Exquisite by Sarah Stovell **BlogTour review**
This is a real treat to be part of the Blog Tour to celebrate the publication of Exquisite by Sarah Stovell. Orenda Books describe it as a chilling, exquisitely written and evocative thriller set in the Lake District, centring on the obsessive relationship that develops between two writers…
How could I resist?
More about the book
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
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. It's a literary thriller which centres around obsessive love
I loved this book from the start, especially the way it was structured with two unreliable narrators, Bo and Alice. With chapters devoted to each one in sequence, both spoke in the first person but this was never confusing. It means that you get to see events through two pairs of eyes, although you are never quite sure which version to believe. As their relationship develops, it becomes quite disturbing to be ' in their heads' at times and your sympathy moves from one to the other and back again.
It isn't obvious at first quite why Bo and Alice are so drawn together. One, the established seemingly assured author and the other, an aspiring but completely inexperienced writer, yet to really develop her talent. And there in the inequality between them, seems to be the key. We learn that one of them controls her life with an absolute determination, whilst the other is at sea, ripe for the taking. At first they seem complete opposites but as Sarah Stovell begins to expose their backgrounds, it becomes obvious that below the surface, their early lives were lacking in security and love. Maybe they are more similar than it first appeared.
This really was a book which I didn't put down, reading most of it in one go whilst travelling down the country. The pace of the book constantly draws you in and takes you along. It examines many strands in the characters' make-up- obsessive love, relationships of convenience, feelings about motherhood, and how people construct a life for themselves to block out the past. At one point, Alice describes Bo as an 'enigma' but I think tthat actually, that word can be applied to the whole book. This is a book which involves you totally when you are reading it. It knocks you off balance and you never quite feel confident throughout.
That's great writing.
In short: a tense, unsettling story of obsession and damaged personalities.
About the Author
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.
You can connect with Sarah on Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook
Thanks to Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater of Orenda Books for a copy of the book and a place on the Blog Tour
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