Nick and Grace have been together for the last seven years, and along with Grace’s daughter Lottie, they’re a happy little family unit. One night, to Grace’s surprise, Nick proposes, and she instantly accepts, seeing the kind of wonderful future for her and her daughter that she once didn’t think would ever be possible. However when later that evening, Nick goes for a walk and doesn’t come home Grace is plunged into a living nightmare. Terrified, she goes to the Police for help finding him and quickly realises that the authorities, with the help of Nick’s family, seem to think that Nick has come to his senses and left her. No foul play. As the couple weren’t married, and they don’t really believe that Nick proposed to her before he ‘disappeared’, once he’s been missing a little while his family sudden wake up and decide they are taking legal action to claim ‘his’ home back, insisting that Grace and ‘her’ daughter have no claim to it and so will have to move out very soon. Grace discovers evidence that makes it seem as if Nick has been supporting his parents for some time, with large payments from his lucrative job going towards paying their mortgage – but why?
There’s an alternate chapter structure that switches from the current timeline in which Nick has gone missing to his teenage years, which, it starts to become clear, has a lot to do with the situation that is unfolding in the present day. The story starts off quite slowly, and you’re never quite sure what’s actually going on; where Nick is and what’s happening to him. At times it seems perfectly feasible that he’s just got cold feet and done a runner, yet at others, it seems more likely that something awful has happened to him and he has no control over his disappearance. The Police continue to think he’s just upped and left and that Grace is deluded, ignoring the truth. However Grace just isn’t prepared to let this go. Even though she may uncover things she didn’t know, or want to know about her fiancé, she isn’t going to let him go without a fight. She’s feisty, understandably emotional, and volatile, and believe me – you absolutely would not want to come up against her in a fight of fists, or wills.
I really enjoyed the pace of this book – it’s a good, believable story and the main characters are likeable (with some notable exceptions). The slowness of the process is painful at times -I felt incredibly frustrated for Grace as it just felt like no-one was listening to her, or wanted to take her seriously when her world had completely fallen apart. If you’re paying attention you might see some of the reveal coming before it arrives, but there’s enough unsurety to keep you reading right to the end. It’s a gradual unravelling of what happened rather than a big single twist – something I enjoyed, and when you finally get there, you might need to sit down, and catch your breath.
In summary, I really enjoyed ‘The Night You Left’, it’s a really good thriller and I will be keeping my eye out for more from this author.
Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. This is my honest and unbiased review.