Blog Tour | Book Review: The Rival by Charlotte Duckworth #BringonTheRival

The Rival - Charlotte Duckworth

Happy publication day to Charlotte Duckworth, The Rival is out in hardback today, and I’m delighted to be sharing my review as part of the social media tour, celebrating the release of this fantastic novel.


Helena is a career woman with no job and a mother without a baby. She blames Ashley for destroying her life. But is what happened really Ashley’s fault?

When Helena hires Ashley to work for her, she’s startled but impressed by her fierce ambition. They form a dream team and Helena is proud – maybe this is the protégée she’s always wanted to have. But soon Helena realizes that nothing will stand in the way of Ashley’s drive to get to the top. And when Helena becomes pregnant, everything she has worked so hard for is suddenly threatened, with devastating consequences…


How many psychological suspense novels have you read centred around the family home and driven by the events that occur there? The cheating spouse, the missing child, the spouse with a secret that could ruin everything? I bet loads of novels come to mind, well how about a novel centred around the workplace – a female rivalry; a novel so filled with suspense, you can’t turn the pages fast enough to find out what happens, and most importantly, a novel that satisfied when you do find out. That novel, ladies and gentlemen, is The Rival.

Our two main characters, Helena and Ashley, narrate this novel in alternating ‘then’ and ‘now’ chapters, and we see just how cutthroat the workplace can be. This dual timeline, accompanied with alternating perspectives, worked perfectly to give you a well-rounded view of the occurring events, yet never became confusing as each woman’s ‘voice’ was distinct. Helena is instantly likeable, whereas Ashley isn’t, there’s no denying her ambition but her behaviour is almost mechanical, lacking emotion, in that her priority is her career, and she’ll be damned if she’s going to let a little thing like her manager (Helena) stop her advancing. I’d be lying if I said this novel didn’t rile me up at times, have me thinking Helena was allowing Ashley a bit too much leeway. You know when you just want to jump into a book and have a word with a character – “Hey Helena, wake up, she’s coming for your job! Don’t let her take it, don’t have it, you’re trying to make friendship bracelets while she’s trying to replace you!” You know you’re reading a good book when you want to intervene!

Although I was Team Helena, Ashley was a very complex character and, though they weren’t explored in great detail, you could see there were many layers that made up her character and this shined a light on why she behaved the way she did at times. What’s scary about this novel is, you can picture these scenes happening in real life, the underhand tactics, how these corporate industries pit women against each other, how job security isn’t as secure as it should be. How some women feel they have to be ruthless to advance in their career, and the ever-present debate of career and motherhood, can you really have both?

The marketing around this novel got it so right, The Rival is full of suspense, and that suspense builds and builds, in fact, I was slightly concerned because it was so intense, I wondered what kind of reveal could match such a high level of suspense. But I needn’t have worried because, wow, this novel delivered. It’s so frustrating because I can’t fully explain to you just how good this novel is, the important issues Duckworth addressed, without giving anything away. So I’ll say no more than, the themes of women in the workplace and motherhood are explored in a way that stays with you, in the darkness and the light. You just have to read this one for yourself to see how Helena ended up a career woman with no job and a mother without a baby.

The Rival emotionally involves you in the plot, especially if you are a woman, because it’ll have you asking yourself what you would do in either women’s position. It’s a well-written, fluid read; a compelling tale and a very impressive debut! It has very up-to-date references, including those in relation to social media, while the characters may be fictional, the events reflect today’s society, so I highly recommend The Rival to those who like their fiction contemporary, those who want to explore the psychology behind the complex relationship of these women in the workplace, the ambition and jealousy that drives them, and what happens when it all goes wrong!

This book is available to buy from: Amazon UK / Book Depository

*My thanks to the publisher (Quercus) for providing me with a copy of this book and inviting me to participate in the blog tour*


CharlotteDuckworth-headshot3Charlotte Duckworth is a 2017 graduate of the Faber Academy’s acclaimed six-month ‘Writing a Novel’ course. Charlotte has spent the past fifteen years working as an interiors and lifestyle journalist, writing for a wide range of consumer magazines and websites.

She lives in Surrey with her partner and young daughter.

She is currently working on her second novel, THE INFLUENCER.




The Rival social media tour


14 thoughts on “Blog Tour | Book Review: The Rival by Charlotte Duckworth #BringonTheRival

    1. Thank you! 🙂
      I wasn’t expecting the issue the author brought in at the end, it was an unexpected surprise, an issue that I think should be addressed more in fiction… I know that tells you nothing more than my review but I certainly don’t want to give anything away because I’m hoping you’ll read this one at some point 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Janel, I can’t resist that- you pushed me over the edge! Knowing that you want me to read it! So I went over to Amazon and it was only 99 cents! So I bought it! You and Beth are on the enabler list today! ♥️ And thank you! And one more thing, you may have to remind me to read it because it’s swimming in my sea of Kindle reads! 😂 ♥️

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Loved the review!
    I need to read this 😀 Crazy career woman on a warpath… sounds alien to me, but fascinating. I’m not very work oriented, in fact my job is literally the least important thing i can think of right now (as long as i have it, of course), but i’m intrigued by the whole scenario nevertheless.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t ever worked in the corporate setting, most of my jobs have been for charities, and I’m currently with the NHS but I image in certain corporate environments it can get very competitive! I hope you enjoy this one when you get to it 😊

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s