Over the last year or so I’ve read all of Lisa Jewell’s books and absolutely loved them so I was extremely touched to be sent a proof copy of I Found You which is going to be published in July. Having really enjoyed Lisa Jewell’s previous novels I couldn’t wait to read this one, knowing that if it was anything like those, that it would be a wonderfully absorbing read which would leave me thinking about it after finishing it… I wasn’t disappointed, this is a brilliant book and it’s definitely one of my favourites.
When Alice finds a man on the beach, she invites him back to her house. Her children and friends think she’s crazy, but the man appears lost, he has no idea who he is or where he’s come from and she can’t just leave him out in the rain. They name him Frank and attempt to help him to recover his memory.
Whilst Alice is gently helping Frank to try to discover himself, in another part of the country Lily is frantic about her missing husband Carl. He hasn’t returned home from work and he isn’t answering his phone. The police don’t seem at all concerned about his disappearance but they are very interested in the fact that his passport isn’t a real one and that there is no record of a man of his name ever existing. So who is the man that Lily married? And why has he suddenly disappeared?
Several years previously, in the same town, Gray and his sister Kirsty are on holiday with their parents. Gray notices a man watching his sister and before long the man makes his move and introduces himself to their family as Mark. He invites Kirsty on a date and she is thrilled, having never had a boyfriend before but Gray is uncomfortable, his instincts tell him not to trust this Mark and as the holiday continues it’s clear that Kirsty is also beginning to feel uncomfortable too…
Something I have noticed, and loved, about Lisa Jewell’s books is that her characters are brilliantly formed and this is the case in this book too. They’re very ‘real’ with history and depth which makes them relateable. I particularly liked the character of Alice, I liked how she was so caring and thoughtful, not afraid to follow her instincts and help the stranger on the beach but also that she was flawed. She made mistakes, she wasn’t the perfect mother- she had three children with different fathers, she slept with her lodgers when she didn’t even like them, she would be late picking her youngest up from school… I thought she was a very strong character with her history, her doubts in herself yet her confidence to stand up for what she thought was right. I also really liked Lily too, who was so different, very blunt, very brash but a fun character, I’d love to read another book which would follow Lily more as there was so much to her she definitely has more to say in her future! The fact that the characters within this novel are so brilliantly formed means that you really get inside their heads which makes it a very powerful and quite fast-paced read at times as events unfold.
When reading this, there are lots of emotions. There are some edge of your seat, fast-paced drama, some tender, thoughtful moments, a few very dark, quite sinister scenes, there’s mystery and intrigue which makes you question and doubt people and there were times when I found myself feeling tearful and moved. All of these emotions are interwoven throughout the story and make it a really powerful read. The dark, sinister moments are not too heavy, they don’t make it a difficult read they just add to the story and make it have a lot more depth. I am just amazed by how many emotions can come from within these pages, clearly a very well written book to be able to provoke all of these.
I found it very difficult to put this book down as there was so much going on and at the end of each chapter I was left wanting to know what happened- so many cliff hangers and knife edges which resulted in me reading well into the night! When I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it, wondering what would happen next and who exactly this Frank person actually was and now that I’ve finished it I am still thinking about it.
One part of the book has stuck with me. Alice sells art made out of maps. She takes certain parts of maps that mean something to her customers and makes up a specific item for them with special memories within these locations. One of her pieces of art that she makes is of an imagined future that she has for one of the characters in the book, of places she imagined they would go… and this has made me really inspired! I have actually got a map art frame myself, with 4 important places cut out of a map in the shape of hearts… where we got married, where we met, where our children were born… and now I really want to do a future one, a bit like a bucket list… places I’m determined to go… a very visual bucket list. So that was an inspiring part of reading this!
I loved this book. I sometimes worry that the ending will be a disappointment, that it’ll be rushed or it’ll leave questions unanswered but this was not a disappointment. The ending was brilliantly done, with all of the various themes coming together leaving no questions at all… the only disappointment I had was that it was finished and I have no more of Lisa Jewell’s books to read now.
This is the kind of book that you can lose yourself in completely, where you can immerse yourself into someone else’s world for a while and switch off. It comes with brilliant characters, a rollercoaster of emotions and an intricate plot which is woven perfectly between two different time points. One warning though; you will lose sleep with not being able to put this book down!
Thank you very much to Lisa Jewell for creating a book that gave me some very much needed escapism and for treating me to this preview.
It is available to pre-order now for release on 14th July.