Before I Met You – Lisa Jewell

Before i met you

“London, 1920.  Arlette works in Liberty by day, and by night is caught 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 granddaughter 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…”

Firstly I’d like to thank the publishers for sending me this book to read and give an honest review.  I love a good mystery so the blurb really intrigued me and even at that point I was trying to come up with ideas as to what the big secret was!

The first thing I learned from the book was that Arlette (the elderly Arlette, her personal story hadn’t started yet) had broken her hip and so her son, his girlfriend and her young daughter Elizabeth were going to stay at her house to look after her.  It was clear that Elizabeth wasn’t too happy about it until a touching moment between her and Arlette changed all that for the better.  It was at this moment that Arlette called Elizabeth ‘Betty’ and it stuck – she was Betty throughout the rest of the book.  Their bond grew as Betty grew up, especially after Arlette suffered a stroke and became bed bound.  I was amazed that a young woman would stay in the house just to take care of an elderly lady, this was such an admirable thing to do and I thought very highly of Betty after that.

Betty clearly loved Arlette and I really enjoyed their interactions so I felt sad when I learned that Arlette had passed away.  It was at the reading of her Last Will & Testament that the mystery began – an unknown beneficiary from London confused Arlette’s family and Betty decided that she would head there in an attempt to find this person.  Betty had always dreamed of going to Soho, London after visiting with her mother when she was young so it was an exciting opportunity for her and one that she grasped with both hands.  I had a couple of theories as to who the mystery beneficiary was but ended up being completely wrong!

As Betty settled into her new life (not without some difficulties I might add) she began to uncover secrets that shocked her and showed a completely different side to her step-grandmother.  Alongside Betty’s story was Arlette’s story from the 1920s, I really enjoyed this part because she was such a fascinating character!  There were times when history seemed to be repeating itself and this concerned me and made me smile all at the same time, I had become really quite fond of Betty and wanted her to make the right choices – in life and in love.  Both stories had me hooked and I enjoyed fitting together all the pieces of the mystery, I couldn’t rest until I had completed the puzzle and by this point I felt rather emotional.

The writing was captivating, creating an intriguing atmosphere and touching on subjects that pulled at my heartstrings.

This was a wonderful read filled with romance, secrets and mystery – expect to feel a range of emotions!


Lisa Jewell was born and raised in north London, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.  She is the bestselling author of Ralph’s Party, Thirtynothing, One-Hit Wonder, Vince & Joy, A Friend of the Family, 31 Dream Street, The Truth About Melody Browne, After the Party and The Making of Us, all of which have been Sunday Times bestsellers.  One of the UK’s most talented contemporary novelists, she has sold over 1 million books in the UK and is published in over twenty countries.

To find out more about Lisa Jewell click on the following links:

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Before I Met You was published by Arrow in paperback on 9 May 2013, it can be purchased from The Book DepositoryAmazon or from most good book retailers.


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