Friday, May 5, 2017

Book Review: I Found You

By Jami Deise

Amnesia may be a soap opera cliché – I know fans of General Hospital who are still hoping that Jason Morgan remembers being Jason Quartermaine, and he lost his memory (for the first time, anyway) in 1996 – but that’s only because it’s such a strong launching point for a story. A character who can’t remember anyone could turn out to be anybody.

The word “amnesia,” however, never finds its way into Lisa Jewell’s latest novel, I Found You. Rather “Frank,” as he’s dubbed, is suffering from a “fugue state” – he can’t remember his name, his life, or any details about how he found himself on the beach on Ridinghouse Bay, soaked to the gills after a day in the rain. Or at least that’s what he tells single mom Alice Lake, who takes him in despite her better judgment. Alice has three children from three different men, none of whom married her. “Better judgment” and “Alice” are not good friends.

While Alice tries to help “Frank” remember who he is, 21-year-old Lily Monrose is searching desperately for her missing husband Carl. Married only three weeks, Lily is from Ukraine and met the much-older Carl while working as a translator there. He disappeared suddenly on his way home from work in London. When she gave his passport to the police, they told her that there was no such person as Carl Monrose.

The third point-of-view in this novel comes from 17-year-old Gray, who is vacationing in Ridinghouse Bay in 1993 with his parents and 15-year-old sister Kirsty. When Kirsty catches the eye of 19-year-old Mark, Gray is alarmed, but his parents make light of his worries. Gray is the quintessential “nice guy” who’s never been kissed, as girls only see him as a friend. Perhaps his distrust of Mark is based in jealousy. Perhaps not.

As the story unfolds, vacillating among these three points-of-view, the biggest mystery seems to be whether “Frank” is Carl, and whether “Frank” will turn out to be Gray or Mark. But Jewell is a much deeper writer than others who write pure thriller, and her characters resonate much more as a result. Forty-something Alice, despite her abysmal taste in men (the father of her youngest child actually kidnapped the girl at one point), still longs for love, and the reader can’t help but hope that “Frank” turns out to be a decent guy and unattached, as Alice falls for him. Lily is just cunning enough that perhaps she knows more than she says. But the real heart of the story is Gray, too young to have any power to stop the speeding train coming for his family, and too mature to look the other way while it happens.

While I’ve only read two of Jewell’s offerings – The House We Grew Up In and The Girls in the Garden – it seems that no one does flawed motherhood as well as she does. Although she’s been compared to Liane Moriarty and Jojo Moyes, Jewell’s female protagonists have a certain childlike quality that the protagonists in other women’s fiction do not. In another book, that feature might have been funny. In Jewell’s novels, it becomes a fatal flaw. Specifically, in I Found You, a mother’s lack of judgment and romantic notions over her own teenage years lead to tragedy – a tragedy that left me in tears.

My only quibble is that the villain of the piece does not have a final confrontation with the protagonist – in fact, two major confrontations take place off-screen. The climax is communicated to readers via newspaper article, rather than in scene work. Perhaps Jewell or her editor felt this would tilt the book more toward the women’s fiction genre than thriller, but it left me feeling "ripped off."

Even so, I Found You is a strong addition to Jewell’s repertoire, and her fans should be pleased with this addition. If you’re not a fan, Jewell is a prolific writer with a book or two out every year, and she is worth following. Her back list is extensive, and I’ll be adding all her works to my library “holds” list this weekend.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for the book in exchange for an honest review. They are giving away THREE copies as part of Lisa's tour. Visit all the stops here.


How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here


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Giveaway ends May 19th.

More by Lisa Jewell:

17 comments:

Janine said...

Sounds like an interesting story

Tatum Rangel said...

Thanks for the giveaway! :)

Nancy said...

This sounds like a book I'd enjoy reading.

Nancy
allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

cpr040304 said...

The book sounds intense. I love it! Thanks for the opportunity!

Cindy Servatt said...

I have this book on my to read list. Great review thanks!

Jodi Marinch said...

sounds great

Susan Roberts said...

I have enjoyed her previous books and look forward to reading this one. Thanks

Elizabeth Glenn said...

I just read my first book by Lisa Jewell. I really liked it so I'd love to read her new book.

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this twisty-turny read! Thanks for being a part of the tour.

Angie Stormer said...

I noticed on the TLC book tour site that you did a review on the book and I have been really wanting to read it. I was curious what you thought about it. Thanks for the giveaway & great review! I have my fingers crossed...

Burma Turner said...

I love books like this, it sounds amazing!

Melanie Backus said...

Wow! Sounds like a winner!

Top rated Immigration Attorney Seattle said...

Jewell is a wonderful storyteller. Her characters are believable, her writing is strong and poetic, and her narrative is infused with just enough intrigue to keep the pages turning.

Jencey Gortney said...

I don't often get to check out writers on my own, but Lisa Jewell sounds like an interesting read.

susieqlaw said...

Sounds like a thrilling read!

rubynreba said...

I would love to read this!

Teena in Toronto said...

I just finished it and liked it.