The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy | Book Review

The Disappearances book cover

Aila’s mother has died and her father has been drafted to fight in the war. She and her brother have been shipped off to Sterling, a small town where their mother grew up, to be cared for by a family friend. But Sterling has some secrets.

Every seven years, something goes missing. The town has lost its sense of smell, its ability to see the stars, its reflections and its ability to dream. Aila’s mother was always suspected as a potential cause of the Disappearances, which makes Aila guilty by association. Can she get to the bottom of the bizarre curse and clear her mother’s name?

I loved The Disappearances. It’s completely charming. Set in World War II, it’s a reasonably light-hearted historical read with a generous sprinkling of magic. 17-year-old Aila is sweet but sassy when the moment demands, while her brother, Miles, is a loveably irritating little tearaway. The cast of supporting characters are also incredibly likeable, including the villains in the love-to-hate kind of way.

Aila’s first-person storytelling is intertwined with that of a mysterious character, the identity of which isn’t made clear until halfway through the book. I loved the unravelling of this mystery; it brought an increasingly dark and sinister edge to the book which off-set perfectly the teenage drama and romance that was taking place in Aila’s world.

I came away from The Disappearances feeling all warm and fuzzy – it’s a good’un.

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Author: Ellie Scott

Ellie Scott is a freelance copywriter and fiction writer from Sheffield, UK. She writes speculative and silly short stories and flash fiction. In 2018 she was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize Short Story Competition and published her first book, 'Merry Bloody Christmas: A Short Story Collection'. You can often find her hanging out on Twitter (@itsemscott), Instagram (@tinysillystories) and Medium (@elliemaryscott), or hibernating on her sofa with a book and a very large glass of gin.

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