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Before I Met You

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3.87  ·  Rating details ·  5,400 ratings  ·  532 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, 435 pages
Published October 15th 2013 by Atria Books (first published January 2012)
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3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,400 ratings  ·  532 reviews


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Stacia (the 2010 club)
Mar 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Stephanie
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.
Hilary Tesh
Jul 11, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Holly
Jul 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
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!
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
...more
Susan
Jun 13, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Hannah Fielding
Nov 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Anne
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Diane Lochner
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
Resa
Oct 04, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Damaskcat
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
Cleo Bannister
Aug 15, 2013 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
...more
Julie
Aug 04, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.

Alternating
...more
Lisa B.
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
...more
Sakinah
It was totally unpredictable. You read it and think that you can see where it would take you but the truth is you are totally wrong and nothing from what you've guessed is true.

It took me by surprise in lots of pages and I was dreading to reach the end as I wasn't ready to gave my heart broken. .
.
I liked it so much. It was an enjoyable read and heartwarming even though there is some sadness in it.
It is an underrated book and definitely needs more attention.
_____________________________
4.5

.5 i
...more
sue
Apr 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
I was lucky to get this one from the publishers to give an honest review and I must say, this was an excellent detailed read.

After reading her grandmother's will, she became intrigued with a mysterious woman mentioned in there. She couldn't let this rest until she found more out about her and all that it entalled.

It keeps turning pages, it really is an excellent read which you can expect from Lisa Jewell.

You will find this at Random house publishers and other book outlets
Bookread2day
Jul 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A marvellously written novel. Lisa Jewell is one of the best women writters. I always seem to be able to get into her books straight away. For any reader that has not read any of Lisa's book , please do try them all. I am sure readers and book clubs with love them all.
Scottsdale Public Library
Before I Met You, by Lisa Jewell, is a story told by the alternating viewpoints of Betty, from the 1990s, and Arlette, Betty's grandmother, from the 1920s. The characters from both time periods are free spirited and independent, but Arlette is the one whose story was unexpectedly intriguing. Arlette lived in Soho during the early 1920s but left and lived the remainder of her life in Guernsey. Betty has been living on Guernsey since a young child and taken care of her grandmother. When Arlette di ...more
Ange H
Mar 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
I have enjoyed all of the Lisa Jewell novels that I have read so far, including this one - but it was not my favorite. I already know this author's style so I expected a slow build up, but this one took me even longer than usual to get into; and I felt the story was kind of weak. There was a dual timeline and I liked the story of the present (well, early 1990's) better. Betty Dean was a really likable main character, a young girl having a good time on her own for the first time in London.

I care
...more
Bea Purple
Sweet, twee, rather lovely
Shonna Froebel
Nov 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Scrimpton
Jun 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Juliana Graham
This book was quite different to others that I've read by Lisa Jewell, in that it alternated between the 1990s and the 1920s whereas most of her other books are contemporary in setting. The main present day character was only in her early twenties but she was still relatable and similarly the 1920s character of Arlette was also convincing.

There are a couple of shocking twists and a lot of really unfortunate instances of cruel timing which had me sadly shaking my head. All the ends were tied up
...more
Lara Kleinschroth
Sep 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Karen
Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Janet
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Barbara
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Ami
I enjoyed the first part of this book, but found myself fizzling out about half way through. I didn't warm to either main character, nor did I understand them. Additionally, the storyline became a little predictable. Although I typically love those books that see-saw back and forth through time, this one fell flat: the sort of literary equivalent of a bottle of soda left uncapped for a day.
Carolyn  Storer
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.
Clare
Jun 09, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Again this is another book that I gave up on half way through. Didn't warm to the main character so have stopped wasting time.
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Around the Year i...: Before I Met You, by Lisa Jewell 1 12 May 20, 2017 06:11AM  
What age would you recommend this to? 6 22 May 29, 2016 03:02PM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Sep 05, 2015 12:02PM  
Mansfield Public ...: The" Before I met You" review by Anne Hope Clausen 1 4 Aug 07, 2014 05:58PM  
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  • From London with Love
5,837 followers
Lisa 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 & ...more
“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
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