You might remember Jessie Burton as the author of the phenomenally successful 2014 book The Miniaturist. It has been a long wait for this, her third book, but one that was well worth it.
The story begins in London in 1980. On Hampstead Heath a young woman called Elise Morceau meets Constance Holden. Connie is a successful writer, a confident and vivacious woman and Elise quickly finds herself entranced by her. When Connie’s latest book is being made into a big budget film she takes Elise with her to the glitz and glamour of the Hollywood hills. A life of pool parties, surfing and people pretending to be something that they are not.
Elise finds herself struggling in this environment as Connie is more and more involved with the movie and the leading lady. When she overhears a conversation one night she makes a decision that will devastate many lives.
Thirty years later Rose discovers that Connie Holden was the last person to see her mother alive. Now a recluse who dropped out of sight right at the height of her fame and popularity Connie is a difficult person to find and approach. As Rose finds an underhand route into Connie’s life she is determined to find out what really happened to Elise and to secure a confession as to what really happened.
This is a really unusual story with the threads of Elise’s life alternating with chapters from Rose searching for answers. It is an utterly engrossing book and a story that I kept thinking about for a couple of days after I finished it. The three main characters are all wonderfully complex creative women each with their own idiosyncrasies and foibles. It was a book that I didn’t want to end and will be one that I want to re-read knowing how the story turns out. Be prepared to shed a tear as you journey through the lives of these fascinating women.
Supplied by Pan Macmillan in exchange for an honest review.
UK publication date Sep 19 2019. 464 pages.