There’s nothing like an Orenda Books blog tour to make you feel like you’re missing out and need to read a book ASAP! As the fantastic reviews started piling up for Exquisite, that FOMO kicked in!
From the back cover:
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.
Exquisite showcases one of my favourite things in novels – dark yet beautiful writing! Stovell has weaved a dark and compelling tale about love and obsession. This novel features alternating narratives from Bo, a famous author, and Alice, a wannabe author, as they tell their story – how they met and how love can quickly become obsession.
This novel is character led and Stovell has developed both Bo and Alice extremely well, neither woman is particularly likeable [although I did prefer Alice], so when the unreliable narration kicks in, you’re not sure whose narrative to believe because you don’t massively favour one character over the other. I must be becoming a pro because I knew whose narrative to believe, what can I say – dark narration speaks to my soul. And that’s what I loved most about this book; Stovell’s beautifully dark, captivating writing style. I even knew who the anonymous narrator was that featured intermittently throughout the novel.
Regarding the plot itself, as in the events that occurred, I would rate this novel 3 stars, it was Stovell’s writing that earned the fourth star. For me, this book wasn’t really about the plot itself – I know that sounds strange considering books are all about plots but I think regardless of where Stovell took this plot, I would have been compelled to read on because that’s the power of her writing. It’s dramatic, atmospheric and it captured me – you know there’s darkness at the core of this book but Stovell takes you there in the most beautiful way.
I’ve read novels before that feature this theme of obsession but none were written as exquisitely as this one. While this is a psychological thriller, I didn’t experience any of the usual traits – I wasn’t unnerved in any way – I just really really loved Stovell’s over-exaggerated narration, her writing is mesmorising and that’s what essentially grips you and keeps you turning pages. If you’re looking for a psychological thriller that is beautifully written, different from what’s currently flooding the market, I recommend Exquisite. However, if you’re looking for a fast-paced thrill ride, this may not be the book for you. I will definitely read Stovell’s next book, just for another chance to experience her writing.