Tag Archives: Lisa Jewell

‘Then She Was Gone’ by Lisa Jewell

Lisa Jewell has recently become my go-to for a suspense novel. Often referred to as a ‘beach read’ sometimes all you really want is something plot-driven so you can mindlessly turn pages and lose yourself in the story. This one is her latest and the subject matter is dark. It’s much darker than the others of hers I’ve read (I Found You and The House We Grew Up In), but fit the bill for what I was looking for–a nice creepy sinister story that was un-put-downable. Within the domestic suspense thriller genre, I think Jewell does a good job. This one was about a young girl who disappears. Years later her mother meets a man who has a daughter who looks exactly like her missing child…He seems nice, but is he actually dangerous and is this more than a coincidence?

Now with my guilty pleasure read out of the way, I’m ready for something with a bit more substance again! 🙂

‘The House We Grew Up In’ by Lisa Jewell

Ever seen a reality documentary (shock-umentary) about hoarding? The objective in producing such a ‘slice of life’ seems to be more about sensational shaming and humiliation, than about gaining empathy or information about fellow human experience. Hoarding is generally regarded as a serious mental illness (in the OCD family) and has mental, psychological, social, and physical consequences for many. The disorder deserves a more sympathetic treatment than the media often gives it.

This novel by Lisa Jewell is an attempt at that, trying to get at the core reasons for this disturbing dangerous behaviour and how it can affect families. Lorelei, the main character, is a vibrant mother who loves to gather her chicks for Easter and displays her children’s artwork on the walls of their cozy kitchen. While Lorelei knows how to love people, she doesn’t know how to care for them. The idyllic scene eventually gives way to tragedy and dysfunction. It reminded me of Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle, a true story of a severely dysfunctional family.

What makes a person become a hoarder? How do families deal with such a problem? What might cause them to dismiss or defend something that clearly is out of control? The author definitely creates a compelling family drama, interesting in its own right, while at the same time attempts to give insight into how an average family affected by hoarding might cope (or not cope) with it.

Lisa Jewell has recently come on my author radar and I will look forward to reading more of her books. This one was written 10 years ago, while a more recent one that I read not long ago, called I Found You, was more suspenseful– in the category of what we now call the domestic thriller.

‘I Found You’ by Lisa Jewell

The title of this book could be what your family members exclaim when they discover where you have hidden to read ‘just a few’ more pages or chapters–that’s how compulsively readable this suspense thriller is. I couldn’t put it down.

Here’s the story line about two decades of secrets, a missing husband, and a man with no memory…

“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.”