Book Review: The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell

Book Review: The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell

Thank you to Atria books for sending me a free copy of The Night She Disappeared in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis:

On a beautiful summer night in a charming English suburb, a young woman and her boyfriend disappear after partying at the massive country estate of a new college friend.

One year later, a writer moves into a cottage on the edge of the woods that border the same estate. Known locally as the Dark Place, the dense forest is the writer’s favorite area for long walks and it’s on one such walk that she stumbles upon a mysterious note that simply reads, “DIG HERE.”

Could this be a clue towards what has happened to the missing young couple? And what exactly is buried in this haunted ground?

With her signature “rich, dark, and intricately twisted” (Ruth Ware, New York Times bestselling author) prose, Lisa Jewell has crafted a dazzling work of suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final page.

My Review:

It should come as no surprise that Lisa Jewell has done it again! She has written another amazing thriller that is equal parts twisted, tightly wound thriller and insightful, character driven life lesson story. I just don’t know how she does it!

I used to always say that I didn’t like character driven stories, but Lisa Jewell single handedly is the one who changed that for me. She writes such realistic characters that are going through tough spots in life, and she is able to imbibe so much insightful reflection about people, relationships, and life into her stories. Tallulah’s reflections of young motherhood in this book really resonated with me and added so much heart to this novel.

The thriller parts of this one were also expertly executed, I was guessing to the end and of course the outcome was so much more complex than I had originally thought, but every last piece of the puzzle fit! I will say, this might be the first of her books that I did feel lagged just a little in the middle, it was starting to feel slightly redundant, but I still really loved it! I highly recommend any of her thrillers!

Book Review: The Truth About Melody Browne by Lisa Jewell

Book Review: The Truth About Melody Browne by Lisa Jewell

Thank you to Atria books for sending me a free copy of The Truth of Melody Brown in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis:

When she was nine years old, Melody Browne’s house burned down, taking every toy, every photograph, every item of clothing and old Christmas card with it. But not only did the fire destroy all her possessions, it took with it all her memories – Melody Browne can remember nothing before her ninth birthday. Now in her early thirties, Melody lives in a council flat in the middle of London with her seventeen-year-old son. She hasn’t seen her parents since she left home at fifteen, but Melody doesn’t mind, she’s better off on her own. She’s made a good life for herself and her son and she likes it that way. Until one night something extraordinary happens. Whilst attending a hypnotist show with her first date in years she faints – and when she comes round she starts to remember. At first her memories mean nothing to her but then slowly, day by day, she begins to piece together the real story of her childhood. Her journey takes her to the seaside town of Broadstairs, to oddly familiar houses in London backstreets and to meetings with strangers who love her like their own. But with every mystery she solves another one materialises, with every question she answers another appears. And Melody begins to wonder if she’ll ever know the truth about her past…

My Review:

This book was an absolute delight! Although Jewell is now known for her clever psychological thrillers, The Truth About Melody Browne isn’t one. This book is actually 12 years old and published in America for the first time in January, and many of Jewell’s older titles are more in the genre of women’s fiction. But don’t let that dissuade you: even though The Truth About Melody Browne isn’t a thriller, I couldn’t put this one down!

Melody felt so real to me and was such a loveable character! I can’t remember rooting for a fictional character as much as I did with Melody Browne! Her story was so compelling but also equal parts sad and inspiring. This novel is a story about family, both the family you are born with and the family you choose. It’s about love, friendship and finding yourself amidst the craziness of life. It’s about finding out where you belong and recognizing a good thing when you see it.

A full cast of eclectic characters added the magical touch to this book that I just could not put it down. I would recommend this to people that don’t have the strongest family ties, or those that didn’t have conventional childhoods. But I also recommend it to any reader with a hear beating in their chest. An absolutely wonderful story, I give this book five stars!

Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

C163A4FB-E662-4E9A-B80E-00D4AB9953FEThank you to Atria books for sending me a free copy of Invisible Girl in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis:

Owen Pick’s life is falling apart.

In his thirties, a virgin, and living in his aunt’s spare bedroom, he has just been suspended from his job as a geography teacher after accusations of sexual misconduct, which he strongly denies. Searching for professional advice online, he is inadvertently sucked into the dark world of incel—involuntary celibate—forums, where he meets the charismatic, mysterious, and sinister Bryn.

Across the street from Owen lives the Fours family, headed by mom Cate, a physiotherapist, and dad Roan, a child psychologist. But the Fours family have a bad feeling about their neighbor Owen. He’s a bit creepy and their teenaged daughter swears he followed her home from the train station one night.

Meanwhile, young Saffyre Maddox spent three years as a patient of Roan Fours. Feeling abandoned when their therapy ends, she searches for other ways to maintain her connection with him, following him in the shadows and learning more than she wanted to know about Roan and his family. Then, on Valentine’s night, Saffyre Maddox disappears—and the last person to see her alive is Owen Pick.

My Review:

This book really got it’s claws in me, it’s full of dynamic characters that all feel like someone you already know, both the good and the bad!  Lisa Jewell is a master at character driven suspense thrillers and I loved Invisible Girl!

Each character really got under my skin, I was rooting for almost all of them. On the daily, I am constantly thinking about people: the choices they make, their actions, and how they effect others. This books just fueled that brain fire in my head. It’s such a great look at culture, social niceties and expectations, and what happens when someone decides that they will not just sweep the past under the rug or play by the rules.

This novel, while suspenseful for sure, is such a fantastic character study. I loved it, and I think fans of Jewell will love it too.

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

CA0E94B9-933C-4C2E-BDB0-D457EC20E2B9Thank you Atria books for sending me a free copy of The Family Upstairs in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Synopsis:

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

My Review:

I honestly went into this novel blind because I have come to love and trust this author just that much! She creates dynamic and realistic characters, twisty page-turning plots, and her books are so much fun to read!

The Family Upstairs is told from three points of view.  At first, I couldn’t see how the three separate story lines would mesh together, although I had a feeling they would.  Jewell wound this one up so tight that as the novel progressed, the separate POV’s spiraled tighter and tighter until they all came together with forehead smacking perfection: as in “Duh, how did I not see that coming!?”

I was so invested in these characters and their lives which is unusual for me.  When a novel has duel or triple story lines, I find myself liking one better than the other but with this one, I was vested in all three.  A quick read, this novel was an easy five stars for me and will be perfect for any lover of mystery and suspense!

 

Watching You by Lisa Jewell

Watching You by Lisa Jewell

79467CDB-471F-4290-91CE-31A54F09A2ADThank you to Atria Books for sending me a free copy of Watching You by Lisa Jewell in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Synopsis from Amazon:

Melville Heights is one of the nicest neighborhoods in Bristol, England; home to doctors and lawyers and old-money academics. It’s not the sort of place where people are brutally murdered in their own kitchens. But it is the sort of place where everyone has a secret. And everyone is watching you.

As the headmaster credited with turning around the local school, Tom Fitzwilliam is beloved by one and all—including Joey Mullen, his new neighbor, who quickly develops an intense infatuation with this thoroughly charming yet unavailable man. Joey thinks her crush is a secret, but Tom’s teenaged son Freddie—a prodigy with aspirations of becoming a spy for MI5—excels in observing people and has witnessed Joey behaving strangely around his father.

One of Tom’s students, Jenna Tripp, also lives on the same street, and she’s not convinced her teacher is as squeaky clean as he seems. For one thing, he has taken a particular liking to her best friend and fellow classmate, and Jenna’s mother—whose mental health has admittedly been deteriorating in recent years—is convinced that Mr. Fitzwilliam is stalking her.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier, a schoolgirl writes in her diary, charting her doomed obsession with a handsome young English teacher named Mr. Fitzwilliam…

My Review:

I’ve got to start by saying that this book is 100% character driven.  And what unusual characters they are!  To be honest, I was a little thrown off for about the first half of the book.  It seemed to be full of odd characters that went about their daily lives doing very odd things.  And there are a lot of these peculiar characters, all strangely interacting with one another.

In the second half of the book, I was beginning to see where things were going, and the ending was very good.  Please make sure to read the epilogue, too, because there is one last final bombshell to be dropped. But no spoilers here!

I found Watching You to be very outside of what I have come to expect from Lisa Jewell.  The few novels of hers that I have read tend to have a bit of a pulling at the heart strings but there was none of that here.  I actually didn’t like any of the characters in Watching You, I thought they were all pretty despicable. So is it a good thing for an author to go in a different direction?  I think so.

I did end up liking this book as a whole, even though the parts separately I didn’t like. I’m struggling to decide on a rating but I think I will go right in the middle at 3 out of 5 stars. I hated the characters, I couldn’t connect with them or what they were doing, but everything wove together in the end. If you like Lisa Jewell, I think this one is definitely worth reading, but be prepared from something different.

 

I Found You by Lisa Jewell

I Found You by Lisa Jewell

8190E925-DDB9-449E-BB4B-C512D3350099This fun to read suspense novel builds up three separate stories, then weaves them together.  The first story is Alice, a single mother of three who lives in a quaint but rundown cottage at the beach. One day, she notices a man standing on the beach all alone.  After he stays there without moving for the entire day, Alice goes to see if he needs help.  The man has no memory of who he is, where he came from, or why he is there on the beach. Trying to be kind, Alice decides to let the man stay in the rentable shed behind her house while he takes a few days to try and remember who he is. The second story is about Gray and Kirsten and their family summer vacation to the beach in 1993. The easy going family is having a great time until they meet Mark, a young man who has taken a startlingly strong interest in Kirsten. He shows stalker-ish tendencies toward Kirsten and her family and seems to have ulterior motives. The third story is of Lily, a newly wed young woman whose new husband didn’t come home from work one day.  She struggles to work with the police to find him.  Without much enthusiasm from the police, Lily decides to take measures into her own hands and track him down.

The three stories begin to mesh about half-way through and continue to intertwine until all the secrets are revealed.  I really enjoyed this suspenseful little novel. All of the characters are nicely developed. I liked each of the three separate stories and I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen and how all the characters were connected. There was a little predictability, but overall I thought this was a well planned out novel. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.