The last time I read something by Lisa Jewell was 2 years ago, and I absolutely loved it. The book was The Girls in the Garden, and I found the thriller to be very engrossing. With that experience in mind, I was really excited to see how this novel would turn out! Here is my review:
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 London, newly-wed Lily Monrose’s husband fails to come home from work one night. Stranded in a country where she knows no one, Lily goes to the police – only to find out that the man she calls husband never existed. 23 years ago, Gray and Kirsty were teenagers on holiday with their parents. But their annual trip to the seaside town takes a disturbing turn when an enigmatic young man starts to pay attention to Kirsty. As these 3 paths intertwine, lies will be told, hidden secrets will be revealed, and lives will be changed forever.
What I had loved about The Girls in the Garden was how character-driven the story was. This novel was also heavily character-driven, which would have been great … except I didn’t like the characters. Every single one of them is so needy and so unbelievable. For example, let’s take the character of Alice. Even if you consider yourself to be very outgoing and in the habit of making bad mistakes, why would you bring a random stranger into your house? Especially considering that you have children who live with you? Okay, say I believe that you want to be a nice and helpful person – why would you let them stay for longer than a day? In what planet does it not strike you to call the police and get them to help you? And why, oh why, would you start up a romance?! The sheer amount of Lily’s character, while being well developed, was one that I just didn’t like. The way she spoke and acted were not always synchronous with her emotions so I would sometimes feel confused by what she was thinking or feeling (especially nearer to the end when everything was revealed). I didn’t actually mind the missing guy’s character, nor did I mind the story line that takes place 23 years ago; in fact, those were the only 2 things I liked about the novel. By the time I got to the middle of the novel, I had pretty much figured everything out. Nearly all of my predictions came true (and I’m usually pretty bad at predicting things). I don’t actually mind that sometimes thrillers can be easy to predict – as long as the story is well-written and clearly resolved, I can still enjoy it. This was not the case here. When the final turn of events were occurring, it was a complete mess. All of the characters come together, and then some random journalist gets involved where she really didn’t have to, and nobody does anything logical. Not at all. Everything is revealed in such a way that it made me dislike the entire novel. I’m actually quite sad that I didn’t like this book more, especially since a lot of people gave it rave reviews. But the actions of certain characters, combined with an ending that was implausible and random were just too much for me. I’m giving this a 2/5 stars because I liked the storyline that took place in the past. But that’s the only positive from me.