I am a long time fan of Lesley Pearse, and to date there has only been one of her novels which hasn’t quite hit the mark for me, which is a pretty impressive record bearing in mind this is her 27th novel!
I was thrilled to be in the privileged position to be able to request and receive an advance copy of her latest novel, You’ll Never See Me Again, and when it arrived literally minutes before I was due to leave for a few days away in Jersey, I was elated!
I really enjoyed her last two novels, Woman in the Wood and The House Across the Street (review here) but for me, You’ll Never See Me Again has been sprinkled with the Lesley magic of old, feeling so stylistically reminiscent of some of my favourite novels.
She truly is a master at creating characters you cannot help but love, and Betty/Mabel is no different. A young woman facing adversity and needing to gather her courage and wits in order to survive is a familiar storyline, but one which Lesley delivers with great skill and depth of emotion. The rich description brings scenes to life, and the relationships between characters are wonderfully believable. It is rare that I’m not almost instantly hooked when I read a Lesley Pearse novel.
This novel had a slightly supernatural edge to it which gave it a quirky twist, especially given the time period in which it is set. If I were to have one slight criticism, I wish the mediumship had been made more of, mainly because I really enjoyed that element of the novel and I felt that there were some unanswered questions. I am (not so) secretly hoping for some sort of follow on or prequel involving Carsten, who will (in my mind) go down in history as one of the most memorable male characters she has ever created.
Heart-wrenching and heart-warming in equal measure, You’ll Never See Me Again held me captive until the last word. Lesley Pearse at her best – I absolutely loved it.
Betty Wellows dreams of settling down to an ordinary life in the little fishing village of Hallsands in Devon with her husband, But when he returns broken and haunted from the Great War, she finds herself persecuted by his distraught mother – and yearns to escape. It is only when a storm devastates the village that Betty sees her chance.
Fleeing to Bristol and changing her name to Mabel Brook, she seeks a new life – only to discover destiny has other plans. Penniless and alone, Mabel suffers a brutal attack before being rescued by a psychic named Nora Nightingale. She gets her first taste of communications from the dead and realises she may have this power in herself. But Mabel fears her gift may be a terrible curse as it becomes ever harder to hide from the truth about who she once was – and the tragic life she left behind. Then, one day an all too real message from her past appears and Mabel is forced back to the very place she has escaped. A place of heartbreak, and perhaps even murder, she must confront her actions one last time in order to secure any hope of a future.
About the Author
Lesley Pearse was told as a child that she had too much imagination for her own good. She left home at 15 and headed to London where she worked her way through many jobs – from corsetry sales in Cooks of St. Pauls (featured in Dead to Me), to musicians muse (her second husband was a musician managed by Don Arden) to bunny girl to nanny; from gift shop owner to dressmaker – finally finding her true vocation when she became a published author, with over 10 million copies of her books sold worldwide.
A true storyteller and a master of gripping storylines, there is no set formula for a Lesley Pearse novel although strong heroines and difficult circumstances are pervasive. Whether historical adventures such as Gypsy or Never Look Back or the passionately emotive Trust Me, Lesley is inspired by stories of courage and adversity and often gives voice to women lost in history and people damaged by their childhood experiences. She is passionate about her research and her stories have taken her far and wide; from Alaska to the Crimea. Lesley now lives in Torquay in Devon where she loves to spend time walking on the beach with her grandchildren and dogs. A fantastic speaker and committed and passionate fundraiser for the NSPCC, Lesley is a much sought-after guest at literary lunches, library events and festivals up and down the country.
*I received a ARC copy, however the decision to read was my own and this review forms my honest opinion.