The French Girl

The French Girl A novel by Lexie Elliott

With the days getting shorter and colder weather closing in, I found myself in the mood for a good, suspenseful read. Luckily for me, our library has quite the selection of books that fit the bill, and the one I chose, The French Girl, did not disappoint.

From the website of the publisher, Penguin/Random House:

““I Know What You Did Last Summer meets the French countryside in this exhilarating psychological suspense novel about a woman trapped by the bonds of friendship—perfect for fans of The Widow and The Woman in Cabin 10.

One of RealSimple’s and Cosmopolitan’s Best Books of the Month.

Everyone has a secret…

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.

But after a huge altercation on the last night of the holiday, Kate Channing 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.

A decade later, the case is reopened when Severine’s body is found behind the farmhouse. Questioned along with her friends, Kate stands to lose everything she’s worked so hard to achieve as suspicion mounts all around her. Desperate to resolve her unreliable memories and fearful she will be forever bound to the memory of the woman who still haunts her, Kate finds herself entangled within layers of deception with no one to set her free…”

“A gripping mystery that delves into the past and the darker side of friendships, this book will have you questioning everything you think you know. The French Girl is a fantastic debut about tangled relationships, shifting perceptions, and the memories—and people—that haunt us. I was completely captivated from beginning to end.”—Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author of All the Missing Girls

“A maelstrom of complicated friendships and shifting alliances. This addictive debut will keep you up late into the night!”—Karen Dionne, author of The Marsh King’s Daughter””

I very much agree with the reviews above as I found this book was incredibly intriguing. Of course, when delving into a mystery or suspense novel, we all like to try to figure it out, from the start; if we aren’t in the mood to play amateur sleuth we’d chooose a book of a different genre. And nothing is more disappointing than those instances where the mystery is solved too soon into the read, either through obvious clues or the writer’s attempts to be too clever...which can sometimes be a dead giveaway.

In the case of The French Girl, the author, Lexie Elliott, did a masterful job of introducing us to the cast of characters. She skillfully makes us, the readers, feel as if we were part of that fateful trip to the French countryside so many years ago. Although it’s easy to speculate on obvious answers to what happened to the French girl, Severine, on that fateful night, Elliott does a great job of revealing dark secrets and truths about all of the possible suspects, so even if you’re sure you know what happened, you’re never really guaranteed to be correct.

One of the aspects of this novel that I found the most delightful was the use of the ghost of Severine, popping into the lead character, Kate’s life, quite often at inopportune times. This adds a striking, creepy vibe to the story, and sometimes adds a good chuckle, too, as Kate deals with Severine’s unwelcome visits. Severine serves as more than a distraction, or a gimmick in this story. Her presence is an integral part of this read, and her character is written so mysteriously that I actually wish the author would write another novel; this one focusing on Severine's background story and her life leading up to her untimely death. What made Severine the mysterious character she is, both in life and in death? I'm dying to know!

I’d highly recommend The French Girl, and, based on Lexie Elliott’s writing style, I’m very much looking forward to the publication of her next book, The Missing Years, scheduled for release in April, 2019. Now I’m off to post a comment on the author’s website...politely, yet strongly suggesting she follow The Missing Years with the novel “Severine”!

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