Title: You’ll Never See Me Again
Author: Lesley Pearse
Published: July 2nd 2019
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Genres: Fiction, Historical
Rating: 5 stars
You have to keep running if you want to survive . . .
When her husband returns shell-shocked and broken from the Great War and his mother makes her life a misery, Betty Wellow discovers how bitter and hard life can truly be. But it is not until a devastating storm sweeps through their small fishing village and endangers her life, that she sees her chance to escape – and takes it.
Fleeing to Bristol, she changes her name to Mabel Brook and takes a position as a maid. But tragedy strikes once more after the sudden death of her mistress and she is cast back onto the streets.
Penniless and alone Mabel suffers a brutal attack before being rescued by a psychic named Nora Nightingale. There she gets her first taste of those who receive messages from the dead and realises she may have this gift herself.
But it isn’t long before Mabel receives her own message and is forced back to the very place she has escaped. A place of heartbreak and perhaps even murder – but Mabel realises that to secure her future she must confront her past one last time.
Heart-pounding, exhilarating and ever suspenseful, Lesley Pearse’s You’ll Never See Me Again is a tale of one woman’s fight to find her destiny.
You’ll Never See Me Again is the stirring new novel from bestselling author Lesley Pearse. A tale of secrets, survival, love, sacrifice, status and hardship, You’ll Never See Me Again enthralls from the first page, to the final parting words of this absorbing historical novel.
You’ll Never See Me Again introduces the reader to Betty, a young woman who resides in the seaside locale of Hallsands. Betty’s husband was once a seafaring man until the Great War robbed him of his life. Betty’s husband survived the war, but he is just a shell of the man he once was. Ravaged by the mental and physical scars of war, he is no longer the man Betty married. With her marriage lost, Betty’s life is made even more unbearable by the presence of her wicked mother in law. When Hallsands is struck by a devastating storm, Betty is deliberately thrust into danger by her mother in law. Betty decides to take the opportunity to vanish from her painful life. Betty secretly flees to the confines of Bristol, a larger city, far from home. Betty drops her name and reinvents herself as Mrs Mabel Brook, a war widow. Betty/Mabel tries to hide under the cover of her new employ, but disaster strikes and she is dealt with a huge blow. Mabel is rescued by a kind stranger who nurses her back to health. Mabel’s time with Nora, the woman who helped her, puts her in touch with a unique gift. Mabel discovers she can converse with the dead, and it is a shocking realisation that has her reeling. When Mabel decides to leave Nora’s side and go her own way, she meets some important figures who will shape her destiny. However, Mabel continues to carry the heavy burden of her former life as Betty, which she must keep under wraps. When a message from the past becomes too strong to ignore, Mabel must make the dreadful trek back home… with surprising, as well as heartbreaking results.
In terms of historical fiction, Lesley Pearse is one of the best. Her engaging plots, detailed historical backgrounds and memorable characters make each book she releases a genuine delight to read. I consider myself a loyal fan of Lesley Pearse. I do still have fair few books in her back catalogue to catch up on, but I always look forward to her annual new release. I rate You’ll Never See Me Again to be the best title I have read from this author. This proves that Lesley Pearse is a writer who seems to get better which each new book she releases.
You’ll Never See Me Again is a book I can easily award five stars to, it was simply an amazing read. It hooked me in from the every opening scene, and I found I could not draw myself away for even a minute to make myself a cup of tea! That’s a big indication of how much I enjoyed this novel! I really loved the lead character in the book, Betty – who also becomes Mabel. She experienced so much unhappiness, disappointment and hardship, yet she toiled on. Betty is character who demonstrates strength in the face of adversity. Betty is determined to do good in the world, and she cannot forgive herself for abandoning her husband. It is a secret she keeps very close to her chest for the majority of the novel. I did wonder at times just how much heartbreak Pearse could issue her main character with, but it seemed to work in this storyline. I held on for dear life at many points of the novel, my physical grip on this novel was so hard at times, I could feel the tension seething through my bones! However, after a big story, defined by plenty of trying moments, Betty redeems herself and I’ll stop there for fear of breaking into spoiler territory.
There were many shining star moments in this book that work to lift You’ll Never See Me Again to great heights. For me, my love of this book came from two main areas. The first was the depiction of the historical time period. Pearse did an absolutely outstanding job of recreating the years of the Great War. Everything that followed around the time period was displayed with immense clarity, authenticity and attention to detail. From the food restrictions, to the fashions, general customs and much more. Pearse more than adequately conveys the problems that defined this time. The racism directed towards the Germans, the soldiers returning home left ravaged by PTSD and physical injuries/deformities, the push for women to take on men’s role in their absence, the lack of welfare and the sheer helplessness of some on the poverty line. There is also a full account of the Spanish Flu epidemic, which is one of the most comprehensive and heartbreaking versions of this devastating time that I have come across. I’d like to thank Lesley Pearse for this aspect of the novel.
The true highlight of this book has to be in the characterisation, with special mention to the figure of Carsten, a German POW who works as a gardener for Betty/Mabel’s employer. Carsten was such a memorable and loveable character. I know I won’t forget him in a hurry. He occupied a big place in my heart.
Lastly, I want to mention that Lesley Pearse does branch off on a thread involving the supernatural. This is a little different for her, but be rest assured, the theme is perfectly matched to the lead and her journey. Knowing a little bit about the context of this time period and the desperation experienced by those who lost their loved ones in the war, this was an excellent sub theme. I felt it was portrayed extremely well and I enjoyed the experience of following this aspect of Betty/Mabel’s life.
There is just so much more I could continue to comment on, but I am conscious that my review of You’ll Never See Me Again may never see an end point! To cut a long story short, I loved this book and I can state, without hesitation, that this is the greatest novel penned by Lesley Pearse – to date. Magnificent!
You’ll Never See Me Again by Lesley Pearse was published on 2nd July 2019 by Penguin Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of You’ll Never See Me Again, Lesley Pearse, visit here.
*I wish to thank Penguin Books Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.