You’ll Never See Me Again by Lesley Pearse
Updated: Aug 8, 2019
Lesley Pearse is a UK novelist who has sold over ten million books worldwide. Hers is a rags to riches story, as she was raised in orphanages as a child, she worked as a nanny, dressmaker and other jobs, before becoming a very successful fulltime writer at age forty-nine.
You’ll Never See Me Again opens in a small fishing village Devon in 1917. Betty was hoping for a happy life with her husband, but he has returned from the Great War so damaged psychologically, he doesn’t even recognise her, and no one expects him to get better. To make matters worse his mother, who was always difficult, is now making Betty’s life unbearable with her nastiness. Things come to a climax when her mother-in-law sends her into the dead of the night a devastating storm. Betty decides to flee the village, is presumed dead, and starts a new life with a new name in Bristol.
But starting a new life is not easy. She gets work as a maid in a large mansion and is just feeling comfortable again in life when the mistress of the house dies. She loses her employment and is forced out on the street. She is robbed and beaten, but thankfully a kind soul rescues her, and she eventually finds a position as a housekeeper to an artist. There is a German prisoner of war camp near the house, and she ends up having feelings for one of the prisoners who helps them with their garden. But of course, there is a problem with any potential romance – he’s German, and she’s still married. But then the Spanish Flu takes hold and things get very desperate, and there are further twists and turns, until the story takes her back to confront her past in Devon.
Anyone who enjoys historical sagas is going to love this book. This one has a gutsy heroine, who refuses to give up, no matter how tough life gets. It captures a time in history where you needed some backbone to survive and it examines the overall impact of the Great War and the Spanish Flu on society, and the terrible personal impact these events had on families.
Reviewer: Karen McMillan
Penguin Random House