Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Vanished - Review

Number of pages, Edition house
375 pages, CORGI BOOKS.

The author herself.


Principal characters:
  • Marielle: The principal character.
  • Charles Delaunay: The first husband of Marielle.
  • Malcolm Petterson: The second husband of Marielle.
  • Teddy: Marielle and Malcolm’s son, he vanished from the house without a trace.
  • Bea Ritter: A journalist who believed in Charles innocence and tried to reveal the truth.
  • John Taylor: The FBI inspector, when he started investigating about Teddy’s kidnapping, he fell in love with Marielle.
  • Bill Palmer: The U.S. Attorney, he wanted to condemn Charles of Teddy’s kidnapping.
  • Tom Armour: Charles’s attorney, he started have feelings for Marielle after knowing her.
  • Brigitte Sanders: The secretary and the mistress of Malcolm.

Secondary characters:
  • André: Marielle and Charles‘s son, he died when he was 2 years old.
  • Marielle’s parents
  • Charles’s father
  • Malcolm Servants
  • The witness Louie the Lover
  • The Sergeant O'Connor
  • The judge Morrison
  • The jury members


The novel is about a young woman called Marielle, at the age of 18, she was living in Paris with her parents. She falls in love with a certain Charles Delaunay, an independent person who leads a free life and participates in wars to defend human principles, without her parent’s permission, they elope and get married.

One year later, she gives birth to a baby, “André”. During the family holidays, this latter dies by drowning. Charles can’t bear this situation and bits her wife until she loses her fetus. Instead of supporting her, he starts blaming her for the death of both children that she becomes mentally ill.

When she leaves the mental hospital, she goes back to New York and works as a secretary for her father’s friend. Malcolm Patterson was a rich man and much older than she was, he was also very kind and gentle with her that she accepts his proposal of marriage, but without telling him about her past. After their marriage, she discovers that the only wish of her husband is to have children, which his ex-wives couldn’t do. Two years later, she becomes pregnant, and gives birth to “Teddy”.

One day, Marielle and Charles meet accidentally in the Saint Patrick’s church at the anniversary of their children's death. The next day, when she is with her child in the zoo, she meets Charles again, and he becomes very angry at her when he knows that she has a child of another man, and then he starts threatening her.

In the next evening, the child is kidnapped from his own room without any trace. He just vanishes!

The investigations last more than 3 months without any result, the only suspected was Charles, especially after finding the child bear and pajamas in his house.

In the trial, the case takes another direction, instead of searching the child, Malcolm and the U.S. attorney start revealing Marielle’s past to convince the jury that she wasn’t a good Mom and that she was the mean reason of the child disappearance. But a journalist called Bea Ritter who believes in Charles innocence, the FBI inspector John Taylor who starts loving Marielle, and Tom Armour, the Charles’s Attorney achieve their investigations until they find the child in a boat sailing to Europe, they discover, later, that it’s his father Malcolm who arranged the whole story, in order to run away with his secretary and his son to Europe.

Marielle feels happy to have her son back, becomes free of her husband and decides to start a new life with her child and maybe another man, Tom Armour.

Principal ideas

1. Marielle has been married twice, and both experiences were unsuccessful :
  • The first marriage was based only in love, which is not always enough. The couple was so young to assume the responsibility of a family, they were still independent, crazy, and without experience.
  • The second marriage was based on bad intentions, Marielle had no family, so she considered her husband as a father, a protector since he was rich, old and he had a good life experience. In the other side, Malcolm married her only to have children and because she is a week person and easy to control.
2. Because of Marielle’s weakness and depression, she gives to her husbands the opportunity to manipulate her and to control her life and her feelings as they like.

Writing style

In the beginning, the author focuses on narration and description in order to draw a clear picture of her characters, and to make us live the story, and I think she succeeded in this.

Later, she started introducing dialogue, especially during the investigations and the trial; which helps the reader follow closely the story events. The novel becomes then like a piece of theatre, which I find enjoyable.

Points of agreement

1. The decision of marriage is not as simple as it seems, there are many conditions a couple should meet before making such a decision:
  • To be mature and able to shoulder the responsibility of a family.
  • To have good intentions and reasons to marry (help each other to improve, achieve dreams together…)
  • To have interests in common and similar social backgrounds.
  • In a relationship, Love alone is not enough, and money and safety alone are either not enough. Both are important.
  • Each one should respect the other and be able to forgive his mistakes.
2. The experience that doesn’t kill us makes us stronger: Every experience in our lives should be considered as an opportunity to learn, to know the world more and to be stronger. Our weakness and depression let others take control of us, and use us to achieve their intentions at the expense of ours. 

3. The description of characters was fantastic, the author painted their physical and emotional features with such a professionalism and ingenuity.

Points of disagreement

1. Marielle started having feelings for Taylor, the FBI inspector, when she was still married to Malcolm, and she expressed her feelings too. I think that nothing could justify that a woman betrays her husband even if he is bad, she’d better ask for divorce before thinking of another man, and as if that were not enough, this man was already married!

2.There is no real suspense in the novel because the reader can easily expect the end of the story; it’s disappointing especially if we know that the novel is considered as a thriller!


It’s true that the novel treats important social issues, but as a thriller, it contains no suspense, so I rate the book 2/5.


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