‘I’m good at secrets,’ Libby says. Yes, thinks Jessica, I bet you are …
Jessica should have everything to make her happy: a loving husband, a growing reputation as a jewellery designer, hope for a family of her own in the future. Then she meets Libby – flattering, attentive – and believes she has found the friendship she missed out on as a child. Until Jessica catches her husband and Libby alone, heads together in whispered collusion.
With her life unravelling, Jessica flees home to the seaside town where she grew up. The discovery of an old postcard among her childhood belongings sends Jessica in search of her first love, Thomas, ‘the ghost boy’ who disappeared one night seventeen years ago. The last time Jessica saw Thomas he was covered in blood and begging her to hide him. Now to find him, Jessica must confront the secrets that link her to Libby, the missing boy and a brutal murder.
A chilling debut of first love, damage and a brutal murder Jellybird is a dark, unsettling novel of childhood secrets, and the remarkable debut novel by Lezanne Clannachan.
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With her life unravelling, Jessica flees home to the seaside town where she grew up. The discovery of an old postcard among her childhood belongings sends Jessica in search of her first love, Thomas, ‘the ghost boy’ who disappeared one night seventeen years ago.
Jessica has escaped her somewhat unhappy childhood and is happily married – until Libby comes into her life. At first Jessica is pleased to have a new friend. But as she becomes suspicious of Libby’s motives, Jessica finds circumstances flinging her back into her past..and a mystery never fully explained.
This was a wonderfully evocative novel – a tale of childhood, how our experiences shape our adult self and most of all about perception…and how things can come into focus as we grow up and understand more – especially about the actions, or sometimes inactions of our parents. Jessica takes a journey back into her childhood but seeing it with different eyes..in order to find out who she is and what she wants, she must understand who she was then….and find out once and for all the truth about what happened to Thomas.
This book did remind me, with its ambience, very much of one of my favourite Agatha Christie novels – Sleeping Murder. Very different tales, but both with childhood memories affecting an adult life and both with something dark lurking just below the surface. In Sleeping Murder of course, Miss Marple knows why that feeling influences Gwenda so deeply, in JellyBird Jessica is on her own..who can she trust when a lot of the time she does not even trust herself? And therein lies the beauty of this one – a sympathetic character who you are right behind even at the times you would like to kick her in the shin to get her to wake the heck up.
The mystery element is intelligent and creative – all is not as it appears. Ever. Right up to the end there is an element of suspicion about what actually occurred – even with hindsight not everything becomes clear (no, those of you who hate an open ended finish, that is not what I mean, the story is complete. However I certainly have one question for Ms Clannachan and I shall be tracking her down shortly to ask it) If you like an imaginative resolution I would say you will love this.
All in all a terrific read so thanks Bex for insisting I would love it – because you were oh so right!
Praise for Jellybird
‘A tremendous debut with real psychological texture. The plotting is subtle, the balance between past and present finely judged, the prose fresh and precise.’
Nigel Farndale, bestselling author of The Blasphemer.
‘A book to devour in one sitting, Jellybird is a dark and unsettling thriller from exciting new voice Lezanne Clannachan.’
Jellybird is an exciting read […] It reminded me very much of Nicci French’s work and Anna Raverat’s chilling debut Signs of Life. It’s dark and unsettling, but it never sways from its course: a dramatic, often nail-biting, story told in a clear, heartfelt voice.
‘This is a nail-biting debut full of twists and betrayal – an author to look out for again.’
[Jellybird is] a book I would recommend to anybody looking for intrigue and mystery, but particularly to fans of Erin Kelly’s novels – it reminded me a little of The Sick Rose. This is Lezanne Clannachan’s debut novel, and it has made me very interested to see what she’ll come up with next. (read more)
An enjoyable, surprising novel with a very striking writing style… The plot is gripping… (full review)
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