REVIEW: I FOUND YOU, BY LISA JEWELL

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.

Two decades of secrets, a missing husband, and a man with no memory are at the heart of this brilliant new novel.

MY THOUGHTS: 

Almost immediately, I was caught up into the life of Alice Lake and the man she finds on the beach. She is drawn to him, even though her best friend Derry warns her that he could be dangerous. But Alice, an artist, and someone who doesn’t necessarily follow a conventional path, is willing to take the risk. She feels something special in this man.The children are wary at first, but soon, even the dogs have befriended him. They call him Frank.

Meanwhile, in alternating chapters, we watch as a woman named Lily, a newly-wed in a London suburb, desperately tries to find Carl, her missing husband.

Flashing back to 1993, a story unfolds involving Gray and Kirsty Ross, and a handsome rich boy named Mark Tate, who quickly turns from charming to frightening. Each time we flash back, more of the mysterious puzzle pieces fit together.

What is the connection, if any, between these seemingly unrelated characters? Are the events in the present day a surreal coincidence, or might there be a tie between them?

I Found You was a riveting tale that kept me engaged, and even as I thought I had figured out the mysteries and the connections, I was only partially correct. I liked the ending, which felt hopeful. 5 stars.

***

REVIEW: DOMESTIC SECRETS, BY ROSALIND NOONAN

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Can close friendship win out over the secrets, lies, and betrayals of those who would threaten them?

Rachel Whalen and Ariel Alexander, both living in a suburb of Portland, Oregon, have enjoyed the bonds of friendship for years. They have had each other’s backs…and been there for their children as well. Or so they have thought.

Rachel’s second husband, Jackson, died a few years before, so she has been struggling. But she has managed to be there for her two sons, Kyle James and Jared, and also runs her styling salon.

Ariel thrives giving voice lessons, but secretly dreams about a return to Hollywood…and her four children get short shrift, according to the perspective of some. Her oldest, Cassie, away at college, is her biggest critic and the voice of reason. Younger children Remy, Trevor, & Maisy appear to be okay…but all will change when Ariel’s inability to stop from seducing every man in sight, including some inappropriate ones, takes her to a dark place. Is she still grieving the loss of her husband Oliver, or is something more going on? What predatory acts will lead to inexplicable violence, and will anyone survive the emotional storm?

Domestic Secrets is the kind of tale that keeps the reader wondering what will come along next, and how the characters will figure out a way through it all. I could not stop reading, and despite the warning signs, I was stunned by how it all played out. 4.5 stars.

REVIEW: THE BONES OF YOU, BY DEBBIE HOWELLS

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In a small English village, a young girl has gone missing. Rosie Anderson’s eighteen years flash before her eyes, as she looks down upon the life she lost; she describes this “movie of her life” as she sees it, in freeze frame images, starting in her childhood. Her voice is the first one we hear, and we will see her alternately reveal much as the story continues.

Our story then picks up with our narrator, Kate McKay, a friend of the Anderson family. Neal and Jo are Rosie’s parents, and Kate has just learned from Jo that Rosie has gone missing. Kate’s daughter Grace is distraught at the news of Rosie’s disappearance, and in the early days of August, there is still hope that she will be found. Or that they will all discover that Rosie has just gone off with a friend and no harm has come to her. After all, Rosie is not known for rebellious streaks.

Neal Anderson is a renowned journalist, charming, and many are in awe of him. His wife Jo is gorgeous and their home is perfect. Everything seems perfect. As we know in life, nothing is perfect.

And as “The Bones of You” unfolds, we learn that nothing is as it seems, and darkness lies beneath the surface. Abuse, dangerous passions, and perhaps even murderous impulses. Who can know what such people are capable of…what secrets might hide beneath the polished veneer? And why is Delphine, the youngest daughter, seemingly ignored? What secrets might she be hiding?

We see the layers of this dark, psychological suspense unpeeling slowly, and meet others in the village, like Rachael, a friend of Kate’s, and Angus, Kate’s husband. Laura is a journalist friend of Kate’s who appears after Rosie’s body is found and the determination has been made that she was murdered.

Kate was close to Rosie, who enjoyed coming over to spend time with the horses. Kate is an earthy character, a gardener, while Jo is distant, seemingly superficial, and unpredictable in her moods. She is often aloof, and then needy. Who can tell what is really going on in her perfect world, now destroyed by her daughter’s death?

There is a slow build of suspense and gradual revelations, both from Rosie’s perspective, and then through bits and pieces from others. What happened to Rosie? Could her boyfriend Alex, whom the parents disapproved of, be responsible? Or could her murderer be someone even closer?

A chilling story that kept me rapidly turning pages, figuring out some of it fairly early, but then stunned by what is finally revealed. And we see how a moral compass was lost, a brain short-circuited, and someone slipped into madness. How what we see in others often hides the truth and we may never know what that is. Until someone finds the courage to step forward. 4.5 stars.

**This e-Arc was received from the publisher via NetGalley.