By Sarah Stovell
Published by Orenda Books (15 June 2017)
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?
The writing in Exquisite is truly ... stunning. Yes, I'm going to try to review it without mentioning the title (well maybe once).
The instant they meet, Alice and Bo feel a spark ignite between them. Bo is an established author. Alice is a young writer who joins one of Bo's writing retreats. Unable to keep their distance, their friendship evolves into a dangerous, sexy, passionate, powerful and intense relationship, spiralling behind their control.
Beautifully written prose put me right inside the heads of these two unreliable narrators, experiencing all of their thoughts and feelings. Their passions. Their fears. Their worries. Their hopes for the future. There was an underlying current of unease. And the tension gradually escalated until these two intelligent women became pitted against one another, with more than a hint of Fatal Attraction (without the bunny boiling). I found it very difficult to know who to believe, who was telling the truth and who was telling lies (although I did have my suspicions, which turned out to be correct). And as for that ending .... Ooh, it got me thinking, and the unease started all over again.
Everyone will be calling this book 'exquisite'. It's a perfect title. But if anyone thinks that's too cliched, here are a few of the other words and phrases that came to mind as I read it - stunning, gorgeous, expertly crafted, superb, magnificent, breathtaking, breath-holding, skin-tingling, and highly memorable. Some of the best writing I've read all year.
An unforgettable, outstanding book that should be on everyone's 'to buy' list!
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher.
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