Review: The French Girl by Lexie Elliott
Selected by my bookclub for our November read, I was sceptical (as usual) - clearly I am the grinch of the bookclub. But being fully in the swing of things with all things spooky, I was excited to try this thriller.
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. 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.
As much as I shot through this book (granted, I didn't have much of a choice seeing as I started it the day of bookclub), there were some parts I enjoyed and others that never quite added up.
Some of my favourite character relationships are based on a hatred. The characters somewhat reminded me of those from If We Were Villains (based off of The Secret History which I have yet to read). They weren't quite as complex and not as extreme in how demented and evil they are as in these dark academic books. There is a slight lack of skill in the writing compared to it's very impressive benchmarks I'm comparing it to, but there are some good things here to appreciate. My main issue with this thriller was there was one too many plot holes, and when including a supernatural element, I've found it never works when the book is 90% 'realistic' thriller and then the author adds in a ghost. I was believing everything that was happening up until this addition - it felt completely out of place and did not fit in with the rest of the book. There is a way to include superstition - maybe a touch of madness, "am I seeing things?" - where we can start to doubt our protagonist's credibility, but this was a sloppy twist that added nothing to the plot and was done just for shock factor (that flopped). Overall, I enjoyed reading The French Girl, but partly because I had a day with lots of reading which generally counts towards me having a great day, even when the book is disappointing. If I'd been reading this in different circumstances, I maybe wouldn't have enjoyed it as much as I did!
Initial Prediction: 3.5 stars
Final Rating: 3 stars
Publication Date: 20 February 2018
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
# of Pages: 304