Blog Tour Review: Exquisite by Sarah Stovell

I am thrilled to be on the blog tour today for this intriguing book that kept me guessing all the way through.  It’s a different style of crime story so read on and find out more about it, including my review of the book itself.

Exquisite blog tour poster (1)

Synopsis:  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?



My Rating: 4/5

Review:  This is a brilliantly written book.  I say that first because it is the first thing that I noticed, the writing surprised me.  It was so simple but at the same time wasn’t and that is unusual in the books I read.

This is a story of two people and we get both viewpoints on events but, as with real life, the viewpoints aren’t always identical.  I read through the first half quite intrigued but equally confused as to what was going on.  I understood exactly what I was reading, don’t misunderstand me, but at the same time, it wasn’t clear what was happening, though thankfully the character seemed as confused as I was.  All became clear, however, as I kept reading and more was revealed.  I’m not a stupid person, I have a university degree and am studying for a Masters so I know I have a brain somewhere in my head but this book had me wondering, at times, if I’d missed something significant, maybe skipped a page by accident or something.  I was doubting myself most of the way through even though I had, correctly as it turned out, guessed some of it I wasn’t sure if I was correct as there were so many twists and turns that I just couldn’t be 100% sure of myself.

There’s not a lot I can say without giving anything away so this is a tricky review to write but let me finish with this.  The first book where I can remember spending most of it doubting myself.  Yes, there are times when I come to a conclusion in a book and then later, with more information, wonder if I may be wrong but this, this is different.  Wondering if I may be wrong is fine, we all do it, but this book made me question myself on almost every page.  Things are usually clearer than that and this is the difference.  Even with all the information I had the picture of the story wasn’t clear.  I couldn’t tell who had done or said what, which part was true or imagined and who to believe.  This book is so well-written that I questioned myself all the time while reading.  You could have told me the sky was green and I might have believed you, so unsure was I about what I thought while reading.  It was almost as if someone or something had got inside my head and was tangling my brain, that’s what this book did to me, it tangled my brain and now I need a nice, easy, straightforward read to untangle it again.

Having re-read my review it sounds to me as tangled as I felt reading the book so while that might be confusing it could also be a good thing because if you’ve read this far then at least you have some idea of what to expect when you read the book.  There was a part in the first half where I did find it a little slow, the pace let up for a bit but persevere because it is worth it, the pace picks up again and then it is a whirlwind of a race to the end.  I literally could not put it down in the second half and stayed up later than usual just to finish it off because I had to finish it.

If you want something that is at the same time a relatively straightforward story with few characters, but also confusing, brain tangling and will make you question what you think about it throughout almost the entire book then this is definitely one you want to read.  Even writing this is making my head fuzzy, I need to find some of that de-tangling kids shampoo but for my brain and see if that helps otherwise it might be a while before I am back to normal functioning and all because of one book……


Author bio:   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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