Book Review: The Truth About Melody Browne by Lisa Jewell

As After The Party by Lisa Jewell was my Waiting On Wednesday book choice this week, and a few people commented that they had never read anything by her before, I thought I would post a review I wrote last year for her most recent book, The Truth About Melody Browne (which also happens to be one of my favourites too)

When she was nine years old, Melody Browne’s house burned down, taking every toy, every photograph, every item of clothing and old Christmas card with it. But not only did the fire destroy all her possessions, it took with it all her memories – Melody Browne can remember nothing before her ninth birthday. Now in her early thirties, Melody lives in a council flat in the middle of London with her seventeen-year-old son. She hasn’t seen her parents since she left home at fifteen, but Melody doesn’t mind, she’s better off on her own. She’s made a good life for herself and her son and she likes it that way. Until one night something extraordinary happens. Whilst attending a hypnotist show with her first date in years she faints – and when she comes round she starts to remember. At first her memories mean nothing to her but then slowly, day by day, she begins to piece together the real story of her childhood. Her journey takes her to the seaside town of Broadstairs, to oddly familiar houses in London backstreets and to meetings with strangers who love her like their own. But with every mystery she solves another one materialises, with every question she answers another appears. And Melody begins to wonder if she’ll ever know the truth about her past.

I’m a big fan of Lisa Jewell and as a rule, always enjoy her books. What I really like about her books is that while being predominantly chick-lit, they have a uniqueness about them and aren’t afraid to tackle the grimmer aspects of life. From the moment I opened this book I was absolutely hooked. I was already interested by the premise when I first heard about the book, however I wasn’t prepared for the fantastic story I found within it’s pages.

Melody was instantly easy to like and relate to. I find that Lisa Jewell’s female lead characters are real and solid and this was certainly the case with Melody who came across as familiar and as approachable as anyone I have met. In the first few pages we are introduced to a 9 year old Melody, awakening from unconsciousness after a house fire with no memory of her former years at all, and a thirty three year old Melody who has had a child very young, worked hard to live a stable and steady life, but who has concerns about her own identity now her son is almost grown up. I was both intrigued by the mystery of the house fire and Melody’s memory loss and connected with adult Melody immediately.

As Melody starts to have flashbacks and regain her memory, a very complex and touching story unfurls. I wasn’t expecting anything quite so serious and was constantly surprised with the way the book would go. In this book Lisa Jewell tackles some very serious subjects, such as child loss, depression and the effects of a marriage break-up on children. I thought that this was done in a particularly human and realistic way and was at times very sad and touching, while also managing to be warm, humorous and loving.

I think Lisa Jewell has achieved in this book the perfect balance of serious subjects and an entertaining and beautifully real, optimistic story. She has created characters that are easy to care about, an intriguing storyline full of twists and turns, and an ending that will leave you smiling…perfect! I absolutely loved this book, and devoured the 326 pages in less than 24 hours. I already really liked Lisa Jewell as an author, however I think this book has just propelled her to one of my favourites. If you have enjoyed Lisa Jewell books in the past, then I recommend this highly, it’s her best yet. If you’ve never read any of her books before, then you definitely should give them a go!

My Rating: 5/5

8 thoughts on “Book Review: The Truth About Melody Browne by Lisa Jewell

  1. I have all Lisa's books and on trip to around the South Pacific last year I paid twice the UK price in NZ for the book in the hope I would have time to read it…. Alas not but beckoning on my bookshelf today it was a wait worthwhile. I have read the whole thing in less than 11hrs. Its the best yet and I still have her two latest novels to read in the next couple of weeks while I have time. Lisa is an author for her generation, single, married, children or not I you fail you fail to take something away with you I am agast…. ENJOY 🙂


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