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Bampton, Derbyshire, January 1978. Two girls go missing: Rachel Jones returns, Sophie Jenkins is never found. Thirty years later: Sophie Jenkins's mother commits suicide.
Rachel Jones has tried to put the past behind her and move on with her life. But news of the suicide re-opens old wounds and Rachel realises that the only way she can have a future is to finally discover what really happened all those years ago.
This is a story about loss and family secrets, and how often the very darkest secrets are those that are closest to you.
In Ward's underwhelming debut, an unknown woman abducted two eight-year-old Derbyshire girls, Rachel Jones and Sophie Jenkins, while they were walking to school on Jan. 20, 1978. Rachel was found a few hours later, unharmed in the woods, but Sophie was never seen again and the kidnapper never apprehended. More than 30 years later, Sophie's mother, Yvonne, commits suicide in a hotel room, leading Det. Insp. Francis Sadler and his eager underling, Det. Constable Connie Childs, to reexamine the kidnapping case to see what prompted the woman to kill herself. Meanwhile, Rachel, who still lives in the area and works as a family historian, is adamant that she remembers nothing from the day she was snatched. When another body turns up, that of a former teacher at Rachel and Sophie's school, the detectives begin to wonder if someone is covering up the tracks from 1978. Ward shows her hand much too early, killing the suspense, and her characters are wooden at best.