‘Alys, Always’ is Harriet Lane’s debut novel.
Francis Thorpe is in her mid-thirties and single. She works as a sub-editor for a struggling publication. She leads a fairly mundane life and there is not much prospect of that changing.
Then one evening she comes across the aftermath of a car accident and stays with the woman driver until an ambulance and police arrive. The woman later dies.
It is only later that Francis finds out that the woman was Alys Kyte, wife of the famous Booker winning novelist Lawrence Kyte.
The Kyte family want to meet the woman who was with their wife and mother shortly before her death. On meeting the Kytes, Francis sees a life far removed from her own. She begins to plot to make herself a part of their life.
As she gets to know the Kytes, Francis finds all aspects of her life begin to change. She becomes more confident and loses her invisibility at work. And she manipulates every situation to get the most out of it.
This was an excellently written novel.
I usually prefer novels where I get to like the characters. There wasn’t a single likeable character in this book.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed the slow building drama of the manipulative Francis Thorpe edging her way into a new world.
I’m looking forward to reading Harriet Lane’s other novel – ‘Her’.
Book Published 2012