Five Days Gone by Laura Cumming

Five Days Gone

INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLERAcclaimed New York Times bestselling author of The Vanishing Velazquez Laura Cumming shares the riveting story of her mother’s mysterious kidnapping as a toddler in a small English coastal village—and how that event reverberated through her own family and her art for decades.In the fall of 1929, when Laura Cumming’s mother was three years old, she was kidnapped from a beach on the Lincolnshire coast of England. There...

Details Five Days Gone

TitleFive Days Gone
Release DateAug 27th, 2019
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Crime, True Crime, Biography Memoir, Mystery, Biography

Reviews Five Days Gone

  • Valerity (Val)
    She started out her life as Grace until she was adopted before age 3, then she was Betty. A name she never liked. Later she called herself Elizabeth. An older couple adopted her at age 3, George and Veda Elston. She grew to dislike George, who was controlling and didn’t want her mingling with others in the tiny village. She wasn’t allowed to go out and play with any of the local kids. This story is about the discovery of her strange disappear...
  • Laura
    From BBC radio 4 - Book of the week:In her new book, the art critic Laura Cumming unravels the mystery of her mother's disappearance one day in late 1929. Five days went by before she was found unharmed, but she remembered nothing of these events and the silence about what happened remained for fifty years when the circumstances of her kidnap came to light. Laura finds clues in everyday objects and crucially the family photo album, and her search...
  • Mairi Byatt
    I have been so moved by this stunning novel, also learnt so much about art, and given me an appreciation I have never known before. I was actually at school with Laura for 12 years and always liked her but never really got to know her - my loss! I could have known one of the most emotive caring and beautiful people on the planet! Please, please read this book.
  • Anne
    This is a fascinating story. A true story told by Laura Cumming the author, as she tries to unravel the mystery surrounding her mother's past.In 1929 a mother and small child enjoy an afternoon on a beach, Chapel beach in Lincolnshire. Suddenly in a moment the child is gone, kidnapped. It is five agonising day's for the parents before the child, Laura's mother is found. This is the story of the effects those actions had, on many lives.The child r...
  • Janilyn Kocher
    I love family mysteries. Five Days Gone unravels the layers of secrets revolving around the author's mother, Betty, who originally was called Grace. One day she disappeared from the beach, only to turn up a few days later. Most of the local villagers knew the truth about the incident as well as Betty's true parentage, but even years later, kept the secrets. Cumming reveals the truth painstakingly slowly: her mother's cold, austere upbringing, the...
  • Trish
    An interesting and detailed family history, it’s fascinating to learn how Laura and her mother gradually discovered her mother’s origins. There is a tendency to imagine the thought processes and emotions of ancestors that she couldn’t know - I do the same thing myself, but in this case she digs down deeper and gets to as close to the truth as she’s going to get. Photos are reproduced in the book, but they’re grainy and dim. Sadly an art...
  • Jackie
    A cleverly written biography of the author’s family. It tells the story of family secrets in a normal Lincolnshire family from the 1920s onwards. Also beautifully evocative of the landscape, a mix of social history, family, art. I really enjoyed this even though it left me with an overwhelming sense of the sadness for the people involved and made me wonder about the untold stories in our own families. Worth reading.
  • Angela
    I listened to this as an audiobook through the BBC Sounds website.This is a biography about the author's mother Betty, who it turns out was originally called Grace. One day she vanishes from the beach, aged only three, but turns up again a few days later. Betty cannot remember what had happened, and this is the premise of the book, to discover the mystery of what had happened to Betty.A sad and yet uplifting story of family secrets.
  • Ben
    ‘On Chapel Sands’ is a powerful meditation on love and loss and how secrets and lies can be contained in memories and images. Most of all it is a reminder to pay heed to EM Forster’s epigraph at the beginning of ‘Howard’s End’ to ‘Only Connect’ and as someone who lives in the area that the author writes about and who has a parent with a terminal disease by the close of the book I was emotionally overcome. It is a testament to the ...
  • Joanne Shaw
    Confession - I listened to this book on Radio 4 rather than read it.Many families have extraordinary stories but few are described so beautifully. I'm sure it's no accident that listening to the story felt somehow like looking at the Vermeer milkmaid painting which features in the book. Being able to see some of the photographs online added to the experience.
  • Niamh Maher
    Just an incredible book from start to finish , a.privilege to readA memoir of such honesty and sensitivity , betty shines through her daughter's words and laura imbues the main characters with such feeling that even when not deserved you have sympathy for them
  • Jojo
    I loved the tenderness with which the story is unfolded and told - no hatred for what had been quite a sad and shocking set of circumstances. Most enjoyable.
  • DianaAitch
    Listened to this on BBC Sounds app.
  • Trina Hollis
    Really enjoyed this true family mystery.
  • SundayAtDusk
    Publisher requested in NetGalley e-mail no ARC reviews be posted until two weeks before publication date.
  • Andrew
    BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week production: Interesting story but somewhat muddled in presentation and such a factual subject could have been better in a more linear way.
  • Carol
    Listened on BBC R4, interesting story and sad in many ways, the stigma of illegitimacy and the lengths that were taken to keep secrets.
  • Colin
    Interesting story
  • Laura
    Laura Cumming's mother was raised in a rather stern household on the English coast. Kept isolated from much of the community, Betty finally escaped to college and then marriage. There was one incident on the bus home from school, when a complete stranger accosted her saying that her grandmother wanted to see her... but Betty knew of no grandmother. Years later, Laura and Betty begin to unravel the mystery of Betty's parents and life. It's a tale ...
  • Eve