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Monday, 19 June 2017

Exquisite by Sarah Stovell #blogtour #bookreview

About Exquisite
A chilling, exquisitely written and evocative thriller set in the Lake District, centring on the obsessive relationship that develops between two writers...
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.
My review of Exquisite

Exquisite is a beautifully written, domestic thriller that I hungrily devoured in a day. This is a dark, sexy, disturbing and indeed 'exquisite' read that had me guessing until the final page.

We are introduced firstly to Bo Luxton, a successful novelist, a woman in her forties who is married with two little girls. She lives in a picture postcard cottage in the Lake District. When we are first introduced to her, it seems that she is living the perfect and idyllic life, but is everything truly as it seems?

It is during a writing retreat that Bo has organised, that she is first introduced to Alice Dark, a young woman with a loser boyfriend who wants so much more from life. She wants to escape her dreary Brighton bedsit and make a name for herself as a professional writer. She's lost her way and writing could be her salvation.

Both women are polar opposites. One respectable, married, a successful writer, the other has none of these qualities. But, they surprisingly share a similar upbringing which is partly responsible for the bond that begins to tie them together. A sinister relationship begins, an all consuming one, based upon manipulation, control and power. But who is telling the truth? Who can we believe?

Exquisite is told in alternating chapters, in first person narrative. We read the thoughts of both Alice and Bo, sometimes the same scene is retold via an alternative viewpoint and this helps to give perspective on what has happened. We also get to read email correspondence from both women, which further help to clarify matters, and allows us to peel back the layers to see who exactly is telling the truth.

This book is about passion, obsession and the creative process. Both women are skilled writers, and it is this urge to create, especially when they are together at the writing retreat that sparks are formed. This is a hugely believable novel about the power one human can have over another, that emotional connection, the need to be as close as possible to that person who truly understands you. It is about all consuming love, the kind that clouds judgment, until you cannot see what is real or true any more. It is a shocking read, a disturbing read, made all the more unnerving because it is scarily real.

The imagery and language that are used are sublime, in that they help to evoke the oppressive and compelling drama that is unfurled before us. The surrounding of the cottage in the Lake Distant becomes a reflection of Bo, just as the flat in Brighton, a jumbled mass of chaos, takeaway boxes and drunken bodies, echoes the life that Alice is living and the life she so desperately needs to leave behind.

Exquisite is a compelling, thought provoking and page turner of a read. It is quite brilliant. This psychological thriller is going to be huge!
 With thanks to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for an Advanced Reader copy.

Exquisite, published on 15 Jun. 2017 by Orenda Books can be found on Amazon here.

About the author
Sarah Stovell was born in 1977 and spent most of her life in the Home Counties before a season working in a remote North Yorkshire youth hostel made her realise she was a northerner at heart. She now lives in Northumberland with her partner and two children and is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Lincoln University. Her debut psychological thriller, Exquisite, is set in the Lake District.
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1 comment:

  1. This book will definitely be in my top ten of the year!