Exquisite – Sarah Stovell – Review and Blog tour
I’m so chuffed (do people still SAY chuffed these days?) to be part of the blog tour for this truly exquisite book!
Certain to appeal to all keen readers and budding writers because its two lead characters are both authors, and absolutely guaranteed to enthrall those discerning folk who do pick it up and read it owing to the wonderfully sublime writing and clever characterization within the pages.
Bo is the first woman we meet. In her forties, she is already a successful, popular, published author with a string of books to her credit. Living in the tranquil and idyllic Lake district with her older husband and their two daughters, she is self-assuredly living the dream every fledgling writer fantasizes about. Every now and then she holds a creative writing course to help new talent emerge.
Isn’t she just the perfect role model for a struggling, younger, would be author to admire?
That emerging writer turns out to be Alice. She hasn’t yet had the breaks Bo had, she is stuck in a dead end job, living in a grotty Brighton flat shackled to a kind but feckless, would be artist, boyfriend, whose talents as a painter are obscured by a haze of drugs and alcohol as he fritters his life and parties his days away.
When the two women, both so very different but with a strong shared passion for writing, meet, a spark ignites between the two and they seem destined to become unlikely but inevitable best friends. Something smoulders from that spark and the conflagration which follows is sure to mean someone will get burnt, but who?
As we discover snippets of both womens pasts, it’s clear they are both damaged goods, with a theme of failed Mother/ daughter relationships blighting both their pasts, yet this is something else which binds them ever closer.
The storyline is sinuous, weaving gently around the reader then tightening its grip. I was lulled into a sense of security then gradually realized everything wasn’t as it first appears to be and there is something pretty sinister going on, which in turn scared me, made me angry and then made me wonder if I’d misinterpreted everything!
As the story of this toxic relationship develops it’s clear that someone is manipulative and can’t be fully trusted and my sympathies veered between Bo and Alice, although I found I related much more closely to one than the other. Which one will YOU empathize with I wonder?
The story is narrated first by one woman, then the other and at the outset it seemed as though I was reading the same chapters twice as events are told by Alice then Bo, until suddenly tiny discrepancies creep in and its grows clearer that one of these voices is somewhat unreliable …. and then the shit hits the fan … and the OMG moments become almost too much to bear!
A stunning and immaculately fragmented tale of twisted perfection.
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.