Many thanks to Berkley for sending me a copy of The French Girl! #prhpartner
Publication Date: Tuesday, February 20th, 2018 (today!)
Page Count: 304
Why I read it: The publisher reached out to me to see if I'd be interested in checking this out.
First Sentence: "Looking back, the most striking thing is that she knew I didn't like her and she didn't care."
Synopsis: From Amazon-We all have our secrets...
They were six university students from Oxford--friends and sometimes more than friends--spending an idyllic week together in a French farmhouse. It was supposed to be the perfect summer getaway...until they met Severine, the girl next door.
For Kate Channing, Severine was an unwelcome presence, her inscrutable beauty undermining the close-knit group's loyalties amid the already simmering tensions. And after a huge altercation on the last night of the holiday, Kate knew nothing would ever be the same. There are some things you can't forgive. And there are some people you can't forget...like Severine, who was never seen again.
Now, a decade later, the case is reopened when Severine's body is found in the well behind the farmhouse. Questioned along with her friends, Kate stands to lose everything she's worked so hard to achieve as suspicion mounts around her. Desperate to resolve her own shifting memories and fearful she will be forever bound to the woman whose presence still haunts her, Kate finds herself buried under layers of deception with no one to set her free...
My Thoughts: This is of the "something bad happened to a group of college friends and it's coming back to haunt them in adulthood" troupe... And I have to say I really liked it. Kate, Caro, Tom, Theo, Seb, and Lara are college friends (and frenemies and sometimes lovers) who are spent a week in France during their senior year. The enigmatic girl next door, Severine, hangs about and upsets the delicate balance of their group. By the end of the weekend she turns up missing. Her body was found 10 years later and the book opens up with the group coming back together because the case is being re-examined. Since they were the last people to see her alive, the group is under heavy scrutiny. Everyone is a suspect (even poor, dead, Theo).
This is not an in your face thriller, but I liked its subtlety. I'd categorize it as psychological suspense. This was character focused and a slow burn, but once I got sucked in I raced to see the ending. Kate is the protagonist and I appreciated that the author chose not to flash between perspectives and instead we stay in Kates head. Severine is a constant presence in the story and Kate makes for a compelling unreliable narrator. The writing was strong and the story had plenty of interesting twists. There was also a little bit of a romance, which I enjoyed. The ending was just a bit rushed- but I'm overall satisfied. I would definitely pick up anything Lexie Elliott might write in the future!
Favorite Quote: "Acting. Is that all we humans ever really do? Act, and play, and present an approximation of something that becomes ourselves?"
Rating: 4.25/5 An expertly constructed slow burn from a debut author to watch.
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