The Disappearance

Written by Katherine Webb
Review by Julie Parker

This is an absorbing but easy-to-follow story about the disappearance of a young boy in World War Two in Bath in April 1942. The incident awakens in the mind of the protagonist, Frances, a similar event from twenty years previously when her best friend, Bronwyn, also disappeared. The girls were both ten then, and Frances tries to remember the sequence of events which she has suppressed since that time. The devastation caused by the German bombs in 1942 has resulted in death and destruction for the inhabitants of Bath, and the demolition of the ruined buildings has revealed a long-hidden secret. The townscape of Bath is well described, as are the panic and disruption caused by the war, and the characters are well delineated. The story has dual time settings and, as Frances’s physical surroundings shift, so her mind recalls the long-suppressed events of 1922 and she arrives at the solution.