Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Before I Met You” as Want to Read:
Before I Met You
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Before I Met You

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,599 Ratings  ·  318 Reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 458 pages
Published July 19th 2012 by Century (first published January 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Before I Met You, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Before I Met You

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Stacia (the 2010 club)
Jun 06, 2013 Stacia (the 2010 club) rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Jojo Moyes or emotional litfic
Recommended to Stacia (the 2010 club) by: Picked up on a whim because the idea looked intriguing
He was not a boss-eyed sailor. Or a rapist. He was a legend.

...and that folks, is where I cried. There is something about a story where the truth comes out of hiding that really does something to me. While I didn't quite make it to Jellicoe Road snot-inducing tears, there were still plenty of buried hormones which bubbled up to the surface - enough to produce a steady stream of tears to run down my face for a couple of minutes.

I was about due for a book to stir up some emotions in me. Someti
Sep 01, 2012 Stephanie rated it did not like it
Shelves: boring, abandoned
I'm the only person on Goodreads so far to give this book one star. I have read all of Lisa Jewell's other books and thoroughly enjoyed them. But I just didn't care about this one. The writing was formulaic, you knew exactly what was going to happen, the characters were one dimensional and stereotypical, and overall it was rather boring. Maybe I've just out grown Lisa Jewell, but I'm sure if she wrote this novel as her first, it wouldn't have been published.
Nov 10, 2015 Susan rated it liked it
I've read and enjoyed Lisa Jewell's books for more than ten years, and I highly recommend both One-Hit Wonder and A Friend of the Family. But Before I Met You left me cold. Jewell does a good job of portraying the combination of wide-eyed wonder, tinge of fear, and naive determination that both Betty, in the 1990s, and Arlette, in the 1920s, feel as young women on their own in a big city for the first time. She also keeps the pages turning to find out the mystery behind the beneficiary in Arlett ...more
Jul 23, 2012 Anne rated it it was amazing
I enjoy well written chick lit, but I’ve always avoided Lisa Jewell – I have no idea why, but I always thought she was at the “fluffy” end of the spectrum. This book is so good it really moves her out of the chick lit camp for me, it was a wonderful and really different read. If I say it reminded me of the best of JoJo Moyes, I mean it as a real compliment. Betty’s 90s story – part love story, part investigation of the past – is interspersed with the story of Arlette and her life amid the bohemi ...more
Hilary Tesh
Jul 18, 2013 Hilary Tesh rated it did not like it
A good idea for an interesting plot, but the author couldn't get far enough away from her usual chick lit style to do it justice. The result was much too twee for me and also littered with silly and avoidable inaccuracies. Of these, for me, the worst was on page 430: "a big, empty house on a cliff, with distant tantalising views towards the white cliffs of Dover" . The house was in Guernsey, Dover is over 200 miles away! And if distance and the earth's curvature were not a big enough obstacle, t ...more
Tara Chevrestt
I bailed at 72%. I just really hated this book and its heroines. I will give it points for keeping me intrigued. After all, I kept plunging along even though I disliked its heroines. I kept thinking, "Well, I want to know what happened" even after I figured out who the mysterious Pickle lady was. It was so obvious.

But the heroines just totally suck. While I don't expect them to be perfect..they must have flaws as we all do, can they possibly be more unlikable and STUPID?

The modern-day girl--she
Hannah Fielding
Nov 29, 2012 Hannah Fielding rated it it was amazing
For me, curling up with a Lisa Jewell novel is like curling up with a coffee in front of a warm fire – comforting, cosy with the guarantee that it will warm the cockles of my heart. This book did not disappoint. Well-written, vivid and at once warm and funny and poignant and moving. It’s a more mature read than some of Lisa’s earlier novels – even with a relatively young heroine, it is less ‘chicklit’ in feel and deals with some serious rather than frivolous themes.

I especially enjoyed the dual
Diane Lochner
Dec 11, 2013 Diane Lochner rated it it was ok
Formulaic in the sense of "somewhat rootless and or aimless or temporarily lost or adrift young-ish woman moves away or moves home, only to find a tantalizing scrap of family or perfect stranger history that for unknown reasons compels her to find the whole truth and consumes her waking hours; she may not even know why she Has To Do This, except as the entire plot and purpose of the novel existing; that is, the waking hours she is not living a charmingly shabby chic life while juggling multiple ...more
Oct 27, 2013 Resa rated it it was ok
Lisa Jewell has created an interesting story of 20-something Betty, leaving her home island of Gurnsey for the city of London to see what life has in store for her while trying to find the mysterious Clara Pickle, the woman her step-grandmother has left all her money to. The story takes Betty into 1920s London and a world of Jazz clubs and intrigue she didn’t think her grandmother was capable of.

Unfortunately the novelty of the plot is all this novel has going for it. With flat, unrealistic ch
Lisa B.
Aug 11, 2014 Lisa B. rated it liked it
My Thoughts

This story is told in the alternating voices of Betty, from the 1990s, and Arlette, from the 1920s.

Arlette is Betty’s grandmother. Betty is trying to solve a mystery from her grandmother’s past while navigating through her own ever changing life.

This is the first book I’ve read by Ms. Jewell and I found it to be very entertaining. I liked both characters and found their stories to be intriguing. I thought the author did a great job of weaving together the past and the present. This st
Mar 10, 2014 Holly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
I was expecting this to be better than what it was. It started off great but then somewhere in the middle I kind of lost interest. I wanted to know what happened so I kept reading but I didn't really get into the characters. Just finished with a lukewarm feeling overall. Just a little disappointed. The use of the f-word was over used as well, which became very irritating!
Oct 17, 2012 Damaskcat rated it liked it
I started reading this book with high hopes and finished it rather disappointed. It's about two women - Betty in the mid 1990s and Arlette in the 1920s. So far so good. Betty nurses her step-grandmother , Arlette, for the last few years of her life in an isolated house in Guernsey. When the old lady dies Betty finds she's been left a fur coat and one thousand pounds and she must track down a lady called Clara Pickle to whom the bulk of Arlette's estate has been left. She has a year to do this an ...more
Lara Kleinschroth
Oct 01, 2013 Lara Kleinschroth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Before I Met You is reminiscent of the books by Kate Morton - modern day young woman searching for clues to an old family mystery, while the reader is invited inside the world of that mystery, as the two stories gradually draw closer to each other. This one is perhaps a little more hip, less gothic than Morton's tales. The characters in both time periods are fun - young women leaving home for the first time and looking for adventure in the big city. There are many parallels between the 2 women a ...more
Shonna Froebel
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 men ...more
Sep 18, 2012 Karen rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book with its dual time frame. The story alternatives between Arlette and her life in 1920’s London and that of Betty, her step-granddaughter, finding her way in the world on her own for the first time in London in the 1990’s, and tracing the footsteps of her grandmother whilst trying to track down a beneficiary in Arlette’s will, named Clara Pickle, who no-one in the family has ever heard of.

Both Arlette and Betty were innocents and of similar age when they left their isla
Cleo Bannister
Aug 21, 2013 Cleo Bannister rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before I Met You is written in my favourite style, it is set in dual time-periods. Betty is in her early twenties in the 1990's when following the death of her Step-Grandmother Arlette she moves from Guernsey to Soho to trace the mysterious Clara Pickle who has been left a bequest in Arlette's will. The family have no idea who Clara Pickle is, no-one has ever heard her mentioned and as far as they know Arlette spent her whole life in Guernsey.

Lisa Jewell's writing drew me into the story immediat
Jun 13, 2013 Scrimpton rated it really liked it
I absolutely love books with a mystery that flips between era's, and this is the reason I bought this book(it reminded me of the style of Kate Morton's books - which are amazing). This certainly is a "page turner", and I loved the characters and style of writing. Towards the end I couldn't put this book down as we get closer to solving the mystery of Clara Pickle, and yes it jerked a tear at the end. But, I wrongly predicted the twist and for that reason, I don't know if I ruined the ending for ...more
Jul 23, 2015 Barbara rated it it was amazing
I knew when I saw this book months ago on Book Bub or other similar site that I would be enthralled. I was not disappointed. I loved the two story threads, Arlette in the 1920's and her granddaughter Betty in 1995. I love a mystery story where a character has a past that no one knew about. The clues are left after Arlette passes away and Betty feels it's her job to solve the mystery. She leaves Guernsey to head off to Soho in London in order to find the mysterious Clara Pickle, so she can tell h ...more
Jul 21, 2015 Janet rated it it was ok
Shelves: drama
This book started out so great. I was sure it was going to be great. It wasn't. The characters that held such promise became characters that I became less and less invested in. Elizabeth (Betty) was the only one I hung in there with, but she was such a strange dichotomy that I had a hard time connecting with her. On the one hand, she was mature and sensible, but on the other, she used terrible judgement and was incredibly naive. I quite liked Arlette until she revealed that she hated her son, fo ...more
Carolyn (Book Chick City)
Audiobook: Started out ok, but then dragged and just didn't go anywhere - found it a bit boring. Shame but couldn't be bothered to continue.
Megan Readinginthesunshine
May 08, 2013 Megan Readinginthesunshine rated it it was amazing
I had never read a book by Lisa Jewell before, and after reading Before I Met You, I asked myself “Where have I been? How did I not know about this author?!” Lisa Jewel has such a talent for writing, her words are put together beautifully creating a book that is very hard to put down!

This book has two story lines, one set in the 1920′s and the other set a bit later on in the 1990′s, and Lisa effortlessly weaves the two stories together to create a wonderful tale. We meet Arlette, Betty’s grandmo
Nov 05, 2012 Julie rated it it was ok
I pounced on this one and was eager to start it as the cover had teased me from various bookshelves, and one day at the library I saw it's new cover peaking out at me. So even with six reserves to pick up, I took it out as well and started it first.

We get to meet Betty who grows up on Guernsey looking after her elderly grandmother until her death. Finding a few clues to a woman mentioned in the will, Betty escapes to the mid nineties Soho London with just a few pounds and a mink coat.

Jun 24, 2013 Gail rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
I love Lisa Jewell's books and they normally have been laughing out loud. I needed some light relief so started to read this one.

It's very very good, slightly implausible in parts at times, but is much more serious than any of Lisa's previous books.

The story is split between the early 1920's and the early 1990's, with Arlette De La Mare and Elizabeth (Betty) Dean, respectively. I very much enjoyed the story of Arlette more than that of Betty and that is where I think I was slightly let down. I d
Amanda Patterson
Dec 08, 2012 Amanda Patterson rated it liked it
Lisa Jewell has a gift. She writes beautifully.
After her grandmother, Arlette, dies, Betty Dean leaves Guernsey for London to find Clara Pickle, the mysterious beneficiary in Arlette’s will.
The novel flips between Arlette’s youth in 1920s bohemian London and Betty Dean’s adventures in Soho in the 1990s. Arlette, a stunning beauty, followed her heart, found a job, found a great love, and lost it all. She returned to Guernsey, settled down, married and never told anyone she had even lived in Londo
Barbara Elsborg
Jul 22, 2013 Barbara Elsborg rated it really liked it
To be honest, I didn't actually fancy reading this book. The blurb didn't hook me. I'm not keen on stories that vacillate between time periods BUT I really like Lisa Jewell's other books so I thought I'd try it. I wasn't immediately pulled in but the more I read, the more I liked it. I became engrossed in the story of Arlette and the mysterious Clara Pickle. Jewell did a good job of slowly putting the puzzle together while keeping the reader's interest. I liked the parallel story of Betty and Do ...more
Rachel Hawes
Jul 05, 2014 Rachel Hawes rated it liked it
Shelves: chick-lit, kindle, 2014
This was very good with a page turning plot but I was left with the feeling that it wasn't quite the book Jewell wanted to write. There was a lot more passion in the parts of the book set in the 20s. The ending had me in tears on a crowded plane though :)
Jan 23, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
4.5 stars. Lovely story line that makes you block out the world and has you focusing on the story.
Petula Darling
Jan 19, 2015 Petula Darling rated it it was ok
Not badly written, but not particularly enjoyable or engaging either.
Best Crime Books & More
Oct 30, 2015 Best Crime Books & More rated it really liked it
I tend to get around to Lisa Jewell's books a lot later than they are published and I make the same mistake every single time (doh!). I pick up the book, devour it and fall in love with her latest novel. I then tell myself I'm an idiot for not reading it sooner and then by the time the next one comes around I do it all over again. With this book released in 2012, here I am again making the same mistake. With Jewell's latest book it feels almost like she has taken a departure from her usual topic ...more
Megan Jones
Jul 21, 2014 Megan Jones rated it really liked it
When I found out that Before I Met You was a different path for Lisa Jewell and not like her usual style, I was not looking forward to reading it but I read it anyway and I am so glad I did the whole book is beautifully written and I found myself swept along with the romanticism of it all. The book alternates between the 1920s and the 1995, and both eras are very well done although I did prefer the 1920s sections as they were fun and capture the traditional views of the 1920s perfectly. The plot ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Sep 05, 2015 12:02PM  
Mansfield Public ...: The" Before I met You" review by Anne Hope Clausen 1 2 Aug 07, 2014 05:58PM  
What age would you recommend this to? 3 16 Oct 04, 2013 01:28PM  
  • Whatever It Takes
  • Not Without You
  • The Long Weekend
  • The Runaway Wife
  • Foursome
  • The Midnight Rose
  • Stranded
  • Step Back In Time
  • The Cornish House
  • The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris
  • Take A Look At Me Now
  • Astor Place Vintage
  • Wonder Women
  • Outrageous Fortune
  • The Longest Holiday
  • Lost and Found
  • A Half Forgotten Song
  • The Secrets Between Us
Lisa Jewell (born 19th July 1968, Middlesex, London) is a popular British author of chick lit fiction. Her books include Ralph's Party, Thirtynothing and most recently 31 Dream Street. She lives in Swiss Cottage, London with her husband Jascha and daughters Amelie Mae (born 2003) and Evie Scarlett (born 2007).

Lisa's Facebook page:
More about Lisa Jewell...

Share This Book

“you are the only woman I have ever met who I would want to be in a little house with, do you see? Other women make me want to get on boats and run away. You, you make me want to stay somewhere, so that I can see your face everyday. So that I can hold you everyday and watch you grow older. You make me want to be an adult man. You make me want to settle down.” 4 likes
“You're here every night, you join in, but you always seem to be - I don't know - more of a spectator than a participant, as if you are studying us, possibly for some sort of anthropological purpose. Do you even like us?” 2 likes
More quotes…