Alys, Always by Harriet Lane came to my attention while listening to a short radio review of books on WDCB. Published in 2012, the fictional novel tells the story of a young English woman named Frances who happens upon a car accident while driving home one night along a lonely road. Further inspection reveals a woman trapped in the wrecked automobile. After summoning for help, Frances, who has a menial job in the publishing industry, holds a brief conversation with the accident victim until rescue workers arrive. Not long afterward, she discovers the now deceased woman in the car was the wife of a famous novelist. And from there, the plot takes a surprising twist.
Wanting a better life for herself, envious Frances develops a self-serving scheme designed to ingratiate herself into the grieving family’s life. As the story unfolded, I found myself amazed at the depths to which Frances sinks in order to accomplish her goal.
The novel is short and difficult to put down. By the end of the book, I hated Frances. The well-defined character reminded me of people I’ve encountered whose manipulative actions are solely directed toward achieving their selfish goals without care of others. This is a very good story with an ending which surprised me.