Tuesday 1 March 2016

Before I met You by Lisa Jewell

Lisa Jewell has an engaging writing style.There is nothing contrived, and the words flow from her pen into my mind, creating the world she wants me to see. In this book, Betty moves to Soho in 1995. Her love for the place is infectious - I just wanted to go and stay with her. In parallel, we read of her (sort of ) grandmother, Arlette in the 1920s, Here, London was beautiful - there are gorgeous scenes where I could imagine the Paris writers, poets and artists from the Great Gatsby showing up. It was vivid and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Then the characters started to do some strange things. Arlette was so rebellious and different, but then landed up “settling” in so many ways. Betty also let me down in small ways, but then everyone has flaws, I thought.

I started the last third of the book late at night. It really dragged. And the flick-flacking between 1920 and 1995 irritated me more at that point - it had been fine earlier, but the chapters seemed to shorten, so that you had hardly any plot development before the skip, which left me out of the story. I could have handled bigger chunks of information at a time, and the bittinesss was annoying.

Lastly, the “big reveal” was disappointing. Unusual for Lisa Jewell to let me down like this. Maybe I got tired, but I enjoyed her other books far more.

3 stars.


You may also enjoy The Girls by the same author, or The Lake House by Kate Morton.


Terry Tyler said...

Yet it's a Sunday Times Bestseller ~ it's so frustrating when you read mediocre books that get accolades like that purely because of the name, while excellent books by unknowns struggle even to get seen on Amazon!

Bev Bouwer said...

I totally agree. I love debut novels, and I really appreciate the amount of work that has gone into them, especially compared to some "established writers" who just can't be bothered anymore. Thanks for the comment.