Imagine the 1920s. Imagine the clothes, the atmosphere and jazz clubs in the middle of Soho, London. Imagine being there dancing to the music with your artistic friends and loving every minute after your shift at Liberty. And now also imagine the 1990s. Brit-pop London and again being in the middle of Soho with pop stars, green hair and in search for the history and possibly a job. I imagined all that this weekend when I more or less started and finished Before I Met You by Lisa Jewell in a few hours. I don't think I ever have read a book so fast in my life before. It felt more like I inhaled the book than actually read it, because it was just completely lovely and breathtaking.
When the story begins we meet Betty as a child moving into the old lady Arlette's mansion and what is supposed to be a short visit for Betty becomes a permanent stay which Betty does not mind at all. She comes to love Arlette and her house and stays there to take care of her until the day she dies. In Arlette's will, she leaves Betty clues to a past that no one knew Arlette ever had. Betty moves to London to search for her own future and Arlette's past.
As I already have mentioned this book is purely magical. I loved it so much that it took my breath away. I was quite sure that my first meeting with Jewell's books was going to be a good one but I had no idea I was going to cry my eyes out and that I was going to love ever word in the book. Because Jewell is not only a good storyteller, she is also excellent at creating emotions and word combinations that will make your toes curl by happiness. This book is just absolutely amazing but I have already mentioned that about ten times now, haven't I? I know I keep repeating myself but it is so good that I actually don't care.
As I also already mentioned, this is the first book I have ever read by Jewell but it will definitely not be the last one. I loved hanging out with Betty in search for here grandmothers past and this book have so many ingredients that I fall for. Just the fact that there is a huge desolated mansion in the middle of an island and family mysteries, warmed me up like a warm blanket a cold autumn evening. There are characters that are unpredictable but extremely interesting and there is a story that keeps you hooked for almost four hundred pages. This book is just magic (yes I said it again) and Lisa Jewell's style reminds me of Kate Morton's books that as many of you already know I adore. So that this book goes directly up on my favorite list probably wont surprise you by now. This was really a reading experience of a life time.