Disappearance by Katherine Webb


April, 1942. Amid the chaos of a night of bombing in Bath, six-year-old Davy Noyle goes missing. Frances Parry, looking after him at the time, is tortured by guilt and refuses to believe that he’s dead.

As quiet falls and the dust begins to settle on the damaged city, a body is found. But it’s the body of a little girl, Frances’s best friend Wyn, who has been missing for over twenty years.

As Frances continues her search for Davy, this new discovery leads her back to her childhood, and forces her to revisit a crime that has cast a shadow over her life. This time, she vows to uncover the truth, however dark it might be.

My Review

Set on dual timelines the main story takes place in 1942 during the war whilst the other is set in 1918 and follows the lives of two 8 year old best friends, Frances and Wyn.

1918 – Frances and Wyn are inseparable, they do everything together. Whilst out playing the girls hear of an old haunted house that used to house the city’s lepers, and as every young child would, they decide to go and investigate. But it wasn’t ghosts they found, the ghost turned out to be a frightened young foreign man, Johannes who is in hiding. And then something terrible happens. Wyn goes missing.

1942 – Bath has come under attack and bombs are being dropped across the city. As the clear up operation begins the following morning the remains of a young child, long dead is discovered. Wyn’s body.

The finding of Wyn’s body after all these years has brought back memories for Frances. Repressed memories that she wasn’t even aware of until now. As the memories slowly bubble to the surface Frances knows there is something important that she needs to remember if she is ever going to finally find out what happened all those years ago on the day her best friend went missing.

As well as the bomb that unearthed the body of Wyn, on that same night a young 6 year old boy, Davy goes missing, Wyn’s nephew that Frances was babysitting. Wracked with guilt Frances frantically searches the city for Davy as well as searching her mind for her missing memories.

With a host of other characters, Frances family and our introductions to the rest of Wyn’s family it seems as though someone else may know more about Wyn’s disappearance than they are letting on. But who and why?

With a dual mystery, a murder, a missing child, a city being bombed and even some romance this is a multi layered, cleverly plotted book filled with a great cast of characters. Frances character is written so well that you can’t help but to feel for her and become completely invested in her story and the old heart strings get a few tugs along the way!

A heartachingly, provocative page turner of a book and her best work to date.

The Disappearance was published on 16 May 2019 and you can grab a copy now.

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