10.26.2023 | Thursday

None of This Is True

category: Book Reviews

None of This Is Truetitle: None of This Is True
author: Lisa Jewell
published: 8 August 2023
publisher: Atria Books
genre(s): thrillers
pages: 366
source: Book of the Month
format: hardcover
buy/shelve it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

rating: five-stars

the blurb

Lisa Jewell returns with a scintillating new psychological thriller about a woman who finds herself the subject of her own popular true crime podcast.

Celebrating her forty-fifth birthday at her local pub, popular podcaster Alix Summers crosses paths with an unassuming woman called Josie Fair. Josie, it turns out, is also celebrating her forty-fifth birthday. They are, in fact, birthday twins.

A few days later, Alix and Josie bump into each other again, this time outside Alix’s children’s school. Josie has been listening to Alix’s podcasts and thinks she might be an interesting subject for her series. She is, she tells Alix, on the cusp of great changes in her life.

Josie’s life appears to be strange and complicated, and although Alix finds her unsettling, she can’t quite resist the temptation to keep making the podcast. Slowly she starts to realise that Josie has been hiding some very dark secrets, and before she knows it, Josie has inveigled her way into Alix’s life—and into her home.

But, as quickly as she arrived, Josie disappears. Only then does Alix discover that Josie has left a terrible and terrifying legacy in her wake, and that Alix has become the subject of her own true crime podcast, with her life and her family’s lives under mortal threat.

Who is Josie Fair? And what has she done?

  • my review
  • a few notes

None of This Is True is dark, twisty, and deeply psychological. It just may be my favorite, thus far, of Lisa Jewell’s novels.

The story revolves around two women whose lives could not be more different. Alix Summers is a famous podcaster whose content focuses on women who have had second chances, and used those chances to achieve great things. She lives in a nice part of the city with her handsome husband and her two children. Josie Fair is lives in a less wealthy area with her much older husband and one of her daughters, a recluse who virtually never leaves her room. Her other daughter ran away years ago. But when they meet in a restaurant, they quickly realize that they do have something in common. A shared birthday, born in the same hospital in the same city. And when Josie meets Alix, she’s determined to have what Alix does. So she convinces Alix to do a new season on her, Josie, as she goes through the process of changing her life.

And so it begins. The story is riveting, told by unreliable narrators. It is undeniably sinister and dark, and very twisty. Red flags galore! The format the author used to lay out the story really kept it rather atmospheric with short chapters bookended with extracts from a in-the-book Netflix documentary and from the fictional podcast.

Right from the very beginning, the reader knows horrible things have happened, but so much of it is intimated that, for a long time, one is kept guessing, trying to riddle out the truth of it. That created a heavy dose of anticipation that was sustained throughout the book.

Alix’s life wasn’t nearly as perfect is it looked from the outside, and Josie… well… not much I want to say here!! Truly a great read!

content warning: ❗abuse, murder, sex abuse❗

POV: 3rd person
keywords/phrases: abuse, lies, trauma

About Lisa Jewell

Lisa was born in London in 1968. Her mother was a secretary and her father was a textile agent and she was brought up in the northernmost reaches of London with her two younger sisters. She was educated at a Catholic girls’ Grammar school in Finchley. After leaving school at sixteen she spent two years at Barnet College doing an arts foundation course and then two years at Epsom School of Art & Design studying Fashion Illustration and Communication.

She worked for the fashion chain Warehouse for three years as a PR assistant and then for Thomas Pink, the Jermyn Street shirt company for four years as a receptionist and PA. She started her first novel, Ralph’s Party, for a bet in 1996. She finished it in 1997 and it was published by Penguin books in May 1998. It went on to become the best-selling debut novel of that year.

She has since written a further nine novels, as is currently at work on her eleventh.

She now lives in an innermost part of north London with her husband Jascha, an IT consultant, her daughters, Amelie and Evie and her silver tabbies, Jack and Milly.

Rating Report
Overall: five-stars

reading challenges:

  • 2023 Alphabet Soup: Author Edition Reading Challenge
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