Book Review: Exquisite, by Sarah Stovell

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date:

15th May 2017 [Kindle] 

15th June 2017 [Paperback]

Alternating narratives fan the flames of a liaison until its blaze roars out of control and threatens to raze people’s lives to the ground.

Caught up in the emotional inferno are Bo (a celebrated author), Alice (a creative writing student), and a reflective and anonymous voice from a women’s prison, all of whom do a magnificent job of disguising a fundamentally flawed relationship born from the vulnerabilities they each possess.

A disturbing pattern emerges between intervals where faith is restored and promptly eroded. As each of them lose their way their journeys are signposted with compulsive infatuation and an intense ache for something that has been absent from their lives.

As they recount their own interpretation of how their situation progressed their individual stories are highly persuasive, and even though it wasn’t a huge surprise to discover where their dark and twisted path took them I was satisfied with the final destination.

The brooding Exquisite is effective and skilfully written, enhanced by the characters who wear their fictional peculiarities well and the location chosen as the stage for their tragedy to unfold. I’d be very curious to see what this author may have to offer in the future, but for now I’m more than happy to recommend this one.

Rating: 4/5

(My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for providing a digital copy of this title – it’s my pleasure to provide this unbiased review.)

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

A chilling, exquisitely written and evocative thriller set in the Lake District, centring on the obsessive relationship that develops between two writers…

Bo Luxton has it all – a loving family, a beautiful home in the Lake District, and a clutch of bestselling books to her name.

Enter Alice Dark, an aspiring writer who is drifting through life, with a series of dead-end jobs and a freeloading boyfriend.

When they meet at a writers’ retreat, the chemistry is instant, and a sinister relationship develops… Or does it?

Breathlessly pacey, taut and terrifying, Exquisite is a startlingly original and unbalancing psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the very last page.


(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Sarah Stovell was born in 1977 and spent most of her life in the Home Counties before a season working in a remote North Yorkshire youth hostel made her realise she was a northerner at heart. She now lives in Northumberland with her partner and two children and is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Lincoln University. Her debut psychological thriller, Exquisite, is set in the Lake District.



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