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Thursday, February 22, 2018

REVIEW: The French Girl by Lexie Elliott @berkleypub @elliott_lexie #CJSReads

The French Girl
by Lexie Elliott

Thanks so much to Berkley Pub for this wonderful book.  It was our pleasure to review. 💖

Publisher:  Berkley Pub
Published:  February 20, 2018
304 pages
Genres:  Mystery, Thriller

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

My Review:

When you go away with a group of friends on vacation, some type of drama is bound to occur.  People get drunk, act obnoxiously, new people enter the sacred circle... but at the end of the day, you're a close group of friends so you get over it and move on with life.  Sometimes you drift apart over the years, other times you stay in touch... but almost always you'll wonder what happened to these people you used to be so close to.

For this particular group of people, a trip ended up in the death of a girl they met while abroad.  Now, a decade later, her body has been found and now they're all being questioned again.  The past begins to creep up, some secrets are let out and suspicions are on the rise.  Told strictly through Kate's point of view, I rather liked this linear look into a story about friendship, mystery and trusting your own memories.  While some stories following a similar line would have had flash backs to round out what happened 10 years ago, I found it interesting to see this one did NOT.  It was refreshing actually.  Now we have to live through this investigation and trudge through what she knows, or thinks she knows, right along with her. 

I will say that maybe this made for a slower pace.  Those that like the accelerated pacing with hanging chapters and a quick flip may not be prone to this.  I usually am not too fan of a slower paced book.  HOWEVER, this one still kept me intrigued.  I was happy to go with Kate on this journey.  There is now huge revelation or kick you in the pants WTF moment.  Instead, it was like reading a very well put together movie drama... but it did lack in some suspense.  I was hoping for just a little more.... something, but that's just my personal taste.

The writing is well done and I loved the group as a whole, while may disliking some characters individually.  But isn't that the way it goes really in any group of friends/people?  Highly recommend for those who love intriguing characters with a slower pacing. 


Sam's Review:

I have always been a big fan of a “vacation” novel.  Makes for a stellar beach read.  So, when I read a basic synopsis about six friends who go on a trip and are confronted ten years later when the body of a woman is found and they were the last people to see her.     The French Girl, the debut novel by Lexie Elliot, calls to question what happened during the events of the trip, which people were involved and, of course, what happens when the past comes knocking at one’s door. 

As much as I am a fan of a vacation style novel, I am always wary when a “girl” novel comes into my TBR pile.  That being said, The French Girl had several amazing features that intrigued me!  

One thing that I enjoyed most was how the dynamic between all the characters unfolded.  Elliot did an excellent job at keeping it real and I think every reader will be able to find a bit of he or she mirrored within these characters, good traits and bad!  Each character is intense and rich and they shone off the pages.    Elliot’s strong suit is clearly her apt for characterization.   For me, it comes down to the tiny details and Elliot left no stone unturned.  I felt like this was even more compelling since the entire novel is narrated from Kate’s point of view. 

The thing that irked me about The French Girl was the pacing.  This book moved, at times, with glacier speed, which was a real struggle for me.  Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate a novel that starts slowly and picks up steam until I am racing to the finish line but this novel did no such thing.  They do say that slow and steady wins the race but, for me, I really struggled.  

Overall, I felt like this was a solid debut and I will be absolutely waiting for Elliot’s next novel; I feel like she will only get better with each novel! 

3/5 stars.

Jessica's Review:

Another debut for the suspense/thriller genre! THE FRENCH GIRL by Lexie Elliott has definitely been making the rounds on Bookstagram and different book blogs. It looks like this is one that already has some readers divided on what they think - which always makes for great discussions. I personally thought this was a very enjoyable read and exactly what I needed.

This is told solely in Kate's perspective, which is something we don't see a lot of lately in the thriller/suspense genres. Normally I prefer the jumping perspectives but this was a nice change of pace. Kate is in the process of trying to get her legal headhunting firm of the ground, and definitely hitting a few roadblocks along the way. Things get even more stressful when her old friends are returning to the UK to meet with a French inspector. A decades old missing person case has now turned into a homicide case. The body they found is of Serevine, the woman that they spent time with that summer all those years ago. What really happened to her? The deeper the inspector digs the more Kate begins to realize that she doesn't truly know those she thought were her closest friends - but do they truly know who she is?

Right away, this book has a slower pace than most thrillers out there. I would probably classify this as more of a suspense drama than a thriller. Personally, I enjoy a good slow build novel, you get to know the characters well and can really get a feel for them. Elliott does a great job pulling the reader along and feeding them just enough information to keep them turning the pages for answers.

If you're looking for an edge-of-your-seat thriller then this won't be what you're looking for, however if you like a slow burn drama then this is one I'd highly recommend picking up. I loved the writing and Lexie Elliott knows how to write a great story - I'm definitely looking forward to more from her in the future.

I give this one 4/5 stars! 

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