I’ve been reading Lisa Jewell books for many years, she’s my go to Author, my comfort zone. I’ve travelled from Dorset through central London in rush hour traffic to hear her speak and If I’m totally honest I’ve a bit of a crush on her. I admire that she achieved publication so early on in her career and that she had been able to continue publishing since. I’m always intrigued to see her latest book as I’ve grown up with her writing, in the same way she has seen her writing change and evolve into these more mature genres.
Before this book I read her last thriller ‘I found you’ and found that I had similar feelings about it to this, her newest book Then she was gone.
Jewell has experimented with an array of genres from rom coms, to family sagas to time slips. Now she seems to be content in the thriller zone, for now.
I was dubious after I Found you and even more so having read then she was gone. I fear I’m not as content a reader as she is a writer.
For me Jewell’s overall narrative in her latest is a little too coincidental, how her characters come to know one another doesn’t always sit easy with me and the main female character in this particulate novel I found a little wishy washy
Jewell breaks the novel into 4 sections By the third part I read some of Jewels darkest writing. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for her to go to ‘that place’ and this is the first time in any of her books I’ve seen her write so brutally, dredging into the depths of her soul to create prose so morbid and sinister.
The overall pace of the book ticks along nicely, each Chapter feeding cleanly into the next making this the sort of book you can easily pick up yet put down again with the same ease.
If you’re interested to know more about Jewell and in my opinion read two of her strongest books, then I strongly suggest ‘the truth about Melody Brown’ a truly heart warming tale of one woman’s journey to discover who she really is through the her regained memory which is miraculously shunted back to her when a hypnotist makes her faint on stage. Don’t let the coincidence scenario put you off, this character jumps off the page and the flashbacks to her childhood make for a highly emotional read. Here Jewell showcases some of her most eloquent writing with subtly emotive prose.
Secondly I’d recommend ‘Before I met you’ . Jewell reeks of confidence from the first paragraph of this time slip. I ached for the 1990’s chapter for their familiar sense of place, and then I yearned to skip back to the stylish 1920’s. Jewell nailed both eras beautifully.
Jewells last two novels of the thriller genre have not hit my sweet spot the way many of her middle section of books have, which is where I really felt she matured and came into her own.
I will remain a lifelong fan of Lisa Jewell because she earned my loyalty a long time ago. I only hope she returns to the style of writing I feel she does best. I am hankering after some more of the best words I’ve ever read.