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LISA JEWELL AT BUDLEIGH SALTERTON LITERATURE FESTIVAL AND ‘NONE OF THIS IS TRUE’ REVIEW

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Exeter chapter.

In July, Lisa Jewell published a new novel, None of This is True. She subsequently did a book tour, which included an appearance at Budleigh Salterton Literature Festival. In this article, I will be giving my review of the novel and a quick rundown of her talk at the Literature Festival. I hope you enjoy!

‘NONE OF THIS IS TRUE’ REVIEW

In July, Lisa Jewell published her 21st novel, None of This is True. This thriller novel follows two women, Alix Summers, a popular podcaster who appears to have a perfect life, and Josie Fair, a seemingly unremarkable lady with a dark past and a messy relationship with her much older husband. They meet in a pub on what happens to be both of their 45th birthdays; they have nothing in common except for being birthday twins, but their lives become interwoven as the novel progresses. They bump into each other a few days later and Josie tells Alix that she has been listening to Alix’s podcasts and wants to be a subject of one, as she feels she is on the verge of great change. Josie worms her way into Alix’s life, and there immediately seems to be more to her than meets the eye. Her sinister backstory is always on the cusp of being revealed, but not until the end of the book do we find out the real truth – or what Josie and her family want people to believe. 

This novel is quite simply incredible. Every chapter finished on a cliff-hanger, and I was constantly telling myself ‘just one more chapter’. So many aspects are so dark and sinister, and when paired with the title, you are really left wondering which parts of the story are true and which are lies and manipulation. The agonisingly slow reveal of Josie’s secrets makes it impossible to put down. The format of the novel adds an extra bit of depth to its mystery; Snippets are set out like a Netflix documentary and podcast, which truly brings the story alive, as it feels like you are watching the events unfold on TV, rather than reading about them, as slivers of information are revealed. 

I am a huge Lisa Jewell fan, and I would say this was probably one of my top 3 of her novels. It is delightfully dark and was genuinely really hard to stop thinking about. It does contain unsettling themes, including paedophilia, abuse, and violence, so obviously might not be suitable for everyone. However, None of This is True is definitely a 5-star read, and I would recommend it to anyone looking to get stuck into a gritty, twisty novel. 

budleigh salterton literature festival

On Wednesday 20th September, Lisa Jewell appeared at Budleigh Salterton Literature Festival to discuss the novel. She talked about her inspiration for her writing, her upcoming projects, and even read an extract from the book, which was just as great as the first time I read it to myself. It was fantastic to hear her discuss the book, free from spoilers, which was great as some people in the audience hadn’t got round to reading it yet, and kept a feeling of suspense for the audience!

It was fascinating to learn about her writing process, and how her characters and storylines develop as she goes along, rather than having a concrete plot from the start. This solidified my belief that Lisa Jewell is a complete genius when it comes to novel writing – she can see anything, something as simple as a man sitting working on his laptop in the window, and envisage a whole scenario which she just has to write about. She also clarified some queries the ending, which was great as I was honestly a bit confused by it when reading; I’ve never been to a book talk before, so loved getting this inside information from the writer herself, and understand the decisions and meanings behind certain choices.

I even got to meet and speak to her at the end, as well as get my copy of None of This is True signed! This was such a lovely experience, and I would really recommend going to author talks, especially if one of your favourites goes somewhere close to you!

Abi Manley

Exeter '25

Hi, I'm Abi! I'm a Sociology student who loves reading, music and cooking.