Review published on August 1, 2016.
This book tells the stories of two women in different parts of the country. Alice is a bohemian mum living by the sea, bringing up three kids on her own and trying to juggle her children, career and the ailing health of her parents. Until one day she sees a stranger on the beach. A man that she takes in to help. A man who doesn’t even know his own name …
Meanwhile Lily is a 21 year old recently married Ukranian woman living in Surrey. Her husband has disappeared out of the blue and she’s only been in the country for a few weeks and has no idea where he can be. He seems besotted with her so why would he just vanish? Once her search starts she realises that she didn’t really know anything about him. Why does he seem to have no friends? Why does she know nothing about his family? As the reader, is it too obvious for us to draw conclusions as to who the stranger on the beach is?
I loved this book. In the first sitting I read over 100 pages, by sitting three I had finished it. It’s easy to read and intricately weaves an interesting storyline and draws you in to the two central female characters. The mystery man has two names … but how does he fit in with the two women at different ends of the country?
Cleverly Jewell weaves in a third storyline set in 1993 with a family on holiday in the area where Alice now lives in Yorkshire. So the reader has to try and put together all of the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle and figure out who’s who and where this all fits in with the present day story. The chapters weave in and out from the present and the past, each giving a tantalising glimpse of who the stranger, known as Frank, could be. Is he the confused vulnerable man we think or is there a more sinister reason for his apparent memory loss?
I have read Lisa Jewell’s books since her first, Ralph’s Party, back in the late 90s and I have probably enjoyed this one the most. It’s a mixture of romance and mystery which has combined brilliantly into something that you won’t want to put down. I struggle with the term chick lit because this is far more than that. This has a bit of everything including deeply buried secrets, lies and torment that ultimately lead to tragedy one night long ago. But there are heartwarming moments too which is what Jewell does so well.
The characters are interesting, and flawed, which makes the reader want to know more. We want a happy ending for all of them – but will this happen?
I really loved it. Highly recommended and a great summer read.
K MacKenzie 5/5
I Found You by Lisa Jewell
Century 978-1780893617 hbk July 2016