Valentina by S.E. Lynes @SELynesAuthor @Bookouture #review

A very happy republication day to SE Lynes as her novel, Valentina, is given a new lease of life by publishers Bookouture. With thanks to the publishers for providing a copy for review, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the book just as soon as we’ve taken a look at what it’s all about.

vAbout the Book

When city girl Shona moves with her partner Mikey and their baby to an idyllic cottage in rural Scotland, she believes that all that lies ahead for her family is happiness.

But with Mikey working long hours away from home, the frightening isolation of the Scottish countryside begins to get to Shona. She feels lonely and trapped.

That is, until she is rescued by a new friendship with the enchanting Valentina. Valentina enters Shona’s life like a whirlwind, bringing excitement and spontaneity to replace boredom and fear.

Now Shona has the perfect home, the perfect man, and the perfect new best friend – or does she?

As Shona’s fairytale life begins to unravel, the deep dark wood outside becomes the least of her fears…

From Amazon chart bestseller S.E. Lynes, Valentina is an unputdownable thriller with a twist that will take your breath away. Fans of Gone Girl, The Woman at the Window and The Wife Between Us will be gripped.

Now I have been hearing about this book for a while, it coming highly recommended by my fellow bloggers. When the chance came about to have a little read ahead of today’s relaunch I figured now was a good time to see what was what and if the book lived up to expectations. I am happy to say that it absolutely did.

Valentina is a very complex and riveting tale of a family torn apart by deception. Of the damage that lies can do to a relationship and there is nothing quite as scary as a woman scorned. Or perhaps there is …

I don’t want to say too much about the story itself as I think the blurb says enough and to experience the book you need to read it. It’s beauty is in the way the story unfurled, the way in which you come to realise certain things, just fractions before the central protagonist Shona, or perhaps, in some cases, much sooner leaving you to wonder just how she could be so wrong. It is, in essence, the story of Shona, a journalist and new mother, who gives up her life in Glasgow for a new start with her lover and father of her beautiful daughter, Mikey. Everything should be perfect, in spite of Mikey’s odd shift patterns, but the isolation of her new home, the fact that she has left behind all she knows, soon starts taking its toll upon her. It is only as she tries to start and build a new life for herself that things take a decidedly unexpected and soon to be dark turn.

Now the author has a real way with words and how she described the sense of isolation of Shona’s new cottage, I could feel a real empathy for her. I’ve never been a mother, perish the thought, but I could feel the pressure of the loneliness and the responsibility as it weighed down on Shona and it really made me root for her all the way. Now she has an inner strength, she’s a good old Glasgow gal after all, but perhaps it was the baby brain effect that stopped her from seeing the wood from the trees, and lord knows there were many of those where she was living. And yet her ignorance, or perhaps naivety, felt authentic, even as the things she thought to be true slowly started to unravel.

Her new friend, Valentina, was a larger than life character. A hive of contradictions and the total opposite to Shona, and yet their friendship really did seem to work. And yet there are some many reasons why it shouldn’t, so many times when lines were crossed that perhaps shouldn’t have been that I could feel my spidey senses tingling, suggesting that all was not well in this world. But was the reason Valentina … or Shona?

The style of the writing was such that you could feel the tension starting to build. Short passages which did not feed directly into the action but which informed the story in a way you probably wouldn’t expect. These were darker in tone to the rest of the book, but the more you learned of the story, the more you got that sense of ultimate foreboding that all could not possibly end well. I have to say that despite this, I wasn’t quite expecting the ending I got but it worked perfectly and fitted the story to a tee.

This is one of those books where it is so hard to really talk about it without giving too much away. Those who have read it will know what I mean. It is a story which is governed by the slow uncovering of the truth and yet it is more about the feeling you get from reading, the certain sense that something is wrong, rather than any specific action in itself which holds the attention and makes you want to read to the very last page. Very clever and a key example of how good this author is at creating both tension and setting, I would recommend it to any fan of domestic noir and psychological thrillers.

If you’d like to take a look for yourselves, Valentina is available now from the following retailers:

Amazon UK ~ Amazon US ~ Kobo

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