Top positive review
I enjoyed this mystery suspense novel from beginning to end.
Reviewed in the United States on November 10, 2018
This book alternates between three different stories.
Alice Lake, main character in the first story, lives in a coastal village in the U.K. called Ridinghouse Bay with her three children and three dogs. She's made some bad decisions in her life. Each of her kids have a different father, and good riddance to all three of the blokes. Alice's life is rather chaotic and messy. But she loves her kids, and they love her. There's a basic goodness about her. She would give the shirt off her back to someone in need.
And that's just what she does when she sees a man sitting on the beach one day in the rain. He looks cold and lost. When she notices he's still there several hours later, she takes a coat out to him, and learns he has amnesia. He can't tell her his name, or where he came from. Or when he last had a meal. Alice knows she shouldn't get involved. He could be an axe murderer. But, how can she leave him there? In spite of knowing it will give the village people more fodder for gossip, but she takes him in, feeds him, and decides to give him shelter for a day or two. Just until she can help him finding his identity....
In the second story, a young, beautiful woman named Lily Montose is impatiently waiting for her husband of two weeks to come home. She is from the Ukraine, where they'd met only a couple months before. After a whirlwind romance, Carl convinced her to marry him and return with him to London. They moved into a small flat, where she spends every day alone while he goes off to work. He returns promptly each evening, where he's the perfect husband, lavishing her with attention. They don't go out to eat, nor does he introduce her to family and friends. He tells her he just wants to keep her to himself for a time.
But now he's very late coming home from work. And, as the minutes and hours goes by, Lilly realises she's in a foreign country, and doesn't know a single person other than her husband. And now he's disappeared. She calls the police, but when she's unable to provide the officer with any information about her husband, they become dismissive, thinking she's a mail order bride and her husband is off having dalliance with some other woman. When she gives them her husband's passport, a computer search shows the passport is fake. The man named Carl Montose, doesn't exist...
The third story takes place 23 years earlier, in 1993, in Ridinghouse Bay. The Ross family is spending their annual holiday here, staying in the same cottage near the ocean that they do every year. Dad, mom, and teenagers Gray and Kirsty, are on the beach getting some sun. Gray becomes annoyed when he notices a guy next to them ogling his 14 year old sister. He really gets annoyed when the guy has the gall to introduce himself to them, and start a conversation. His name is Mark Tate, and he points out his aunt's house, high on the hill behind them. It's the biggest and most beautiful home in sight. Gray is alarmed when Mark asks if Kirsty would like to take a walk with him along the beach, and his parents don't object. Something about this guy really seems off to Gray. Mark appears to be at least 5 years older than Kirsty, and is way too interested in her, but his parents don't pick up on it. And Gray watches helplessly as his younger sister walks off with him....
Each of the three stories is interesting in itself, but the reader has to wait until near the end of the book before the connection between the stories is revealed. I enjoyed this mystery suspense novel from beginning to end.
I love how this author writes. This is the second book by Lisa Jewell I've read, and I now have a new favorite author. She's nudged Kate Morton, Tana French, Liane Moriorty, and Kristen Hannah down a notch.
Five stars. I'd give this book more if I could.