Staff Review by Megan

As someone who is a sucker for stories about the opulent lives of the wealthy, and who loves seeing the characters behave terribly to each other, picking up this book was a no-brainer for me. Throw in a thriller element and you’re golden. This story opens with Laura Cavendish, a woman with a successful career, a cold marriage, and a close relationship with her son. Her doctor-in-training son, Daniel, has recently begun dating a new girl, the mysterious Cherry, and Laura has her share of mixed feelings about the relationship, and why Cherry is snuggling up to her well-to do family so quickly after meeting Daniel.

From indoor swimming pools to vacation homes in the south of France, the wealth of the Cavendish family is intoxicating. If you ever find yourself in a psychological thriller I would highly recommend one that takes a jaunt into a poppy field filled Provence, in a luxurious home complete with a large painting collection and a swimming pool. It was almost disappointing to return to the ritzy London neighborhood where the majority of the story takes place, almost, but the increased action in England does make up for no longer being in the land of baguettes and cheese. Any reader could understand why Cherry would try so hard to become a part of the Cavendish’s lives, even if they would not take the steps she did to get there.

Thinking this story would focus solely on the main character, Laura, I was surprised and delighted by the changes of perspective and the care with which Michelle Frances created each character. Seeing the difference between the picture-perfect face Cherry shows the world and the tangle of her real inner thoughts, feelings, and goals is endlessly fascinating. Her manipulation of those around her is clever and subtle, at times I was even on her side, and when I wasn’t I had to respect a game well played. There is also an unexpected ambiguity to all of the characters, no one is fully good or bad, no one’s motivations are completely pure or completely corrupted. The reader will grow to both love and hate Cherry and Laura in turns because even though Frances sets up Cherry as the villain and Laura as the hero she crafts too clever a story to let either remain completely in one role for the entirety of the book.

Pairs well with: a glass of red wine, a dash of paranoia, and a call to your mother.




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