‘The Girls’ – Lisa Jewell

The Girls

 

The cover for this sums up perfectly the idea that a lot of the characters in this are trapped in some way. Though they may burn brightly, they are characters whose lives are claustrophobically linked.

Claire and her young daughters move to a new home, escaping the aftermath of a truly horrific episode in their lives. They move to a house in an area that makes much of its communal garden and friendly atmosphere. There the girls make friends with the local kids who, in a nod to Lord of The Flies, spend lots of their time unsupervised hanging out in the gardens. Adele, Leo and their three daughters are pivotal to the story.

Grace, the thirteen year old daughter of Claire, is found in the gardens late on the evening of her birthday. She is unconscious, and her clothes suggest some form of assault has taken place. The rest of the novel focuses on the attempts to discover what happened to Grace.

This was a clearly plotted story, with interesting characters, but it just didn’t quite have that spark for me. Unfortunately, too often I found myself wanting to skip ahead. Throughout the novel, Jewell dropped hints that suggested one character over another might have been involved. While it was fairly evident from quite early on who was actually responsible, I did find this interesting for highlighting just how little we actually know anyone.