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None of This Is True by Lisa Jewell - Review

Thursday, February 29, 2024

You know I've really enjoyed Lisa Jewell's crime thrillers over the past couple of years, so when I heard of this one I thought it sounded right up my street. I searched for it at the library but it had a queue, so I put myself in it and then waited about four months for it to come through to me. But by that point it felt like a really nice present to myself! If you've read this I would love to hear your opinions on it because I'm not sure what was true and what wasn't!

At the beginning of the book two women are celebrating their birthdays. They are Alix, forty five years old, who is married to Nathan, and has two small children of like eleven and six. He earns a lot of money and she has a successful podcast. She has just finished her series about successful women and isn't really sure what to do next, and then she meets Josie. 

Josie happens to be in the same fancy restaurant that night, also celebrating her forty fifth birthday. For her and her husband Walter this is out of their ordinary as they don't generally eat at places like this restaurant. Walter is much older than Josie - like nearly thirty years older than her. They have two daughters, Erin and Roxy. They are both grown up now; Roxy disappeared five years ago when she was sixteen, and Erin still lives in the flat with Josie and Walter. There's clearly something going on with Erin but it's not clear as to exactly what. 

The two women meet in the toilets, have a brief discussion, and leave. Then Josie approaches Alix on a different day and says that she wants Alix to interview her for a podcast. Alix is intrigued and agrees to a test interview. Josie is unsettling (in fact she reads as neurodivergent, which really makes a lot of sense) but Alix is intrigued by her. Josie begins to tell the story of her and Walter - they met when Josie was just thirteen and she was groomed by him; she lost her virginity to him when she was sixteen and married him at eighteen, having her children shortly thereafter. She tells a story of him being controlling and violent, and the more they dig into her back story the more unsettled Alix becomes. But she somehow can't look away, especially when Josie makes serious allegations about Walter. 

Alix's life may look perfect on the outside, but actually things aren't what they seem. Nathan is a loving husband, but he keeps going on total benders where he drinks too much and disappears for hours. Alix is rapidly getting to the end of her tether and is considering divorce. Josie's whispers in her ears make her even more uncertain...

I was quite shocked by some of the twists and turns in the book. I also am really not sure what was true and what wasn't by the end. I'm not sure that any of the characters came off brilliantly. The podcast becomes a series with a bunch of other interviewees so right from the beginning it's obvious that something has gone terribly wrong... but what exactly? It's so intriguing. I really found it a fast paced page turned and I'm giving it four out of five!

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