Author: Lexie Elliott
Release Date: February 20, 2018
Publisher: Berkley Books
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.
Praise for THE FRENCH GIRL:
“Scottish debut novelist Elliott, who holds a doctorate in theoretical physics from Oxford, launches a fiction-writing career with a smart, suspenseful thriller.” –Booklist
“A gripping mystery that delves into the past and the darker side of friendships...The French Girl is a fantastic debut about tangled relationships, shifting perceptions, and the memories--and people--that haunt us. I was completely captivated from beginning to end.” –Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author of All the Missing Girls
“Reading Lexie Elliott's The French Girl is like getting caught in an undertow. It might look as though the waters are calm and the skies are blue as you dive into the story, but beneath the surface lurks a powerful riptide of misunderstandings and missed opportunities, murder and betrayal that suck the reader into a maelstrom of complicated friendships and shifting alliances. This addictive debut will keep you up late into the night!” –Karen Dionne, author of The Marsh King's Daughter
“As the narrator, Kate is smart, funny, and attractive, with some confidence issues, making her relatable. The friends fill the archetypes of supporting characters: the nemesis, the BFF, the ex, and the buddy, but Elliott fleshes them out so well they aren’t stereotypical. As the detective continues to dig, the shifting dynamics within the group will keep the reader guessing until the end….First novelist Elliott has done a phenomenal job of combining a whodunit with a Big Chill vibe.” –Library Journal, Starred Review
The French Girl is a fantastic debut that will certainly put the author on the map. I love thrillers and have read so many that not much surprises me anymore. This novel was a breath of fresh air for me as a reader. I loved how the story jumped back and forth in time - the present, when the woman's body has been found, and the summer a decade before when they met her during a vacation in France. I enjoyed seeing how things lined up during the story line for both along as how well their memories of that time actually were. And the obvious - figuring out what exactly happened to Severine. The author did a wonderful job bringing both time frames to life for the reader and easily pulls us into the investigation and mystery they find themselves in. I found the plot to be really interesting and not as cookie-cutter as most out there, which was a wonderful surprise.
One big aspect for me personally is always the writing style. I place a lot of emphasis on this and it literally can make or break a book for me. Luckily, the author chose my favorite - first person - and had Kate as the narrator. I liked getting to know Kate on a deep level. We get to see both the past and the present through her eyes. We also get an inside peek into her mind - her memories, her hopes and fears, suspicions, and everything in between. I'm so glad that the author chose to use this writing style - I think it's perfect for the novel. Definitely recommended for fans of mystery, thrillers and suspense.