|I Found You
This book had the feeling of a Du Maurier novel. The twists, turns, and suspense are reminiscent of Rebecca. Lisa Jewell's writing left me wanting more, and I immediately researched other books she has written to add to my "must read" list. For those who do not wish to read spoilers, please read no further.
"I Found You" begins with a man found on a beach by Alice, a hard-nosed yet generous single mother of three. He appears to be suffering from a case of amnesia as he has no recollection of where he comes from, why he is on the beach, or even his name. Alice brings him into her home and out of the rain with the intention of helping him for a couple of days until they can find out why he is there and who he is. It is apparent from the start that there is some trauma that has caused him to lose his memory and this becomes the linchpin for the rest of the story.
We are then introduced to Lily (in the present day), a Ukrainian woman who is newly wed and whose husband has mysteriously gone missing. Though the police do not want to help her at first, eventually they begin to investigate his disappearance. The mystery deepens when it is discovered that Carl's (the husband) passport is a fake, and that no record exists for anyone by his name. Lily is unwilling to believe the man she married is a fraud, and therefore embarks on a mission to find him and clear his name. However, she does not know anything about him, has never met his mother, and does not even have access to any of his personal information. Thankfully, she is able to discover the phone number of his friend Russ, who begins to help her in her search.
From another viewpoint (which takes place years earlier) we are introduced to the Ross family; Tony, Pam, Gray (Graham), and Kirsty. They are on an annual summer vacation at the shore when they are introduced to Mark Tate, a young, handsome, and charming 19 year-old. Much to the displeasure of Gray, Kirsty's older brother, Mark becomes infatuated with the 15 year-old girl and begins to seek out her company whenever possible. This takes a turn for the worse when his seemingly innocuous intentions become destructive. Unable to take no for an answer, Mark begins stalking Kirsty.
Back in the present day Alice and her children have become attached to the man they have called Frank. There is a burgeoning relationship between Alice and Frank, one which is not approved of by all, but it is overshadowed by Frank's inability to recall his past. However, he has had several flashes of memory which have caused both pain and fear. He remembers a young teenage girl rising a carousel. He remembers his mother's arms. But most importantly he remembers his hands around a man's throat. Despite his fear that he may have murdered someone, he makes sure to tell Alice everything. When days pass without further insight into who he is, however, they decide that the next day they will go see the police.
Meanwhile, Lily has found Carl's phone bill and tracked down his mother's phone number. She calls the number several times from Carl's phone, but nobody answers. In frustration she breaks his phone and is unable to put it back together. Instead she chooses to try the number using her phone, and she immediately gets an answer. The woman on the other end refuses to acknowledge knowing Carl, stating that she does not have a son; she hangs up on Lily. Not to be dissuaded by this turn of events, Lily asks Russ to call the number. Instead, he find the address associated with it and they embark on a journey to the seaside town of Ridinghouse Bay. There they find a grandiose house that looks as if it has been abandoned for years. However, using a key she found in Carl's belongings, Lily is able to open the house and soon discovers that it is not quite as abandoned as it first appeared. In fact, the attic room appears freshly laundered and recently inhabited.
Back in 1993, Kirsty has cut things off with Mark, and Gray and his family have gone out to dinner. There Gray falls for a singer names Izzy, who just happens to be friends with Mark. She invited Gray to a party at Mark's Aunt Kitty's house and suggests asking Kirsty to join them. Gray is completely infatuated with Izzy and asks Kirsty if she would like to join them at the party, not caring one way or the other if she said yes. Kirsty, not wanting to disappoint anybody, agrees to go to the party, though there is a curfew imposed by their father of midnight. Once at the house, drugs are given to each of them and, despite their initial reluctance, they both choose to take the pills. Gray looses track of his sister for a moment, instead focusing his attentions on Izzy, so that when he finally catches up with her again he finds that she has taken even more of the drugs and can no longer function normally. This is the point at which Mark's intentions become quite clear. He begins to argue with Kirsty and Gray stating that Kirsty should never have said she loved him if she did not mean it. Gray attempts to leave with his sister, but Kirsty is subdued and a knife is placed at her throat. She and Gray are locked in a room until the party is over, and there is no way to escape. Eventually Mark comes back and attempts to rape Kirsty, but Gray is able to escape and subdue Mark enough that Kirsty and he could get out of the house. Unfortunately, Mark was not one to be stopped and he pursues Gray and Kirsty onto the beach. Their father shows up, but is too far away to save Kirsty from Mark's clutches. Mark grabs her and jumps into the sea. Gray, whose arm was broken, is unable to swim but his father attempts to go after them. Unfortunately, the sea is too cold and the swim to laborious. Gray's father arrives back on the beach suffering a heart attack; he dies in Gray's arms and Gray enters a fugue state.
Back in the present day, Alice and Frank are about to head to the Police but decide to stop for a coffee with her friend Derry first. There Derry arranges a meeting with a journalist who is able to detail Gray's story and bring to light some of Franks memories. Frank begins to remember why he was at Ridinghouse Bay and what happened all those years ago. Meanwhile, Lily has made her way into the same shop asking about her husband. She shows their wedding photo album to Alice, Frank, and Derry and it is at this point that Frank remembers everything. He remembers seeing Carl (who turns out to be Mark) and taking him hostage. He also remembers strangling him. Though at the time he thinks he has killed him, it is later found that Mark is still alive. Visiting Mark's Aunt Kitty, the rest of the story takes shape and Frank/Gray is finally able to lay his sister to rest. It turns out that she had been buried in the Aunts yard ever since that fateful night. Mark is later caught and sent to prison along with his Aunt. Lily becomes an au pair for Russ. And, as was expected, Alice and Frank/Gray/Graham are able to begin their lives anew together.