EDC Review: The Last Words of Madeleine Anderson by Helen Kitson

This is the second book review I’ve posted this year. both are debut novels published by Louise Walters Books.  The first was by Laura Laakso.

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Book Blurb … Once upon a time Gabrielle Price wrote and published an extraordinary novel. But twenty years on her literary star has dimmed, her “work of genius” is all but forgotten, and no further novels have materialized. She now lives an unremarkable life: middle-aged, living alone in the sleepy village she grew up in, and working as a housekeeper for the local vicar. Her lonely existence is dominated by memories of her best friend Madeleine, who died young, in tragic and mysterious circumstances. Gabrielle’s quiet world is turned upside down when she meets and befriends Simon – young, attractive, a would-be writer, and enthusiastic fan of the astonishing novel that Gabrielle published all those years ago. Charmed and flattered, she recklessly invites him into her home and her heart. But Simon is mysterious and manipulative, and it’s not long before he forces Gabrielle to confront the demons in her past. Gabrielle’s obsession begins to destroy her carefully cultivated life, and she comes to feel increasingly threatened by Simon’s presence. Who is he? Why did he seek her out? And what does he really want?

EDC Review  … I received an advanced reading copy of ‘The Last Words of Madeleine Anderson’ from Louise Walters at Louise Walters Books without obligation – this review is how I read it. The back cover blurb sets the story up well; it is accurate, enticing and doesn’t spoil in any way. The front cover I found intriguing and on reading the book its relevance sank in. From the start, it was obvious the author, Helen Kitson, is an accomplished writer. Her style a balance between literary and psychological fiction; with a well judged tilt towards good story telling. Balance is the key word for me; of pace and description, of past and present, of what thought and said, of living with memory and irrational desire – and as the reader, taking in the moment and not thinking too far ahead.  I got a real sense of the author writing the book she wanted to read; and her publisher too – another balance well made. I’ve been trying to think of a book, a writing style this reminds me of, I can’t–it’s a book by Helen Kitson – enjoy.

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