Thursday 29 June 2017

Review ~ Exquisite by Sarah Stovell

Orenda Books
15 June 2017

What's it all about...

Bo Luxton has it all—a loving family, a beautiful home in the Lake District, and a clutch of bestselling books to her name. Enter Alice Dark, an aspiring writer who is drifting through life, with a series of dead-end jobs and a freeloading boyfriend. When they meet at a writers’ retreat, the chemistry is instant, and a sinister relationship develops. Or does it? Breathlessly pacey, taut and terrifying, Exquisite is a startlingly original and unbalancing psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the very last page.

What did I think about it...

From the start of the novel, and a very clever prologue, we are taken very securely by the hand as this talented writer leads us on a journey which becomes increasingly darker and more menacing as the story, and the journey, progresses.

Bo Luxton appears to be everyone's dream author, with a series of highly successful novels and the ability to encourage other aspiring authors at her writers' workshops. When she spots raw talent in Alice Dark, a young writer with heaps of potential, a disturbing and sinister relationship starts to develop between them. Both women are complete opposites, one with a successful writing career and a wonderful lifestyle, whilst the other seems to lurch from one calamity to another, and yet, the spark of attraction which exists between them is gloriously addictive, and is perhaps one of the most disturbing things I’ve read in ages.

Cleverly told, in alternate chapters and from Bo and Alice’s perspective, Exquisite is one of those stories which you are unable to leave alone. It follows you, insidiously, from room to room, so that in any spare minute you find that you pick up the story to delve deeper into the mystery of Bo and Alice’s chilling association. Throughout the story there is an overwhelming need for answers, and yet the author only ever reveals as much as you need to know, and she does this ever so slowly, drop by exquisite drop, until there comes a point where even as the truth and lies start to coalesce, you continue to doubt the trustworthiness of either narrator.

And that’s really where the strength of the novel lies, in that, you never really know what’s going on until the book has ended and even then there are still questions...

The Domestic Noir genre continues to go from strength to strength with some very fine female writers who command attention, and in my opinion Exquisite is up there with the best of the genre.

Best read with...a home made baguette with brie and grapes...

My thanks to Karen at Orenda for my copy of Exquisite 


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