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 immediately with the balance between Betty and Arlette’s story handled well. The references to the early nineties were plentiful, l such as the status symbol of a mobile phone and the lack of anyone else with one to text, will be familiar to those of us who were there but I have to confess Arlette’s story set in the 1920’s was what had me hooked. Arlette had befriended an artist and some jazz musicians exploring in the time period where the social lives of well-connected young women were opening up to all sorts of new possibilities.
This is a story of two young women each making their way in the world for the first time without their families both have their fair share of adventures, misunderstandings and friendships. A lovely book with a slightly more mature feel than the earlier books I read and enjoyed by Lisa Jewell.