An uplifting, unforgettable story of two women in two different times from the Sunday Times Top Ten bestselling author of After the Party and The Making of Us.
London, 1920. Arlette works in Liberty by day, and by night is caughty up in a glamorous whirl of parties, clubs, cocktails and jazz. But when tragedy strikes she flees the city, never to return.
Over half a century later, in the grungy mid-'90s, her graddaughter Betty arrives in London.
She can't wait to begin her new life. But before she can do so, she must find the mysterious woman named in her grandmother's will.
What she doesn't know is that her search will uncover the heartbreaking secret that changed her grandmother's life, and might also change hers for ever...
In Jewell's (After the Party) novel, Betty Dean spent her childhood on the Channel Island of Guernsey dreaming of bigger and better things in London, but she stayed there well into her 20s to care for her ailing grandmother, Arlette. When Arlette dies, Betty's family discovers that she has left a large sum of money to a woman named Clara Pickle at a London address. Nobody in the family has heard of Clara, and what's more, Arlette always claimed to hate the big city. Naturally, Betty jumps at the chance go to London in search of Clara. Though she ends up paying too much for her Soho flat and working a menial job, Betty feels like her life is finally beginning. She strikes up a friendship with rock legend Dom Jones who just happens to be her neighbor and gets a gig babysitting his children to supplement her income. As clues lead her closer to the mysterious Clara Pickle, Betty starts to uncover a chapter of proper, taciturn Arlette's life that she never imagined possible complete with a tragic love story. Told in chapters that alternate between 1919 21 and 1995, Jewell unfolds each detail of Arlette's secret past with impeccable timing. Although the final reveal is a little convoluted, Arlette's tragedy juxtaposed with Betty's journey to maturity and stability takes readers to emotional highs and lows alike.
I always love Lisa Jewell's characters
This book was no different. The storytelling flows and the characters grip you. (The only annoying thing and I know I'm being very pedantic) is that this was set in 1995 and mentions xfm playing a song on the radio but those of us who were around in London in the 90s (and that should include Lisa) very distinctly remember the launch of xfm in 1997. I know it's small but when your book is intending to evoke a specific time in London then things like that jar.
Before I Met You
Fabulous book, wonderful story, I couldn't put it down.
This is the first book of hers I have read and I generally couldn't put it down! I loved every part of it! The heartbreak and the enchantment! The description and the story line is truly brilliant! I loved it! The characters are great! I will definitely be reading others.