by Annabel Kantaria
Audrey Bailey will never forget the moment she met Ralph Templeton in the sweltering heat of a Bombay café. Her lonely life over, she was soon married with two small children. But things in the Templeton household were never quite what they seemed.
Now approaching 70, and increasingly a burden on the children she’s never felt close to, Audrey plans a once-in-a-lifetime cruise around the Greek isles. Forcing twins Lexi and John along for the ride, the Templetons set sail as a party of three – but only two will return.
On the night of her birthday, Audrey goes missing…hours after she breaks the news that the twins stand to inherit a fortune after her death. As the search of the ship widens, so does the list of suspects – and with dark clues emerging about Audrey’s early life, the twins begin to question if they can even trust one another…
True to its name, author Annabel Kantaria explores the world of Audrey over two time periods, present day and 40 years ago, through the perspectives of mother and daughter, to create a compelling read into the disappearance of our main character.
In my opinion, “in a family built on lies, who can you trust?” is probably not the best tagline for the story of Audrey Templeton. More of a family drama than thriller, innocent and heartbroken Audrey travels to Bombay to escape her devastating British life. She soon meets Ralph, whom she later marries and adopts his children. In present day, back in England and approaching 70, Audrey feels like she is an increasing burden on her adult children and plans a cruise for the three of them.
The children were an aspect I was unsure about at first. Dislikable, but somehow understandably realistic given the family dynamic, Lexi and John seemed to resent their mother, with John in particular desperate to put her in a home. While I found it tricky to warm to either character initially, as their past, expectations and plans were revealed these characteristics seemed more reasonable.
I really enjoyed this book, drawn in by its easy flow between past and present, constantly entwined with the undercurrent of the danger to come. Rather than being full of twists and turns, Kantaria keeps the story subtle and causes you to second guess what you had imagined to happen. Easy to follow with dates and times heading each chapter, this book seemed to fly by and despite its slightly far-fetched ending, kept me gripped until the end.
One thing I didn’t like about this book was the prologue. I felt it somewhat ruined the story line to include the disappearance of Audrey before exploring the rest of the story. This made the following chapters of searching slightly tedious as the reader knows that Audrey is not out for the day or hungover in her room. What irked me even more was the redundant repetition of the prologue as a chapter in the book word for word, this was unnecessary and I actually skipped the whole thing to move on.
Another thing to point out, also seen in other reviews, the editing and proofreading of this book was poor. There is no excuse for spelling mistakes in a published book.
Overall rating: A gripping family drama set over two time periods, revealing past secrets and forcing you to look beyond the obvious. I really enjoyed “The Disappearance” and give it 4 stars.
See my other reviews of books by Annabel Kantaria here: