Review: The Unknown Woman by Jacqueline Lunn


Title: The Unknown Woman

Author: Jacqueline Lunn

Published: Random House May 2014

Status: Read May 15th, 2014 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher/netgalley}

My Thoughts:

This is a story of a mother, a wife, a sister, a friend, a neighbour, and daughter in law. Lilith Grainger is a forty-something-year-old housewife and stay at home mother whom, it seems, is no longer sure who she is, or what she wants, outside the parameters of her relationships with others.

Though dedicated to providing for the needs of her family, she quietly yearns for something more, something unknowable. Lilith’s family and friends see none of her inner turmoil, but neither does Lilith quite recognise it. She drifts through her life doing what is expected, what is needed, keeping busy, but with little passion. Eventually Lilith’s restlessness and repressed distress prompts her to act out in odd ways.

The Unknown Woman is a commentary on motherhood, identity and modern life, but not as an experience I’m familiar with. Though I’m a SAHM, and have been for ten years, Lilith’s angst doesn’t resonate with me. I have made a conscious choice to stay at home and I have developed interests and relationships outside of my immediate circle that stimulate and challenge me. In fact I’m dreading having to return to full time paid employment at some point in the future, though finances will eventually force my hand. I think this is why in part I felt frustrated with Lilith and her story, she has so many options, and a cushion of wealth to explore them, but instead chooses to wallow in a self induced coma of misery. I wanted to feed her a course of anti-depressants and send her to volunteer at a women’s refuge to find some much needed perspective.

I didn’t feel compelled to turn the pages of The Unknown Woman, but I did want to know how Lilith resolved her angst and what happened to her. (view spoiler). While I couldn’t fault the standard of writing, this was not a story I connected with.
I much preferred Lunn’s first novel, Under the Influence.

The Unknown Woman  is Available to Purchase from

Random House I boomerang-books_long I Booktopia I via Booko

Amazon AU I Amazon US



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. 1girl2manybooks
    May 18, 2014 @ 10:57:47

    Not sure whether I’m going to read this one! Leaning more towards no after reading your review, it sounds like I’d have the same problems identifying with the main character and would probably be equally as frustrated!



  2. Daystarz Books
    May 29, 2014 @ 21:03:55

    This is a DNF for me 😦



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