By Rosalind Noonan
Kensington BooksDecember 2013

Trade Paperback336 pages, $15.00, ISBN: 9780758274991
Subject: Family / Abduction / Personl Triumph

  1. Although stranger abduction is one of a parent’s worst nightmares, most abducted children are kidnapped by their own parents or relatives. Are there ways that society might safeguard children from people like Kevin Hawkins? Discuss the balance between warning children of “stranger danger” and allowing them a modicum of trust toward their community.
  2. Do you think Rachel’s decision to let Lauren walk home from school was irresponsible? Have you ever made a “responsible” choice that you regretted later?
  3. Kidnapped at age eleven, Lauren was held captive in semi-isolation for six years. Discuss the important stages of development she “missed” during that time. What life-defining moments do you remember from your teenage years?
  4. While in captivity, Lauren nurtured an idealized view of family life by watching videotapes of old television sitcoms. What is the downside of looking for relationship truths in shows like Full House and Seventh Heaven? What positive values might these shows teach a child?
  5. In the later years of her captivity, Lauren was not handcuffed or locked inside by Kevin Hawkins. What kept her from fleeing the compound?
  6. Rachel believed that the terrible ordeal would be over once her daughter was found. Instead, the young woman who was rescued did not want to return to her family. What expectations should society have toward recovered captives? Should women of legal age be pressured to return to their families of origin? Why or why not?
  7. When Lauren tries to re-assimilate with her family, her mother is the one person she finds it hard to bond with. “I know Mom can be a pain in the ass,” Sierra tells Lauren, “but she does mean well. She loves you a lot.” Although Lauren knows this is true, the feelings of resentment and betrayal prevail. Why does Lauren feel so much anger toward her mother? Do you think Rachel’s personality makes their breach worse, or does it help them mend their relationship?
  8. In therapy, Lauren learns about finding balance in life. “Male and female, darkness and light, cold and hot, evil and good. At first she had told Wynonna that she wanted to be only yang, the sunny side of the slope. But Wynonna pointed out that the sun always moves across the slope, obscuring what was revealed and revealing what was hidden.” Discuss the interplay between yin and yang. Do you agree with Wynonna’s assertion that “We appreciate the sunlight more when we’ve been living in darkness”?
  9. In the past, conventional therapy has not worked for Dan, who “was not an advocate of wasting time on a shrink’s couch. Too invasive, too touchy-feely, and way too expensive.” What elements of Wynonna’s program appealed to him? How could conventional psychotherapy be adapted to better suit clients?
  10. The use of horses as a therapeutic aid dates back to ancient Greece. This therapy developed Lauren’s cognitive skills as well as establishing a relationship of trust between horse and rider. From playing ball with a horse to teaching it how to deal with fear, what was the most interesting aspect of this therapy for you?
  11. What do you think Lauren will be doing five years after the story ends? What sort of career/future do you envision for Sierra?
  12. If you were producing And Then She Was Gone as a movie, who would you cast as Lauren? What actress has the nurturing quality and hard drive of Rachel? Who do you see as Dan? Sometimes attractive villains are the most devastating. Who would you cast as Kevin Hawkins?