Review: The Confession – Jessie Burton

The Confession

Jessie Burton

Pan Macmillan Australia

Picador

ISBN: 9781509886159

RRP $29.99

Description:

The sensational new novel from the million-copy bestselling author of The Miniaturist and The Muse.

 

One winter’s afternoon on Hampstead Heath in 1980, Elise Morceau meets Constance Holden and quickly falls under her spell. Connie is bold and alluring, a successful writer whose novel is being turned into a major Hollywood film. Elise follows Connie to LA, a city of strange dreams and swimming pools and late-night gatherings of glamorous people. But whilst Connie thrives on the heat and electricity of this new world where everyone is reaching for the stars and no one is telling the truth, Elise finds herself floundering. When she overhears a conversation at a party that turns everything on its head, Elise makes an impulsive decision that will change her life forever.

 

Three decades later, Rose Simmons is seeking answers about her mother, who disappeared when she was a baby. Having learned that the last person to see her was Constance Holden, a reclusive novelist who withdrew from public life at the peak of her fame, Rose is drawn to the door of Connie’s imposing house in search of a confession …

 

From the million-copy bestselling author of The Miniaturist and The Muse, this is a luminous, powerful and deeply moving novel about secrets and storytelling, motherhood and friendship, and how we lose and find ourselves.

 

PRAISE FOR THE CONFESSION

‘Dazzlingly good. The Confession is that rare thing: an utterly engrossing novel which asks big questions without ever once losing sight of the storyteller’s need to entertain and move. I turned the final pages in tears and I know already I shall return to it again and again. Without doubt one of the best novels of recent years.’

Elizabeth Day, author of The Party and How To Fail

‘I haven’t enjoyed a book so much in a long time . . . I lost myself in the story, not wanting to come up for air. A bold, intelligent, wonderful novel’ Sarah Winman, author of Tin Man

‘Burton is asking important questions in The Confession – questions about motherhood, art and creativity, love, friendship – and in doing this, she has created three utterly fascinating characters. Connie, Elise, and Rose are complicated; complex in ways that women are so rarely allowed to be in literature, demanding that their stories be heard. This is a beautiful novel and one that will stay with me for a very long time’ Louise O’Neill, author of Only Ever Yours

‘an absorbing, intelligent piece of storytelling’ Guardian

 AUTHOR INFORMATION

Jessie Burton is the author of the Sunday Times number one and New York Times bestsellers The Miniaturist and The Muse, and the children’s book The Restless Girls. In its year of publication The Miniaturist sold over a million copies, and in 2017 it was adapted into a major TV series for BBC One. Her novels have been translated into thirty-eight languages, and she is a regular essay writer for newspapers and magazines. She lives in London.

 

My View:

I finished reading this last night – OMG!!!

 

This is such a sublime read full of emotional intelligence and elegant prose – I just wanted to highlight paragraphs and paragraphs – because of the skilled use of language AND because of the many astute revelations about life’s journey.

 

The narrative is engaging; a bit of mystery, a lot of coming of age, of learning to love oneself and live in the moment not the future, about acceptance, family, identity… this book has so much to offer.  READ IT! 10 stars!!!

Post Script: Free To Be Tegan – Mary Grand

Free To Be Tegan

Free To Be Tegan

Mary Grand

Mary Grand

ASIN: B00UC9R1YM

 

 

Description:

‘You are dead to us’

Tegan, aged twenty seven, is cast out of the cult, rejected by her family and the only life she has known. She is vulnerable and naïve but she also has courage and the will to survive. She travels to Wales, to previously unknown relations in the wild Cambrian Mountains.

This is the uplifting story of her journey to find herself and flourish in a world she has been taught to fear and abhor.

Guilt and shadows from her past haunt her in flashbacks, panic attacks and a fear of the dark. However she also finds a world full of colour, love and happiness she has never known before. The wild beauty of the hills, the people she meets and the secrets slowly revealed by the cottage all provide an intriguing backdrop to Tegan’s drama.

 

My View:

I think the strength of this debut by Mary Grand is her ability to create locations with a very visual presence in this book of words. The settings of inner city London and rural villages in Wales are superb and take the reader on a very real journey.

Secondly it is obvious that the author has put a lot of effort into researching the psychology and influence of cults and the difficult road to recovery for those who have left or been ejected from these type of communities.

A love story, a heroic story of one woman’s road to recovery from the influence of a controlling and destructive cult, this work of fiction has almost the feel of biography.  My only criticism is that the recovery phase of the book seemed a little too short for what I imagine is an ongoing process.

 

 

Post Script: Runaway – Peter May

“I guess life is really about pain, isn’t it? That’s what feeling is. Any feeling. Even good feelings can be painful in their own way. And pain, pure pain is just the most heightened feeling of all.”

Runaway

Runaway

Peter May

Quercus Publishing

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9781784299828

  

Description:

In 1965, five teenage friends fled Glasgow for London to pursue their dream of musical stardom. Yet before year’s end three returned, and returned damaged. In 2015, a brutal murder forces those three men, now in their sixties, to journey back to London and finally confront the dark truth they have run from for five decades.

 

Runaway is a crime novel covering fifty years of friendships solidified and severed, dreams shared and shattered and passions lit and extinguished; set against the backdrop of two unique and contrasting cities at two unique and contrasting periods of recent history.

 

My View:

A remarkable read! A well-constructed narrative that deals with two time settings, the earlier time frame – the late 1960’s – Glasgow and London and events  that had far reaching implications for all those involved and then the decision to revisit the past; in all its glory, with its downfalls, its sadness, naivety, bleakness and the loves, friendships and hope. 2015 sees the world through aging eyes and rights still have to be made, restitution paid. Crimes have been committed. The scales need to be balanced.

 

The settings are finely drawn. The characters believable, three dimensional and empathetic. I love their mission, and the ending has more than a few twists. This is more than a work of crime fiction, this is more than just a contemporary narrative, and this is more than the sum these elements … so much more. This is a story of life, of death, of adventure, of the potential of youth and the potential of older age and mostly this is the story of enduring friendships. And this is about pain, without pain you have nothing.

 

I loved my first Peter May read and will certainly look for others by this author.