The Truth about Melody Browne, By Lisa Jewell

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For anyone who hasn't picked up a Lisa Jewell novel since her chick-lit classic Ralph's Party (1999), it might be time for a re-acquaintance. Having out-grown tales of love-sick flatmates, Jewell has more complex scenarios to spin. Melody is a 33-year-old single mother who shares a flat in Covent Garden with her 17-year-old son.

She can't remember much about her own childhood, except that she survived a house fire at the age of nine. It's while on a rare evening out that she attends the show of a well known hypnotist, so triggering a series of disturbing flashbacks.

Any mention of an amnesiac heroine will ring alarm bells, but Jewell's writing proves as punchy and fresh as ever. Her lively depiction of inner-city London living and dating still rings true.

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