Title: Alexandra, Gone
Author: Anna McPartlin
Publisher: Downtown Press
My synopsis: A disappearance and a chance blackout unites an unlikely group to form an alliance to search for one man's missing wife, Alexandra.
Tom, Alexandra's husband, has been looking for her for a couple of months. He is handing out flyers at a Jake Lukeman concert - who is his wife's favorite musician. He hands out the last couple and gets on a lift with 3 other women. Before they reach their destination their lives all become entwined.
Jane and Elle are two sisters on the lift. When the blackout happens and the elevator stops, Jane begins to have a panic attack. Elle is at a loss as to how to help her - as it is usually Jane getting Elle out of scrapes, but then Leslie steps in.
Leslie is the third woman in the lift. She is only there because she is the webdesigner for Jack Lukeman's website. She hasn't ventured out of her apartment much in the last 18 years - since her sister Imelda died. Imelda had been preceded in death by their sister Nora, and their mom and dad - all from cancer.
Tom's missing wife just happens to be Jane's childhood friend. They lost contact after Jane got pregnant at 17 and stayed home to have the baby while Alexandra went off to university. When they discover their connection, she and Elle promise to help in whatever way they can. Elle reels Leslie in by pure force.
These three women have each had a tough life in their own way. Jane had a son at 17, which she raised alone (even though she lived with her mother). When Kurt was 4, his father Dominic reappeared in his life. They had had a good relationship since, with Jane and Dominic being best friends with benefits whenever it suited Dominic. Jane was also responsible for her alcoholic mother, Rose, who lived in the downstairs flat and her sister Elle, who was an artist with all the stereotypical quirks. At 17, she had grown up fast.
Elle had never had to be responsible for anything. She painted and Jane handled the rest. She went through money like it was water and had relationships with whomever she wanted. When the mood struck, she would go away for extended periods of time, never telling anyone where she went.
Leslie, being the sole survivor of her family of five, had closed herself off from the world, just waiting for the cancer (for which she carried the gene) to come for her also. She had vowed to never hurt anyone like she had watched both her sisters hurt their husbands as they deteriorated and died.
Together they search for Alexandra, but also confront their individual demons as life goes on.
My thoughts: Although the title is Alexandra, Gone - I felt the story centered more around Jane, from whom Alexandra had been gone for 18 years. Jane seemed to be the pivotal person around which her family (Elle, Rose, Kurt and Dominic) rotated. Tom joined that group as did Leslie through her friendship with Elle.
I did enjoy this book and appreciated the humor that the author weaved into the story - especially the banter between Jane and Rose. Even though it was often acerbic, you could still feel the underlying love that held the family together. There was not a lot of action or suspense in the story, that you might expect in a missing person's case, but Alexandra missing was not the main storyline, it was just the catalyst that brought these people together.
~I was provided a copy of this book for review from Pocket Books.~
Publisher/Publication Date: Downtown Press, April 13, 2010