East Yorkshire: Single mum Alice Lake finds a man on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, no idea what he is doing there. Against her better judgement she invites him in to her home.
Surrey: 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.
I have to admit to being a huge Lisa Jewell fan, Vince and Joy being right up there as a favourite read. When I saw her next one on NetGalley I was overjoyed to discover I’d been approved to review.
This is a beautiful evocative read which brought back so many happy memories of my childhood being as its set on and around two beach houses. Like Alice I to have spent many an hour just staring out the window on to the beach. I too have dreamed of the lives of the people passing by just a stones throw way. On the day the story begins Alice spies a stranger through her looking glass of a window, a stranger in a fugue state. Memory loss has been done to death in fiction and, initially I thought that the book would be a rehash of Random Harvest, but I was delighted that after the early comparison Ms Jewell’s pen weaved a fantastic story of love, loss and final redemption.
Alice isn’t probably the kind of character one likes to like. A single woman with three children all by different fathers and under the watchful eye of the school authorities but nevertheless one grows to like her despite her obvious failings and weaknesses. She takes in the stranger, despite knowing that it will blacken her name further. The story is sublime. So well written that it is a pure delight to let the words flow from her pen and mingle with the images she created in my mind. I could almost feel the seaspray and raindrops washing down over the pages as I raced through this story at top speed. I believe I finished it at 4am but don’t tell anyone!