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You’ll Never See Me Again by Lesley Pearse

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Article by Swirl and Thread ©.
Posted in | .

Lesley Pearse is a much-loved storyteller for many reasons. In the UK alone a Lesley Pearse book is purchased EVERY 4 minutes, with her tales packed with characters that her readers truly care about. ‘There is no formula to her books or easily defined genre…she always engages the reader completely’

You’ll Never See Me Again is the 27th novel from this most gifted and prolific of writers and was published with Michael Joseph. (Also now available in digital and audio formats, with the paperback edition due March 2020.)

You’ll Never See Me Again is described as ‘a tale of one woman’s fight to find her destiny….heart-pounding, exhilarating and ever suspenseful’ In true Lesley Pearse form, the reader is immediately captivated and transported to another era.

It’s 1917 on a very rough night in Devon. The folk of Hallsands are preparing to battle a raging storm that is on their doorsteps. A small fishing village with few inhabitants, the water is their livelihood, but at times like this it is also their enemy. As the winds roar and the rains batter the village, Betty Wellows is taking refuge with her mother-in-law, Agnes, and her husband, Martin. Martin was the love of Betty’s life. As teenagers their relationship blossomed until the inevitable marriage took place. Betty had lived with her beloved father. Following the tragic death of her mother, she kept house from a very young age, she fished with him, she tried to fill that missing gap in his life but she could never replace her mother. Martin moved in with them following their marriage, away from the poisonous tongue of his own mother and times were happy for the three. But life can be cruel and over the years Betty lost, first her beloved father, Bert, followed by the return from the First World War of Martin, no longer the man she fell in love with. Martin’s shell-shock and mental condition meant that he no longer recognised Betty, leaving her at the end of her wits and subject to the constant bullying and bitterness of Agnes. On that stormy night in 1917, Agnes sent Betty out to her own cottage to collect her belongings but Betty was afraid. The weather was, by now, treacherous, leaving Betty very concerned for her own safety.

‘The front door of her cottage was bent like cardboard from the barrage of seawater, partially split by the force of the wind and hurled shingle. As Betty pushed it open, it fell drunkenly inwards on the stone floor. Three or four inches of water had already flooded in, lying there dark and still, a dank smell reaching her nostrils. Betty had taken the two fireside chairs and the rug upstairs before she had left on the previous day, in the hope that the storm would blow itself out. Yet she had sensed even then, as all her neighbours had, that there would be no reprieve this time. Maybe last night’s high tide hadn’t destroyed their homes, but a second extremely high tide and a bad storm would mean that by tomorrow morning the walls and windows would be gone, the furniture floating out to sea.’

In that moment Betty made a decision that would change the course of her life forever. She packed a bag and escaped into the darkness of the night, away from the man she no longer recognised and away from the woman who had terrorised her for years, away from Tern Cottage.

‘”You’ll never see me again” she said aloud, looking towards Tern Cottage. “May God forgive me for doing something so wicked. But you are to blame, Agnes Wellows!”’

Betty makes her way to Bristol where she changes her name to Mabel Brook. But Mabel is soon out of her depth in this loud and strange city and is brutally attacked, prey for the hardened folk who have suffered their own injustices. Mabel finds comfort in the care of a local psychic and over time comes to realise that she too has a power, an ability to communicate with the dead.

Mabel begins an incredible journey of hardship, tragedy, friendship and love. She witnesses first hand the animosity toward German POWs during the Great War and the ravages of the Spanish Flu. She educates herself over the years and recognises the class barriers that still exist in the early 20th century. She is exposed to trauma and passion, fear and death. But Mabel is determined and strong, she is fierce in everything she does, not letting the past forever cloud her future. Until one day, she receives a message, one she cannot ignore……

You’ll Never See Me Again is another sweeping tale from Lesley Pearse that just immediately captures the reader, drawing you into the life and hardships of this tenacious and strong-willed young woman. Historical fiction always fascinates me and Lesley Pearse brings a very strong sense of time and place to her writing. You’ll Never See Me Again is packed with a cast of wonderfully portrayed characters, all adding to the overall sense of drama and suspense. It is a beautifully executed tale and most definitely another accomplished novel from this No.1 global bestselling author.

(c) Swirl and Thread

Order your copy online here.