Before I Met You

Before I Met You

A Novel

Paperback - 2013
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"Lisa Jewell leaves the chick-lit tag firmly behind with Before I Met You , a poignant story about a young woman uncovering her grandmother's bohemian life in 1920s London--and finding her own place in the world in the process."-- Good Housekeeping (UK)

"Jewell's moving novel immerses readers in the lives of these unique characters through the universal themes of family and a search for belonging...a compelling and entertaining novel." -- Publishers Weekly

Jazz Age London, a passionate and forbidden interracial romance, and the unbreakable bond between a bright young woman and her eccentric grandmother come together brilliantly in this gem of a novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone , perfect for fans of Downton Abbey , Twenties Girl , and The Chaperone.

After her grandmother Arlette's death, Betty is finally ready to begin her life. She had forfeited university, parties, boyfriends, summer jobs--all the usual preoccupations of a woman her age--in order to care for Arlette in their dilapidated, albeit charming home on the English island of Guernsey. Her will included a beneficiary unknown to Betty and her family, a woman named Clara Pickle who presumably could be found at a London address. Now, having landed on a rather shabby street corner in '90s Soho, Betty is determined to find the mysterious Clara. She's ready for whatever life has to throw her way. Or so she thinks . . .

In 1920s bohemian London, Arlette De La Mare is starting her new life in a time of postwar change. Beautiful and charismatic, she is soon drawn into the hedonistic world of the Bright Young People. But two years after her arrival in London, tragedy strikes and she flees back to her childhood home and remains there for the rest of her life.

As Betty navigates the ups and downs of city life and begins working as a nanny for a rock star tabloid magnet, her search for Clara leads her to a man--a stranger to Betty, but someone who meant the world to her grandmother. Will the secrets of Arlette's past help Betty find her own way to happiness in the present?

A rich detective story and a captivating look at London then and now, Before I Met You is an unforgettable novel about two very different women, separated by seventy years, but united by big hearts and even bigger dreams.
Publisher: New York : Atria Paperback, 2013.
Edition: First Atria Books trade paperback edition.
ISBN: 9781476702940
1476702942
Characteristics: 435 pages ; 22 cm

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KathyS1
Jan 06, 2021

I just could not get into this book! It did not "grab me." After 100 or so pages I gave up. I have really liked all of the other Lisa Jewell novels I have read, but not this one.

k
kimslugg
Jul 28, 2020

Can I come and pick this book up tonight?

v
vivica1000
Feb 04, 2020

I couldn't stop listening to the audio book. This story is SO memorizing! Such a great story. Highly Recommend!

p
pooja_rajpathak
Sep 29, 2019

It's a wonderful book where you will see yourself turning pages one after the other very curiously. Wonderful book. A must read. I love how Lisa Jewell writes her books .just loved it.

Cdnbookworm Nov 09, 2013

This lovely novel had me completely enraptured. Liz moves to the island of Guernsey at the age of ten with her mother, Alison, and stepfather, Jolylon, to live with her stepfather's mother, Arlette, and becomes Betty. Betty is very close to her grandmother, a woman who loves clothes and stylish things. When Arlette has a stroke and the develops Alzheimer's, Betty's parents can't cope and move out, but Betty stays, becoming Arlette's caregiver for several years. Upon Arlette's death, the will mentions a beneficiary none of the family have ever heard of, Clara Pickle, and Betty sets off to London on a search that will take her places she never imagined.
The story goes back and forth between Betty's search for Arlette's story and Clara, and Arlette's story in the years from 1919 to 1921 in London. Arlette's London is a London of fashion, music, parties, art, and love. From Liberty's to jazz clubs, parties with black jazz musicians, sitting for portraits, living a life full of happiness to heartbreak and tragedy, this is a life you won't forget. And Betty too, finds a life in London, from working in a burger joint, to mixing with rock stars, antique dealers, and others looking to make a life for themselves.
This is a story of London, of a particular bubble of time in the years just after World War I, and of learning the stories of those we love. A wonderful story.

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