Book Review ‘Before I Met You’, Lisa Jewell

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Synopsis:

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…


Publisher: Arrow

Reviewer:  Stacey Atkins

Betty, her mother and stepfather move into her grandmother Arlette’s house following a recent fall. Arlette’s house is set on a cliff top on the island of Guernsey. During this time, Betty and Arlette become very close, and after several years pass, Betty takes on the role of Arlettes carer.  Sadly Arlette passes away, leaving Betty a mystery in her will to solve.  The mystery takes Betty away from Guernsey island life to 1990’s Soho, London.  Betty discovers a very different side to Arlette, who turns out to be a remarkable woman, who was well ahead of her time leading a bohemian life in 1920’s London. She has managed to conceal great sadness and loss to her family.

This book was very much a tale of two stories, telling the life of Arlette in London 1920 and Betty in London 1990. Betty is lovely, she instantly draws you in, and you just know she would make a great friend.

I thoroughly enjoyed this read;  I am fascinated with the 1920’s era, from the society life to the fashions of the day, and this books paints a brilliant picture of the time. You can really imagine being the the jazz clubs, drinking a dry martini!

Really good book, from start to finish, the tales of two eras worked really well.

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