“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.
Lisa Jewell is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of nineteen novels, including The Family Upstairs and Then She Was Gone, as well as Invisible Girl and Watching You. Her novels have sold over 10 million copies internationally, and her work has also been translated into twenty-nine languages. Connect with her on Twitter @LisaJewellUK, on Instagram @LisaJewellUK, and on Facebook @LisaJewellOfficial.
“What a delightful novel! I was truly absorbed by Betty and Arlette. A wonderful perspective on the curiosity, confidences and deep affection that can exist between the generations. The story is ingeniously and seamlessly balanced within two different time frames, and the care Lisa Jewell devotes to the sense of place and the detailed fabric of each age gives her book a richness that both charms and moves.”
– Juliet Nicolson, author of Abdication
“Jewell’s many fans should eagerly embrace this story about two different women living in two different times whose lives converge in the most unexpected way.... Family dynamics, the search for love and personal meaning, and the simple yet evocative daily motions of each woman keep the pages turning. Sure to be a popular title.”
“Lisa Jewell’s latest escapist love story is heartbreakingly good.”
– Marie Claire (UK)
“GH favourite 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)
“This is another emotional clever read from Jewell, beautifully written and populated with carefully constructed characters you’ll be rooting for as you race through it.... I couldn’t put it down.”
– Sara Lawrence, Daily Mail (London)
“Rich, delightful, heartbreaking and a joy to read….Through her skilled storytelling, Jewell has proven to me that she's to London, what Maeve Binchy was to Ireland and Scotland. I highly recommend this book for fans of historical fiction, but also fans featuring beautifully layered, strong coming-of-age stories.”