Today it is my great pleasure to be joining the blog tour for The Proposal, the latest psychological thriller from author SE Lynes. My thanks go to Kim Nash from Bookouture for inviting me to join the tour and to the publishers for supplying the advance copy for review. Here is what it’s all about.
About the Book
The first thing you should know, dear reader, is that I am dead…
Teacher Pippa wants a second chance. Recently divorced and unhappy at work, she uproots her life and moves to the countryside, determined to make a fresh start. But Pippa soon realises: your troubles are never far behind.
When Pippa meets blue-eyed Ryan Marks, he is funny and charming. He is haunted by his past – but insists he is a changed man.
He might just be the answer to all of her problems. And Pippa can tell the truth from lies. She’d know if she were in danger. Wouldn’t she?
From Amazon chart bestseller S.E. Lynes, The Proposal is a page-turning and utterly gripping thriller about the lengths we will go to for someone we love. Perfect for fans of Gone Girl, The Woman in the Window and The Wife Between Us.
Well. I’ll say one thing for this book – it has a killer opening line. Much in the way that you would recall the opening line to Moby Dick, or that now infamous line from Jane Eyre, you won’t forget this one in a hurry. And it certainly serves to intrigue and capture the readers attention from the start. If you are reading the book of a purportedly dead protagonist, just what the heck is it that you’ve walked into …
The answer, put simply, is a tale of fragile psychology and an all consuming and, frankly, chilling obsession which sees protagonist Pippa chart the end of her own life by means of a diary. Pippa is, before this terrible chain of events begins, a teacher and aspiring romance author. Her first book was a commercial failure and with deadlines looming she is struggling to find a new muse. That is until she meets Ryan, a former convict now selling kitchen and cleaning goods door to door. Common sense says she should run a mile but she sees something in him, some spark of a story which could be her salvation. And this is where the fun begins …
The story is told primarily by way of Pippa’s journal entries as she charts all of the decisions she made and events which occurred that led to her untimely demise. Littered amongst it as some social media posts in which we see an altogether different side of Pippa, far more buoyant and positive than the character we are coming to know, and potentially dislike. And this is where the book was interesting for me as the more I read of it, the more I tended to find myself not liking Pippa all that much. She came across as selfish and dismissive, obsessed with her own fortune and with little thought for others. It still doesn’t necessarily mean that what occurred was justified, nobody deserves to be killed, but things are not as straight forward as they may seem, and you need to read to understand what I mean by that.
Ryan was a brilliantly crafted character. You can feel his obsession grow, encouraged by Pippa’s lack of decisive action against him, and each encounter becomes all the more chilling. He is the ultimate predator and while he confesses his story to Pippa on their first meeting, you still get the feeling there is something he is holding back. I would say for any woman who fear being stalked, this book captures that feeling perfectly, even if Pippa’s response isn’t quite as you may expect. The fact that she fails to deal with Ryan leads us to the darkest parts of the book, and her method of simply running away proves to be the catalyst for exposing Ryan’s true self.
As I mentioned earlier, the styling of this book is quite unique, with the story told through journal entries and social media posts. It actually serves to heighten the tension in the book but did also take a me a little while to get used to as after the sometimes dark, often chilling journal entries, the social media posts were a direct opposite and littered with literary references which the well read amongst you will understand. Now I have never read Rebecca (I know – condemn me if you must but with so many books out there I can’t read them all) but I do know enough to understand the references made in the book. There are also often letters from Ryan to Pippa which, whilst not outwardly hostile, are creepy in their unwavering love and almost passive-aggressive tone of voice which intimates that whilst he will leave Pippa as she has requested, it is only a short term measure. There are also passages in Ryan’s voice which establish just how dark this tale will become. They are most definitely enough to send shivers down your spine.
I would say this is a slow building tale with the first half of the book, perhaps a shade more, setting the scene for what is to follow. Certainly in the final third of the book the tension, and the pace, pick up quite dramatically leading to many heart pounding moments and some which still manage to beggar belief. But, for me at least, it is the epilogue – the word from Pippa’s editor on the book you have just read – which serves as the crucial part of the book. I won’t say why but certainly it makes you look at things in a whole new light. This was a perfect ending and left me with a little smile upon my face.
If you are looking for read focused on obsession, control and the volatile and changeable nature of broken minds then this is the books for you. Calculated, chilling and with a unique narrative twist, I think SE Lynes fans, particularly if you ate up Valentina, are going to love it.
If you would like a copy of the book for yourself, it is available now from the following retailers:
About the author
After graduating from Leeds University, S E Lynes lived in London before moving to Aberdeen to be with her husband. In Aberdeen, she worked as a producer at BBC Radio Scotland before moving with her husband and two young children to Rome. There, she began to write while her children attended nursery. After the birth of her third child and upon her return to the UK, she gained an MA in Creative Writing from Kingston University. She now combines writing with lecturing at Richmond Adult Community College and bringing up her three children. She lives in Teddington.
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