#BookReview - I Found You by Lisa Jewell

Everyone has secrets. What if you can't remember yours?

'How long have you been sitting out here?'
'I got here yesterday.'
'Where did you come from?'
'I have no idea.'

Lily 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.

Alice 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 into her home.

But who is he, and how can she trust a man who has lost his memory?

Two women, twenty years of secrets and a man who can't remember lie at the heart of Lisa Jewell's brilliant novel.

Not working during the summer months means I'm finally managing to read some of the books in my TBR pile (let's not mention those I've added...!) and as much as I love the shiny new releases it's lovely catching up with the books I missed when they were first published. I Found You is one of those books I've been meaning to read for ages. I started just before I went away on a trip and so instead of the early night I'd planned, I stayed up until 2.30am reading it because I had to know what happened.
I Found You is really three stories in one. The first begins in Ridinghouse Bay, a fictional town on the Yorkshire coast when Alice finds a man sitting on the beach in the pouring rain. When he's still there several hours later, and she discovers he has no idea who he is or how he ended up there, she takes him back to her house. Alice has a history of questionable - to say the least - life choices and her friend and older children are horrified by her decision to bring this mysterious, possibly dangerous man into their lives. However, Alice's youngest daughter, Romaine responds more positively to him and gives him his new name - Frank, and when her least trusting dog, Griff rests his chin on his knee, Alice is convinced he's a good person. Frank isn't so sure though, as his memories gradually start to return he is horrified by the glimpses into his past, and has a terrible feeling he may have done something really awful.
Meanwhile in London, Lily's husband has disappeared. At first the police aren't interested, a married man not coming home from work isn't a high priority case after all. Lily knows different though, they've only been married for three weeks and Carl adores her, the loving texts, 'two-week anniversary' cards and gifts and his desperation to be home from work and back with her are proof of that. Theirs was a whirlwind courtship and now Lily is alone in a strange country, despite her excellent knowledge of the English language she is still learning the more subtle cultural differences between the Ukraine and Britain, and she soon realises she doesn't know her new husband as well as she thought she did.
The third story in I Found You is set in back in Ridinghouse Bay but this involves events that occurred there back in 1993. Gray and Kirsty have reached that age where a holiday with their parents is something to be endured rather than enjoyed. Kirsty thinks her luck may be changing though when a handsome stranger shows an interest in her. Gray is not impressed, especially when he sees her and Mark kissing. Gray has lots of girl friends but they are just that, they all say how good he is to talk to, but his little sister has her first kiss before he does. Is his suspicion of Mark just down to teenage jealousy or is he right to have his doubts?
Eventually, of course the three stories are woven together and we learn the truth about these mysterious men and discover the horrific events that went before. I Found You is a riveting story of love and obsession.  Lisa Jewell has combined this compelling and complex storyline with superb characterisation. These are real people with complicated. often relatable lives. We all know, or are an Alice, trying to juggle her family life with her own needs; we can sympathise with young Lily, desperate to make her marriage and new life a success; we remember those heady days of infatuations and first loves; we've all been rejected or been the one who rebuffed the attentions of another. It's this normality perhaps that makes I Found You so chilling, the shocking truth behind the story is frighteningly believable; it also makes the book far more than a taut thriller, it's also a touching, poignant look at loneliness, redemption and the need to be loved.
I may have been the bleary eyed one on the train the following day but I regret nothing, I Found You was worth every minute of lost sleep, I loved it!

I Found You is published in the UK by Arrow Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Lisa Jewell is on Twitter as @lisajewelluk

About the Author

Lisa Jewell was born in London in 1968. Her mother was a secretary and her father was a textile agent and she was brought up in the northernmost reaches of London with her two younger sisters. She was educated at a Catholic girls’ Grammar school in Finchley. After leaving school at sixteen she spent two years at Barnet College doing an arts foundation course and then two years at Epsom School of Art & Design studying Fashion Illustration and Communication.

She worked for the fashion chain Warehouse for three years as a PR assistant and then for Thomas Pink, the Jermyn Street shirt company for four years as a receptionist and PA. She started her first novel, Ralph’s Party, for a bet in 1996. She finished it in 1997 and it was published by Penguin books in May 1998. It went on to become the best-selling debut novel of that year. I Found You is her fourteenth novel.

She now lives in an innermost part of north London with her husband and two daughters.