The best way to start this review would be by telling you to clear a whole day so that you are free to just read this book because once you get into it you will not want to put it down.
Valentina is a dark, insidious, intelligent tale that will hook you and reel you in – it is a brilliant debut.
This is a classic tale in a way of loneliness pushing us towards incorrect choices. There are several points in the book where the main narrator, Shona, knows deep down that things are wrong but she chooses to ignore them.
There are so many clever observations through this book which resonate as you read them. So many occasions where you think ‘would I have done that?’, as psychological thrillers go, this is up there with the big hitters: move over Gone Girl you’ve got company on the top shelf.
I don’t want to spoil the book for you in this review so I won’t say too much about the actual storyline, save to say that I could see early on where the story was headed and rather than that ruining the book for me, it actually enhanced everything. It was a bit like watching a car crash in slow motion, you know what’s coming and you can’t stop it, you can’t do anything but keep reading… faster and faster!
Huge praise to S E Lynes – this is a slam dunk of a debut!
Thank you to Rosalie at Blackbird Books for offering this to me as an ARC in return for an honest review.
(My only criticism… and this is as picky as you like but honest is honest, there were two words early in the book which jarred with me. I suspect the book is still being reviewed and edited at this stage as it is due for release on 1 July so maybe they won’t make the cut. The first is ‘squished’ which is in the first paragraph and the second is ‘wee’. Now I know that wee means small and that’s fine when it is speach but it seemed a bit odd in the narrative style. To me anyway. Did I mention I was being picky?)
Synopsis: When Glasgow journalist Shona McGilvery moves with her partner Mikey and their baby to an idyllic cottage in rural Scotland, they believe that all that lies ahead of them is happiness.
But with Mikey working offshore, the frightening isolation of the Aberdeenshire countryside begins to drive her insane…
That is, until she is rescued by a new friendship with the enchanting Valentina.
She has the perfect home, the perfect man, and a charismatic new best friend – or does she?
As her fairytale life begins to unravel, the deep dark wood becomes the least of her fears…
A hauntingly intelligent, addictive psychological thriller from debut author S. E. Lynes.