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.
Publication Date: February 20, 2018
Date Read: January 13, 2018
Publisher: Berkley Books
Setting: France / London
No. of Pages: 294
Source of Copy: Provided by Berkley in exchange of an honest review.
Beautiful writing style. The French Girl is not what I had expected.
The French Girl is about six friends who went on a vacation in France where they met Severine – the girl next door. 10 years later they are implicated as suspects in the murder of this French woman. This definitely sounded like a great premise. The constant guessing of who did the killing is always a pleasure to read, how everything unraveled revealing dark secrets one after another is always a huge treat for me. So you have to understand my anticipation whilst reading this book. Let’s just say The French Girl isn’t what I had expected.
The pacing was a little slow for my own liking, considering this is a mystery thriller. I wasn’t able to feel the usual the-edge-of-my-seat feeling I often experience reading thriller books. There are definitely some parts the book can do away with. Albeit slow, the book was able to show in detail the lives of the characters, their relation to each other, their past and what one meant to another. The book lets you in the ins and outs of the lives of the characters. How they act the way they do and the underlying history that brought them all together, and even when you think you got them all figured out, there will always be something that would surprise you. The French Girl is character-driven than plot-driven. I commend how the author made each character distinct from one another, drawing the lines from their traits and what makes them tick. It focused more on the dynamics between the characters, and while I do appreciate that, I wish the plot wasn’t sacrificed. The plot was a little lack-luster for lack of a better word. The story was a little monotonous and wasn’t as convincing as I hope it would be. I was waiting for intensity, for that heart-racing moment when everything was finally revealed, but I got nothing. My thirst for gasp-inducing plot twist was, sadly, not quenched.
Also, they could have titled it in a more catchy way. If I come across this book in the bookstore, to be quite honest, I would not even give a second glance. There is something cliche about it already, which doesn’t give any impact as opposed to 4-5 years ago. What I commend though is the existence or non-existence, however way you want to put it, of Severine. It was cleverly incorporated in the scenes, which adds mystery to everything and makes you question the relationship or involvement of our main character, Kate Channing, to her murder. Also the end part, where Severine had somewhat an intervention to what happened to Kate, I love that part.
All in all, if you are a patient reader, and you want a character-driven book than a plot-driven one, then this is definitely for you.
Once ensconced in a black taxi, the unease becomes corporeal, taking on the body of twisting snakes that are no longer confined to my stomach now they’re swaying upward, encircling my lungs, slithering through my throat, threatening to choke me of words and breath.
– Lexie Elliott, The French Girl