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.
Jellybird is the debut novel from Lezanne Clannachan. The hardback edition was published by Orion in March 2013, the paperback will be published on 13 February 2014.
Jessica is a woman who appears, on the surface, to have it all. A successful career creating jewellery from everyday items, a husband Jacques who adores her, a nice home. She also harbours secrets. Secrets from her childhood, when her father abandoned the family and then her only friend Thomas disappeared suddenly one night. To remind herself of how worthless she really is, Jessica hurts herself - in secret.
Then Libby appears. Bright, loud, spontaneous Libby who wants to be Jessica's friend. Jessica is soon swept up in Libby's life, brushing aside Jacques' concerns, just delighted to have a friend. When Jessica sees Jacques and Libby together one day, all of her insecurities rush back. She remembers her mother Birdie - how she would question Jessica's father about where he had been, who he had seen - until one day he left and didn't come home. Jessica doesn't want to be like Birdie, so instead she flees back to her childhood home - the seaside caravan park and memories of Thomas.
Jellybird is a dark and quite unsettling story, and although it's not a long book at just over 350 pages, it took me quite a while to read it. There is an air of menace around Jessica's back story, the caravan park and surrounding area are described so perfectly that their bleakness and desolation resounds through the story.
Jessica is a complex character and her story is complicated. Lezanne Clannachan is very subtle in her writing, and the story is slowly revealed.
Uncovering secrets, revealing betrayals and looking deep into family relationships, Jellybird is a fine debut novel. The writing is stark yet powerful, the story is gripping and powerful.
For more information about the author visit her website www.lezanneclannachan.co.uk.
Find her on Facebook and Twitter @LezanneClan