I Found You: A Novel by Lisa JewellI Found You: A Novel by Lisa Jewell

I Found You: A Novel

byLisa Jewell

Paperback | April 25, 2017

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about

A young bride, a lonely single mother, and an amnesiac man of dubious origin lie at the heart of New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell’s next suspenseful drama that will appeal to fans of Liane Moriarty and Paula Hawkins.
 

In a windswept British seaside town, single mom Alice Lake finds a man sitting on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, and no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside.

Meanwhile, in a suburb of London, twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.

Twenty-three years earlier, Gray and Kirsty are teenagers on a summer holiday with their parents. Their annual trip to the quaint seaside town is passing by uneventfully, until an enigmatic young man starts paying extra attention to Kirsty. Something about him makes Gray uncomfortable—and it’s not just that he’s playing the role of protective older brother.

Two decades of secrets, a missing husband, and a man with no memory are at the heart of this brilliant new novel, filled with the “beautiful writing, believable characters, pacey narrative, and dark secrets” (London Daily Mail) that make Lisa Jewell so beloved by audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.
Lisa Jewell lives in London with her husband and their cat.
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Title:I Found You: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 8.25 × 5.31 × 0.9 inPublished:April 25, 2017Publisher:Atria BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1501166085

ISBN - 13:9781501166082

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Customer Reviews of I Found You: A Novel

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from I FOUND YOU and I Loved It! An absolutely superb, well written book. I'm content with the book from beginning to end. For sure something you should add to a "To Read List"
Date published: 2017-09-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok this was an exceptional read
Date published: 2017-09-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An extremely suspenseful ride! The entire time I was reading I Found You I was invested but frustrated. I wanted to find out what happened to Carl, Lily's husband, who the man on the beach was and what had happened in 1993. I couldn't wait to get to the end but simultaneously I didn't want the book to come to an end. I Found You is a slow unraveling suspense novel that will keep readers guessing until the end! I definitely recommend this book to readers that enjoy Mystery and Suspense novels but also readers who want to try something new.
Date published: 2017-09-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Liked it This book has so many excellent elements that kept me involved with the whole story
Date published: 2017-09-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from :) Loved this book. One of my favorites. Definitely recommend to anyone who loves suspense.
Date published: 2017-09-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from yes quite insightful and overall enjoyable.
Date published: 2017-09-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from yes quite insightful and overall enjoyable.
Date published: 2017-09-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from yes Very pleased with this read
Date published: 2017-09-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really enjoyed!! I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Keeps you guessing.
Date published: 2017-09-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Recommended by a Friend A friend recommended I read this book and I am looking forward to starting it. She loved it and couldn't put it down! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-09-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from loved it!!! Such a beautiful read. There were sad & painful elements naturally and heartwarming and worth the read. So happy I found this!!!
Date published: 2017-09-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Leaves you guessing This book will leave you guessing until the end.
Date published: 2017-09-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from page turner but ... pretty typical for the genre
Date published: 2017-09-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from a good read i really enjoyed this story. worth your time to enjoy this novel.
Date published: 2017-09-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't put this one down! Great read. A page turner for sure.
Date published: 2017-08-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from amazing such a beautiful read and a gorgeous cover as well
Date published: 2017-08-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Divine This is truly what dreams are made of...
Date published: 2017-08-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A good read Not a bad read but not spectacular either. It was a little hard to get into and some spots were a tad slow.
Date published: 2017-08-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good, not great I found some of the characters hard to believe. It took a while to be able to get into it and there were definitely some exciting twists although they were too few and far between.
Date published: 2017-08-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great Read The start of this novel was difficult to get attached to. The ending was intense and interesting. It really brought the different characters and stories together which made up for the beginning.
Date published: 2017-08-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Super Read Read it twice and leant it to my sister who also loved it! Full of suspense and intrigue. Worth the read 100%
Date published: 2017-08-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Awesome read! I loved this book! I picked it up for a vacation read and it was perfect. The plot and characters were interesting and I was hooked from start to finish.
Date published: 2017-08-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read! Loved the writing and the storyline kept me hooked. I enjoyed this book!
Date published: 2017-08-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I Found You This was an entertaining and suspenseful novel.
Date published: 2017-08-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from great read! very exciting and enjoyable!
Date published: 2017-08-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great read! I'm a big fan of Lisa Jewell novels and this one didn't disappoint. It was interesting concept and a truly enjoyable read.
Date published: 2017-08-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Thrilling plot line I enjoyed this book as it is written in a past and present plot line. It kept me guessing as to how the present would line up with the past. Dramatic page turner for sure!
Date published: 2017-08-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great book! This book was a quirky romance novel with an exciting twist! Worth the read.
Date published: 2017-08-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from so so Not a great book nor a bad one, but I never could quite believe the characters as portrayed.
Date published: 2017-07-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book Loved it the story was great.
Date published: 2017-07-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome Thriller This book kept me hooked the whole time. Was never certain what was going to happen. recommend to all thriller readers!!
Date published: 2017-07-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Page Turner! I couldn't put this book down. It keeps you engaged all the time. Highly recommend as an easy nice read.
Date published: 2017-07-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book! Awesome twists and keeps you wanting to turn the page
Date published: 2017-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Character-rich, compelling thriller with clever plotting in an atmospheric setting! Last year I was introduced to Lisa Jewell's writing when I read and reviewed "The Girls in the Garden". I was very impressed and I anticipated a good read with this book. What I didn't expect was that "I found you" was even better than "The Girls in the Garden"! "Two decades of secrets, a missing husband, and a man with no memory are at the heart of this brilliant new novel." The present day narrative features Alice Lake, a single mum. She has had a rather colorful past and her three children reflect it. She calls them her Benetton family. An artist, Alice lives with her children and three dogs in a small cottage near the seashore in Ridinghouse Bay, Yorkshire. She makes a living making art out of old maps. Her one friend, Derry Dynes sees through Alice's rather brusque manner and looks out for her in a supportive (though bossy) way. One evening while walking her dogs on the beach, Alice comes across a man sitting on the shingle in the rain. He has been there for hours and is drenched through. Against her better instincts she invites him to her cottage to dry out. This act of compassionate kindness will forever change her life. The man has no memory. He finds it difficult to assimilate information and make decisions. Alice Googles his condition and discovers that he is in a 'fugue state' which is usually caused by emotional trauma. Because they have to call him something, her tiny daughter names him Frank. As the days pass, Alice becomes more and more drawn to this man but is wary of becoming involved. She fears that doing so would further complicate her already arduous and lonely life. She is a very sexual person, but her sexual desires have landed her in trouble many times in her life and she does not want to duplicate her previous mistakes. Alice fears that when 'Frank' regains his memories she will lose this man whom she has come to love dearly... Lily Monrose is a newlywed. A Ukrainian, she has just moved to suburban London after a whirlwind courtship. Her husband, Carl Monrose, is devoted to her and she to him. The time Carl is at work is very lonely for Lily as she knows no one in England and finds British ways strange from what she is familiar with. When, just ten days into their new life together, Carl does not return home after work, Lily becomes distraught. She reports him missing to the police. When she gives the police his passport to aid in their investigation, they find that Carl Monrose does not exist! The passport is fake. With little money, Lily enlists strangers to help her find the love of her life. "She looks about the flat, as she's done a hundred times since Carl didn't come home on Tuesday night. At first all she'd seen was Carl's absence. Now she sees his deceit." Then we meet the Ross Family in the summer of 1993. Pam, Tony and their two teenage children Kirsty and Gray Ross are on holiday in the small seaside town of Ridinghouse Bay, Yorkshire. The family encounters a young man named Mark Tate. Mark is attracted to their daughter Kirsty, and is quite intense. Gray is very suspicious of him and wonders why nineteen year old Mark would be interested in his naive and innocent fifteen year old sister. Mark invites the entire family to his aunt's house, a huge manor on the headland. He insinuate's himself into Kirsty's life and invites her to a party at his Aunt's house. Gray goes to the party - partly to keep an eye on his sister, and partly because he is attracted to one of the girls that he knows will be there. The scenes at the party reminded me of the old Three Dog Night song: "Momma told me not to come". Mark's involvement with the Ross family is catastrophic to them all. The three narratives alternate between chapters. Just about half way through this novel I thought I had 'Frank's' identity worked out. I was wrong. The stories of Alice, Frank, Lily and Gray are skillfully bound together with clever plotting in an atmospheric setting. The entire novel makes for some very compelling reading. So much so that I found myself being rather grumpy when my reading was interrupted. "I found you" was a very cleverly plotted, character-rich, suspenseful, literary thriller. Highly recommended!
Date published: 2017-07-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved this book! Great characters and amazing twists!
Date published: 2017-07-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Meh Just couldn't get into this book
Date published: 2017-07-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very cute read The author tells three separate stories which eventually come together in the end and provide perfect clarity. A great read with short, compelling chapters to leave you wanting more.
Date published: 2017-07-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fun & easy read Would recommend for an enjoyable and easy beach read. The repressed/lost of memory with Frank was really interesting.
Date published: 2017-07-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Exciting Suspenseful page after page.
Date published: 2017-06-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good Book i enjoyed this quite a bit
Date published: 2017-06-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great book! I loved this book. Definitely a book you could read within a few nights or a week. hard to put down
Date published: 2017-06-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from fun read Well written and good throughout!
Date published: 2017-06-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from "A Dark Beach Read" Three stories intertwined - this book was very character driven, and it was interesting to see how the stories developed over time. Loved how this mystery had a solid ending!
Date published: 2017-06-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read Fun book to read, finished it in a week
Date published: 2017-06-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great novel I really enjoyed this novel, I would recommend it to other readers.
Date published: 2017-06-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from great read finished this in 4 nights... and i am a slow reader
Date published: 2017-05-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Cool I found (you) book and It was GREAT! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-05-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from such a good book I couldn't put this book down. excellent!
Date published: 2017-05-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Couldn't put it down I have read most of Jewell's books, and they're all decently good, but this one is the best yet. Recommend!
Date published: 2017-05-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Wonderful novel from beginning to end
Date published: 2017-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fast paced thriller A good mystery book, that won't disappoint. If you are a fan of this author you will enjoy this book.
Date published: 2017-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A fast-paced thriller that had me at the edge of my seat the whole time! Actual rating: 4.5 Stars I'm always a little hesitant when I start reading a new thriller. This is one of my all-time favourite genres and it has become really hard to find unique and unpredictable stories that are also written well. I read The Girls In The Garden by Lisa Jewell last year and while I liked it, it didn't blow me away. Well, it was completely different this time around! I Found You was everything that I needed from a psychological thriller. -- What I Liked The pace. This book moved so quickly for me and I LOVED that. Especially when it comes to thrillers and my constant need for answers, a fast paced book is always fantastic! I Found You was an instant page-turner and I literally could not put it down as it always felt as though the answer I wanted was right around the corner! The characters. It's really hard to find characters within a thriller that are likable. They're usually unreliable and terrible people if I'm being quite honest. While the characters within I Found You each have their own flaws, there was still something about most of them that made me really like them and enjoy reading about them. The multiple perspectives/timelines. One of my favourite things in a novel is when it contains multiple perspectives. I love knowing what many characters are thinking within the same scenario. Mix that in with a multiple timelines and I'm sold. I love books that jump from the past to the present, ESPECIALLY within the thriller/mystery genre. The multiple perspectives and timelines within I Found You were executed perfectly and they provided a perfect opportunity to reveal more and more answers as each chapter came to an end. The suspense. I mean, it wouldn't be great thriller without fantastic suspense, am I right? As mentioned above, the pace of this novel was fantastic and it perfectly unravelled the mystery behind the characters and how everyone was connected. I was constantly at the edge of my seat the entire time. -- What I Didn't Like The twist? I add a question mark to the end of this statement because I'm not sure that I didn't like it per se. The twist was predictable for me, I figured out the identity of the man with no memory pretty early on in the novel. However, I didn't necessarily dislike that I knew. It was more that I was expecting something else to happen that would be even more shocking and it never really did. Even though I knew his identity, it was cool to see the story unravel further for the reader to understand how he got to that point. -- Overall, I Found You was an amazing thriller and exactly what I was hoping for! I absolutely loved this book and I will definitely be recommending it to everyone I know who loves thrillers and mysteries. I can't wait to read what Lisa Jewell comes out with next!
Date published: 2017-05-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Fabulous Mystery Lisa Jewell's "I Found You" blends three stories. Set mainly in a small town at the British seaside, the story moves back and forth between the present to 1993. In the present, single mother Alice befriends an amnesiac man she finds at the beach near her home, and as Alice and the man she calls Frank become friendly, Frank begins to have memory flashbacks. Also in the present time, young newlywed Lily, an immigrant from Kiev living in London, becomes concerned when her husband Carl does not return from work. She reports his disappearance to the police, who determine that his passport is a fake and the man whose name is on the passport does not exist. Lily's attempts to find out what happened to her husband lead her to the seaside town where Alice resides. As the story progresses, the reader learns that both "Frank" and "Carl" are linked to mysterious events which occurred in the same seaside town in 1993. This is the first book I've read by Lisa Jewell, and it totally captivated me. I will definitely read more of her books!
Date published: 2017-04-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A fabulous mystery Lisa Jewell's "I Found You" blends three stories. Set mainly in a small town at the British seaside, the story moves back and forth between the present to 1993. In the present, single mother Alice befriends an amnesiac man she finds at the beach near her home, and as Alice and the man she calls Frank become friendly, Frank begins to have memory flashbacks. Also in the present time, young newlywed Lily, an immigrant from Kiev living in London, becomes concerned when her husband Carl does not return from work. She reports his disappearance to the police, who determine that his passport is a fake and the man whose name is on the passport does not exist. Lily's attempts to find out what happened to her husband lead her to the seaside town where Alice resides. As the story progresses, the reader learns that both "Frank" and "Carl" are linked to mysterious events which occurred in the same seaside town in 1993. This is the first book I've read by Lisa Jewell, and it totally captivated me. I will definitely read more of her books! weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed. Twenty-three years earlier, Gray and Kirsty are teenagers on a summer holiday with their parents. Their annual trip to the quaint seaside town is passing by uneventfully, until an enigmatic young man starts paying extra attention to Kirsty. Something about him makes Gray uncomfortable—and it’s not just that he’s playing the role of protective older brother. Two decades of secrets, a missing husband, and a man with no memory are at the heart of this brilliant new novel, filled with the “beautiful writing, believable characters, pacey narrative, and dark secrets” (London Daily Mail) that make Lisa Jewell so beloved by audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.
Date published: 2017-04-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from nice book! i loved reading this book, I would definitely recommend. :)
Date published: 2017-04-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved This! I Found You by Lisa Jewell was one of the most originally written novels I have read this year; a slow burning mystery and then a fast race to the finish, Jewell had me captivated with her complex characters and her smart prose. This was one of my most anticipated April reads. The novel surrounds three seemingly disconnected storylines. One following a man with amnesia who stumbles upon a family in a beach house; the woman of the house feels bad and takes him in as a houseguest. The second story follows a newlywed who is devastated when her husband goes missing. The third is set in 1993 and follows the relationship between two siblings and their childhood friend. Not knowing if these stories would begin to intersect, I hungrily devoured each page. This one was not hard to get through in a single afternoon. As mentioned, Jewell’s prose is completely captivating. This will not be a roller-coaster ride thriller, instead, this one is a slow burn of a story and, as the story unravels and secrets begin to be stated, the pace quickens to an unbelievable finish! My favourite storyline followed the newlywed, Lily, and her desperation to find her husband Carl. I found her character extremely likeable and her naivety endearing. I also found her character development the most complex. Overall, if you want a thriller that will keep you guessing without causing you to race through your reading, this one will be your winner! Slow and steady wins the race and Jewell proves that with I Found You. 4/5 stars!
Date published: 2017-04-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable standalone suspense thriller! I Found You is a standalone suspense/mystery/thriller. The book is divided into 4 parts. There are 3 stories being told. Alice is a 3rd person narrator. Lily is a 3rd person narrator. And the book also has a bunch of chapters that take place in 1993. Alice is a single mom of three kids. She lives in a British seaside town. Alice finds a man ("Frank") on the beach in front of her house. Lily is 21 and from the Ukraine. She now lives in a suburb of London. Her 40 year old husband Carl has disappeared. We also have 17 year old Gray's POV from 1993. His sister Kirsty is 15 years old. They are on vacation for 2 weeks in 1993. A boy named Mark enters their lives. There is lots of back and forth between the present and 1993. I am not really a big fan of this back and forth in time. Yes, the stuff that happened in 1993 is relevant to the story. But there are already 2 other POVs. So for me it was just a bit too much. It is an interesting story. It is especially fascinating to see how things might be connected. But I didn't love going back and forth from one POV, to the other, to the third. I definitely preferred later on in the book when everything was more straight forward. I felt like the set-up was meant for the reader to draw certain conclusions. The thing about a suspense mystery is that I don't want to have the story figured out before the reveal. I try not to overthink these types of stories because I prefer to be surprised. Unfortunately I figured this one out and it sort of downplayed the reveals. I think my favorite part of the book was later on in the story once there wasn't so much back and forth. There were definitely a couple of other reveals that were quite interesting. I really liked learning more about Frank's life and what happened to lead him to be on that beach. I also really loved Alice. She was such an interesting character. Overall this was a very British story. It was compelling. If you enjoy suspense/thrillers then this one was pretty good. Thanks to Simon Schuster Canada for providing me with a copy of this book.
Date published: 2017-04-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must Read I received an advanced reader copy of this book, and I loved every minute of it! If you're looking a for a great thriller, this book is for you!
Date published: 2017-03-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great book! I received an advanced reader copy of this book, and I loved every minute of it! If you're looking a for a great thriller, this book is for you!
Date published: 2017-02-28

Read from the Book

I Found You 1 Alice Lake lives in a house by the sea. It is a tiny house, a coast guard’s cottage, built more than three hundred years ago for people much smaller than her. The ceilings slope and bulge and her fourteen-year-old son needs to bow his head to get through the front door. They were all so little when she moved them here from London six years ago. Jasmine was ten. Kai was eight. And Romaine, the baby, was just four months old. She hadn’t imagined that one day she’d have a gangling child of almost six foot. She hadn’t imagined that they’d ever outgrow this place. Alice sits in her tiny room at the top of her tiny house. From here she runs her business. She makes art from old maps which she sells on the Internet for silly money. Silly money for a piece of art made from old maps, perhaps, but not silly money for a single mother of three. She sells a couple a week. It’s enough, just about. Beyond her window, between Victorian streetlights, a string of sun-faded bunting swings back and forth in the boisterous April wind. To the left there is a slipway where small fishing boats form a colorful spine down to a concrete jetty and where the great, dreadful froth of the North Sea hits the rocky shoreline. And beyond that the sea. Black and infinite. Alice still feels awed by the sea, by its vast proximity. In Brixton, where she lived before, she had a view of walls, of other people’s gardens, of distant towers and fumy skies. And suddenly, overnight, there was all this sea. When she sits on the sofa on the other side of the room it is all she can see, as though it is a part of the room, as though it is about to seep through the window frames and drown them all. She brings her gaze back to the screen of her iPad. On it she can see a small square room, a cat sitting on a green sofa licking its haunches, a pot of tea on the coffee table. She can hear voices from elsewhere, her mother talking to the carer. Her father talking to her mother. She can’t quite hear what they’re saying because the microphone on the webcam she set up in their living room last time she visited doesn’t pick up sound properly in other rooms. But Alice is reassured that the carer is there, that her parents will be fed and medicated, washed and dressed, and that for an hour or two she won’t need to worry about them. That’s another thing she hadn’t imagined when she’d moved north six years ago. That her spry, clever, just-turned-seventy-year-old parents would both develop Alzheimer’s within weeks of each other and require constant supervision and care. On the screen on Alice’s laptop is an order form from a man called Max Fitzgibbon. He wants a rose made out of maps of Cumbria, Chelsea, and Saint-Tropez for his wife’s fiftieth birthday. Alice can picture the man: well-preserved, silver-haired, in a heather-colored Joules zip-neck sweater, still hopelessly in love with his wife after twenty-five years of marriage. She can tell all this from his name, his address, from his choice of gift (“big blowsy English roses have always been her favorite flower,” he says in the “any other comments” box). Alice looks up from her screen and down through her window. He is still there. The man on the beach. He’s been there all day, since she opened her curtains at seven o’clock this morning, sitting on the damp sand, his arms around his knees, staring and staring out to sea. She’s kept an eye on him, concerned that he might be about to top himself. That had happened once before. A young man, deathly pale in the blue-white moonlight, had left his coat on the beach and just disappeared. Alice is still haunted by the thought of him, three years later. But this man doesn’t move. He just sits and stares. The air today is cold and blowing in hard, bringing with it a veil of icy droplets from the surface of the sea. But the man is wearing only a shirt and jeans. No jacket. No bag. No hat or scarf. There’s something worrying about him; not quite scruffy enough to be a drifter, not quite strange enough to be a mental health patient from the day care center in town. He looks too healthy to be a junkie and he hasn’t touched a drop of alcohol. He just looks . . . Alice searches her mind for the right word and then it comes to her. He looks lost. An hour later the rain comes down. Alice peers through the spattered windowpanes and down to the beach below. He’s still there. His brown hair is stuck to his skull and his shoulders and sleeves are dark with water. In half an hour she needs to collect Romaine from school. She makes a split-second decision. “Hero!” she calls to the brindle Staffy. “Sadie!” she calls to the ancient poodle. “Griff!” she calls to the greyhound. “Walkies!” Alice has three dogs. Griff, the greyhound, is the only one she deliberately went out and chose. The poodle is her parents’. She is eighteen years old and should be dead by rights. Half her fur is gone and her legs are bald and thin as birds’ but she still insists on joining the other dogs for a walk. And Hero, the Staffy, belonged to Barry, a man who’d rented her shed from her a while back. He disappeared one day and left everything behind, including his mental dog. Hero has to wear a muzzle on the street; otherwise she attacks prams and scooters. Alice clips their leads to their collars as they circle her ankles and notices something else that Barry left behind in his midnight flit, hanging from the coat hooks next to the leads. A shabby old jacket. She automatically wrinkles her nose at the sight of it. She once slept with Barry in a moment of sheer stupidity—and intense loneliness—and regretted it from the moment he lay down on top of her and she realized that he smelled of cheese. That it emanated from every crevice of his slightly lardy body. She’d held her breath and got on with it but ever after she associated him with that smell. She plucks the jacket gingerly from the peg and drapes it over her arm. Then she takes the dogs and an umbrella and heads toward the beach. “Here,” she says, passing the coat to the man. “It’s a bit smelly but it’s waterproof. And look, it has a hood.” The man turns slowly and looks at her. He doesn’t seem to have registered her intention, so she babbles. “It belonged to Barry. Ex-lodger. He was about the same size as you. But you smell better. Well, not that I can tell from here. But you look like you smell nice.” The man looks at Alice and then down at the jacket. “Well,” she says, “do you want it?” Still no response. “Look. I’m just going to leave it here with you. I don’t need it and I don’t want it and you may as well keep it. Even if you just use it to sit on. Shove it in a bin if you like.” She drops it near his feet and straightens herself up. His eyes follow her. “Thank you.” “Ah, so you do talk?” He looks surprised. “Of course I talk.” He has a southern accent. His eyes are the same shade of ginger brown as his hair and the stubble on his chin. He’s handsome. If you like that kind of thing. “Good,” she says, putting her free hand into her pocket, the other grasping the handle of her umbrella. “Glad to hear it.” He smiles and clutches the damp jacket in his fist. “You sure?” “About that?” She eyes the jacket. “You’d be doing me a favor. Seriously.” He pulls the jacket on over his wet clothes and fiddles with the zip for a while before fastening it. “Thank you,” he says again. “Really.” Alice turns to check the locations of the dogs. Sadie sits thin and damp by her feet; the other two are scampering at the water’s edge. Then she turns back to the man. “Why don’t you get indoors, out of this rain?” she asks. “Forecast says it’s set to rain till tomorrow morning. You’re going to make yourself ill.” “Who are you?” he asks, his eyes narrowed, as though she’d introduced herself already and he’d momentarily forgotten her name. “I’m Alice. You don’t know me.” “No,” he says. “I don’t.” He appears reassured by this. “Anyway,” says Alice, “I’d better get on.” “Sure.” Alice takes up the slack in Sadie’s lead and the poodle gets unsteadily to her feet, like a freshly birthed giraffe. She calls for the other two. They ignore her. She tuts and calls again. “Bloody idiots,” she mutters under her breath. “Come on!” she yells, striding toward them. “Get here now!” They are both in and out of the sea. Hero is covered in a layer of green-hued mulch. They will stink. And it is nearly time to collect Romaine. She can’t be late again. She’d been late yesterday because she’d overrun on a piece of work, forgotten the time, and at 3:50 had to retrieve Romaine from the school office, where the secretary had looked at her over the top of the desk screen as though she were a stain on the carpet. “Come on, you shitbags!” She strides across the beach and makes a grab for Griff. Griff thinks a game has been suggested and darts playfully away. She goes after Hero, who runs away from her. Meanwhile poor Sadie is being dragged about by her scrawny neck, barely able to stand upright, and the rain is coming down and Alice’s jeans are sodden and her hands icy cold and the time is ticking away. She lets out a yell of frustration and takes an approach she used with all the children when they were toddlers. “Fine,” she says, “fine. You stay here. See how you get on without me. Go and beg for scraps outside the fucking butcher’s. Have a good life.” The dogs stop and look at her. She turns and walks away. “Do you want some dogs?” she calls to the man, who is still sitting in the rain. “Seriously? Do you want them? You can have them.” The man startles and looks up at her with his gingerbread eyes. “I . . . I . . .” She rolls her eyes. “I’m not being serious.” “No,” he says. “No. I know that.” She strides toward the slipway, toward the steps carved into the seawall. It’s three thirty. The dogs stop at the shoreline, glance at each other, then back at Alice. Then they run for her, arriving at her feet seconds later, salty and pungent. Alice starts up the steps and then turns back when the man calls after her. “Excuse me!” he says. “Excuse me. Where am I?” “What?” “Where am I? What’s the name of this place?” She laughs. “Really?” “Yes,” he says. “Really.” “This is Ridinghouse Bay.” He nods. “Right,” he says. “Thank you.” “Get inside, will you,” she says softly to the man. “Please get out of this rain.” He smiles apologetically and Alice waves and heads toward the school, hoping he’ll be gone by the time she gets back. Alice knows she’s something of an oddball in Ridinghouse Bay. Which, in fairness, was already pretty full of oddballs before she arrived. But even in a town this strange Alice stands out with her Brixton accent and her Benetton family and her slightly brusque ways. Not to mention the dogs. They make a show of her everywhere she goes. They will not walk to heel, they bark and snap, they whine outside shops. She’s seen people cross the street to avoid her animals, Hero in particular with her muzzle and her huge muscular shoulders. Ever since she got here Alice has played the role of the enigmatic, slightly scary loner, though that is not at all what she is. In London she had friends coming out of her ears. More friends than she knew what to do with. She was a party girl, a come-over-later-with-a-bottle-of-vodka-we’ll-put-the-world-to-rights girl. She’d been the kind of mum to stand at the school gates after drop-off and say, come on then, who’s up for a coffee? And she’d be there at the heart of them all, laughing the loudest, talking the most. Until she pushed it too far and blew her life open. But she has a friend here now. Someone who gets her. Derry Dynes. They met eighteen months ago, on Romaine’s first day in school. Their eyes met and there was a flash of mutual recognition, of shared delight. “Fancy a coffee?” Derry Dynes had said, seeing the film of tears over Alice’s eyes as she watched her baby girl disappear into the classroom. “Or something stronger?” Derry is about five years older than Alice and about a foot shorter. She has a son the same age as Romaine and a grown-up daughter who lives in Edinburgh. She loves dogs (she’s the type to let them kiss her on her mouth) and she loves Alice. Early on she learned that Alice was prone to making terrible decisions and letting life run away with her and now she acts as Alice’s moderator. She sits and counsels Alice for hours about issues she has with the school over their handling of Romaine’s learning difficulties but stops her from storming into the office to shout at the secretary. She’ll share two bottles of wine with her on a school night but encourage her to stick the cork back into the third. She tells her which hairdresser to go to and what to ask for—“ask for stepped layers, not feathered, and a half head of highlights with foils.” She used to be a hairdresser but now she’s a Reiki therapist. And she has more of an idea about Alice’s finances than Alice herself. She’s standing outside the school now, under a huge red umbrella, her boy Danny and Romaine nestled together underneath. “Christ. Thank you. Dogs went mental on the beach and I couldn’t get them back.” She leans down to kiss the crown of Romaine’s head and takes her lunch box from her. “What on earth were you doing on the beach in this weather?” Alice tuts and says, “You don’t want to know.” “No,” says Derry. “I do.” “Are you busy? Got time for a cup of tea?” Derry looks down at her son and says, “Well, I was supposed to be taking this one into town for shoes . . .” “Well, just come via mine then, I’ll show you.” “Look,” she says, standing by the seawall, peering down through the cascade of rain pouring off her umbrella. He is still there. “Him?” says Derry. “Yeah. Him. I gave him that jacket. One of Barry’s.” Derry gives an involuntary shudder. She remembers Barry too. Alice gave her a very thorough and evocative description of events at the time. “Did he not have a coat then? Before?” “No. Sitting there in a shirt. Soaked. Asked me where he was.” The two children pull themselves up onto the edge of the wall by their fingertips and peer over. “Where he was?” “Yes. He seemed a bit confused.” “Don’t get involved,” says Derry. “Who said I was getting involved?” “You gave him a jacket. You’re already getting involved.” “That was just an act of simple human kindness.” “Yes,” says Derry. “Exactly.” Alice tuts at her friend and heads away from the seawall. “Are you seriously going shopping?” she asks her. “In this?” Derry peers into the dark skies overhead and says, “No. Maybe not.” “Come on then,” says Alice. “Come to mine. I’ll put a fire on.” Derry and Danny stay for a couple of hours. The little ones play in the living room while Derry and Alice sit in the kitchen and drink tea. Jasmine returns at four o’clock, soaked to the skin, with a wet rucksack full of GCSE coursework, no coat, and no umbrella. Kai comes back at four thirty with two friends from school. Alice makes spaghetti for tea and Derry stops her opening a bottle of wine on account of her having to go home. She and Danny leave at six o’clock. It is still raining. Small rivers of muddy rainwater pour down the slipway to the beach and cascade off rooftops. And now a howling wind has set to, sending the rain onto the perpendicular, driving it into everything. From the top floor of the house Alice sees that the man is still there. He’s no longer in the middle of the beach. He’s moved back toward the seawall and he’s sitting on a pile of rope. His face is turned up to the sky and his eyes are closed and something inside Alice aches when she looks at him. Of course he may be mad. He may be dangerous. But she thinks of his sad amber-brown eyes and the softness of his voice when he asked her where he was. And she is here in her home full of people, a pile of logs burning in the fireplace, warm and dry and safe. She can’t be here knowing that he is there. She makes him a cup of tea, pours it into a flask, tells the big ones to keep an eye on Romaine, and goes to him. “Here,” she says, passing him the flask. He takes it from her and smiles. “I thought I told you to go indoors.” “I remember that,” he says. “Good,” she says. “But I see you didn’t take my advice.” “I can’t go indoors.” “Are you homeless?” He nods. Then shakes his head. Then says, “I think so. I don’t know.” “You don’t know?” Alice laughs softly. “How long have you been sitting out here?” “I got here last night.” “Where did you come from?” He turns and looks at her. His eyes are wide and fearful. “I have no idea.” Alice pulls away slightly. Now she’s starting to regret coming down here. Getting involved, as Derry said. “Seriously?” she says. He pushes his damp hair off his forehead and sighs. “Seriously.” Then he holds the flask aloft. “Cheers,” he says. “You’re very kind.” Alice stares out toward the sea. She’s not sure how to respond. Half of her wants to get back indoors to the warmth, the other feels like she needs to play this out a bit longer. She asks him another question. “What’s your name?” “I think,” he says, gazing into his tea, “that I have lost my memory. I mean”—he turns to her suddenly—“that makes sense, doesn’t it? It’s the only thing that makes sense. Because I don’t know what my name is. And I must have a name. Everyone has a name. Don’t they?” Alice nods. “And I don’t know why I’m here or how I got here. And the more I think about it the more I think I’ve lost my memory.” “Ah,” says Alice. “Yes. That makes sense. Do you . . . are you injured?” She points at his head. He runs a hand over his skull for a moment, then looks at her. “No,” he says. “It doesn’t look like it.” “Have you ever lost your memory before?” “I don’t know,” he says, so ingenuously that they both laugh. “You know you’re in the north, don’t you?” she asks. “No,” he says. “I didn’t know that.” “And you have a southern accent. Is that where you come from?” He shrugs. “I guess so.” “Jesus,” says Alice, “this is crazy. I assume you’ve checked all your pockets.” “Yeah,” he says. “I found some stuff. Didn’t know what to make of any of it though.” “Have you still got it?” “Yes.” He leans to one side. “It’s here.” He pulls a handful of wet paper from his back pocket. “Oh.” Alice stares at the mulch and then into the darkening sky. She pulls her hands down her face and exhales. “Right,” she says. “I must be mad. Well, actually, I am mad. But I have a studio room, in my backyard. I usually rent it out but it’s empty right now. Why don’t you come and spend a night there? We’ll dry out these bits of paper, then maybe tomorrow we can start putting you together? Yes?” He turns and stares at her disbelievingly. “Yes,” he says. “Yes, please.” “I have to warn you,” she says, getting to her feet. “I live in chaos. I have three very loud, rude children and three untrained dogs and my house is a mess. So don’t come with me expecting a sanctuary. It’s far from it.” He nods. “Honestly,” he says. “Whatever. I really don’t mind. I’m just so grateful. I can’t believe how kind you’re being.” “No,” says Alice, leading the wet stranger up the stone steps and toward her cottage, “neither can I.”