Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 50% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle  Learn more Countdown to Prime Day Shop now Shop now
Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Infused with humour yet heartbreaking, 11 July 2012
This review is from: Before I Met You (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I haven't read any of Lisa Jewell's novels before but the storyline of this one intrigued me and I almost finished it in one sitting. Guernsey is certainly making its mark in fiction nowadays although in this case very little of the novel is actually set there. It is more about the Guernsey that the young women take with them. I am sure that anyone who has moved from the Channel Islands or even from a small village into a big city themselves will be able to identify with the experiences of Arlette and Betty.

Fairy Tales provide the basis for a lot of modern fiction, for `Before I Met You' `Dick Whittington' fits quite well, at least for Arlette's story. Admittedly she isn't impoverished financially and doesn't go to find her fortune but her insular world has left her impoverished in other ways, she knows nothing about the wider world and her circle of acquaintances has been small, she goes to the big city in search of excitement and real life. Betty's story has more in common with the classic quest as she goes in search of Clara Pickles who no one in the family has ever heard of before, why has Arlette left her a bequest in her Will? As far as the family are concerned Arlette had never left Guernsey.

The 2 stories run in parallel in many respects, chapter 7, set in 1995 ends with the words `Her real life had finally begun and chapter 11, set in 1919 ends with the words `Finally her life had begun'. Music links the 2, Arlette's story is set at the start of the Jazz era and Betty's at a time when Britpop ruled the world and the first person she speaks to in Soho runs a record stall in the market, there are many more parallels and connections for the reader to discover.

`Before I Met You' is at heart a good story well told. It has believable characters that I cared about; it is infused with humour yet is also heartbreaking. Soho becomes a character in its own right as we switch between the Bohemian 1920's to the grungy 1990's, where else could this story have taken place? The dual story structure kept me reading as I wanted to know what happened to the different characters, yes I did have a very good idea of how it would end but it was how Arlette and Betty got there that is important. How does Betty discover what we, the readers, already know and how will it affect the wider family? It is apparent that Arlette always intended for Betty to go on this quest and she leaves clues to help her along the way, who would have thought that a vintage fur coat would prove to be so important?

The novel also brings into question how well we actually know the people closest to us. Maybe some readers will start to wonder about their grandparents, could they have a past they know nothing about?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
  [Cancel]


Review Details