I am delighted to be involved in the Blogtour for THE MISSING GIRL by Jenny Quintana. My thanks to the publishers for the advanced copy.
Book Blurb: When Anna Flores’ adored older sister goes missing as a teenager, Anna copes by disappearing too, just as soon as she can: running as far away from her family as possible, and eventually building a life for herself abroad.
Thirty years later, the death of her mother finally forces Anna to return home. Tasked with sorting through her mother’s possessions, she begins to confront not just her mother’s death, but also the huge hole Gabriella’s disappearance left in her life – and finds herself asking a question she’s not allowed herself to ask for years: what really happened to her sister?
With that question comes the revelation that her biggest fear isn’t discovering the worst; it’s never knowing the answer. But is it too late for Anna to uncover the truth about Gabriella’s disappearance?
My Review: The Missing Girl is a really wonderful debut novel and one I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. The story is narrated through one character Anna Flores, alternating from 1982 to present day. Anna is now a 40 year old single woman who has to return to her home town after a 30 year absence to sort out her mother’s estate and uncover the truth about her older sister Gabriellas’ disappearance in the 80’s.
The chapters told from Anna’s 12 year old perspective were at times heartbreakingly sad, as her adoration and idolising of her older sister Gabriella and feeling unloved, unnoticed and ignored made me as a mother want to give her a big cuddle and tell her everything would be OK. A socially awkward and plain child, Anna’s devotion and obsession with her beautiful older sister was really sweet to read about and throughout the story I felt her pain and confusion towards her family.
This isn’t a fast paced thriller, more of a slow burner but that actually made me savour and enjoy the book even more. An atmospheric and well written book which gets under your skin and into your thoughts long after you’ve finished the story.
About the Author: Jenny Quintana grew up in Essex and Berkshire, before studying English Literature in London. She has taught in London, Seville and Athens and has also written books for teaching English as a foreign language. She is a graduate of the Curtis Brown Creative writing course. She now lives with her family in Berkshire. The Missing Girl is her first novel.
I asked Jenny some important questions and here what she had to tell me:
Tell me about your latest book and why we should read it?
It’s called The Missing Girl and it’s about Anna whose adored older sister, Gabriella, goes missing as a teenager. Heartbroken, Anna lives a lonely life away from her childhood home. Thirty years later, her mother dies and she’s forced to return. Now Anna finds herself asking the question once again: what happened to Gabriella?
You should read it because it’s intriguing, atmospheric and very emotional.
If someone was to write your life story what would the title be?
The Persistent Woman
(This applies mainly to my writing but to quite a lot of other stuff as well.)
What’s the strangest fan question or request you’ve received?
I haven’t had anything strange like that – yet. I’m now imagining what that first question will be!
If you could co-write with anyone in the world (alive or dead) who would it be?
It would have to be Agatha Christie because she was so important to me as a teenager and inspired me to write. Although I’d probably just sit next to her and listen and gaze in awe.
Tell me something nobody else knows about you (yet!).
When I was small, my brothers nicknamed me Plug after the character in the Bash Street Kids in the Beano. They still call me Plug and sometimes Plum.
Finally, please recommend 3 books that you have recently read and tell me why you’ve chosen these.
My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier
I recently reread this book after about twenty years. The novel sums up everything I love about storytelling and everything that inspires me to write. It’s perfectly told, dark, compelling and atmospheric.
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
I love this book (and all the other Neapolitan novels) for the characters and their relationships, the descriptions of Italy and society, the pace of the writing – it draws me in completely.
The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley
More gothic writing. It’s clever, moody and creepy, dealing with serious themes amongst witty dialogue and brilliant description.