Book Review: Finding Jess by Julia Ibbotson

Many of us often speak about “finding ourselves” but somehow don’t have the motivation to actually do so. If you are one of those people check out this book. It will give you the nudge that you need.

Finding Jess by Julia Ibbotson focuses on a new period of Jess’s life, after her husband Simon walked out on her and their beautiful young daughters Katy and Abi. She did have a friend and confidante in Polly, until Polly and Simon start having an affair together. Next thing Polly decides to apply for a job at Jess’s school – with Jess’s job in sight. Out of the blue, Jess is mysteriously sent a clipping for a temporary post in the Ministry of Education in Ghana, where she did a gap year as a teenager, and where she was happy. She is on the brink of losing everything at home but could this be a lifeline?

This book fooled me. When I began reading, I didn’t realise it is the final book in a trilogy. That’s a good sign though! It means that you can read Finding Jess without having read the other installments. I didn’t feel like I was missing information. There were plenty of (what I believe to be) flashback scenes that provided the catch up I needed.

Jess is a lovely character and you really find yourself rooting for her. However, it was more what Jess represents that sold the book to me. Jess really has the worst of the worst flung at her but yet she pushes on. Therefore, for me, this is not so much a story of love and betrayal but one of survival and the resilience of humans. It is not a simple story of getting over an ex, nor is it about finding love again. It is a feel-good story of a woman’s strength and spirit rising above adversity. Finding Jess is not a story with frills about it.

The beautiful writing style of Julia Ibbotson also added to my enjoyment of this book. There are scenes full of raw emotion where we can really understand the turmoil that Jess is going through but also just how strong a character she is. However, it is the scenes in Ghana that excited me the most. The descriptive prose of Jess’s arrival in the city made me feel like I was stepping foot there myself.

Overall, I totally recommend Finding Jess, specifically if you are looking to pull out some of the inner strength I know you have inside you.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Finding Jess (new).jpg

Award-winning author Julia Ibbotson is fascinated by the medieval world and concepts of time travel. She studied English at Keele University, specialising in medieval language, literature and history, and has a PhD in linguistics. She wrote her first novel at 10, but became a school teacher, then university lecturer and researcher. Julia spent a turbulent but exciting time in Ghana, West Africa, teaching and nursing. She has published both academic works and fiction, including a medieval time-slip, a children’s novel , a memoir, and the Drumbeats trilogy (which begins in Ghana in the 1960s). Apart from insatiable reading, Julia loves world travel, choral singing, swimming, yoga, and walking in the UK and Madeira where she and her husband divide their time. She runs an
editing/critiquing service for authors: details on her website. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Society of Authors and the Historical Novel Society.

You can find her at
Author website: Author page:
Pinterest page: includes boards with pics and images that inspired each book

Goodreads author page:

author photo image 3.JPG


  1. This book sounds wonderful, I love it when you can really connect with the main character and really will them to do well. It sounds heartwarming, and I hope it ends well for her! Lovely review, and as everyone else has said, the front cover is lovely ❤

    Chloe xx

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