: Lisa Jewell
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Suspense
Publisher: Atria Books
First Published: April 25, 2017
First Line: "Alice Lake lives in a house by the sea."
Book Description from GoodReads: A young bride, a lonely single mother, and an amnesiac man of dubious origin lie at the heart of New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell’s next suspenseful drama that will appeal to fans of Liane Moriarty and Paula Hawkins.
In a windswept British seaside town, single mom Alice Lake finds a man sitting on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, and no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside.
Meanwhile, in a suburb of London, twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.
Twenty-three years earlier, Gray and Kirsty are teenagers on a summer holiday with their parents. Their annual trip to the quaint seaside town is passing by uneventfully, until an enigmatic young man starts paying extra attention to Kirsty. Something about him makes Gray uncomfortable—and it’s not just that he’s playing the role of protective older brother.
Two decades of secrets, a missing husband, and a man with no memory are at the heart of this brilliant new novel, filled with the “beautiful writing, believable characters, pacey narrative, and dark secrets” (London Daily Mail) that make Lisa Jewell so beloved by audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.
My Rating: 3.5 stars
My Review: I Found You is a psychological thriller that often had me on the edge of my seat. In her latest book, Jewell weaves together an intricate story with multiple points of view which captivated me and had me questioning the identity of some of the players.
And yet I'm finding this book hard to review. There are some great tension building scenes, a diverse cast of characters, a few time frames and a lot going on. But it worked ... until it didn't. Noooo! After the wonderful, thrilling set up I was waiting for a gripping, twisty "I didn't see that coming!!" reveal but was left with an ending which felt too neat and tidy.
There are a variety of characters in the book and unhealthy, sometimes creepy and desperate, relationships abound. I know what Jewell is capable of with her characters (read her book The House We Grew Up In for stellar characterizations) but this time around they fell a flat for me. I wanted more depth to them and the fact that readers must suspend belief to believe that so many of the characters would refuse to involve the police (or medical help) when it's blatantly clear that many of the issues could be handled better by the authorities seemed an odd (and unbelievable) choice.
Alice, the single mom main character, came off as desperate, naive and not very likable. I couldn't get behind the idea of Alice bringing home a man she found on the beach like he was one of her dogs. Who does that with a house full of kids, especially after her past (which is eluded to but the details of which aren't given to the reader)? Lily, the young newlywed, felt excessively wooden and unemotional for a young woman whose life has just been turned upside down. The characters just didn't work for me.
What stood out for me is the tension-building and the fact that the author constantly had me questioning Frank's identity. It was awesome and I spent a couple very late nights unable to put the book down. The tension-building was a solid 4 - 4.5 stars for me but the depth of the characters and the ending lowered that stellar rating for me.
While this book wasn't a home run for me it is still quite a good read and Lisa Jewell will continue to be an author I seek out. We may not always see eye-to-eye on all of her books but she can spin a good, unique tale and when I can connect with her story and characters it's a truly awesome reading experience. My favourite book by Jewell continues to be The House We Grew Up In followed closely by The Girls in the Garden.
Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Atria Books and NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary e-book copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.