“They said it was a tragic accident. She knows better…
When the brilliant young painter Marianne Glass falls to her death, everyone insists it was a tragic accident. But Rowan Winter, once her closest friend, knows it wasn’t. Marianne – and the whole Glass family – once meant everything to Rowan so though they haven’t spoken for ten years, she knows she has to find out what happened. The deeper into Marianne’s life she goes, however, the more convinced she is that something is terribly wrong.
Then she meets Michael Cory, an intense American who specialises in portraits of women on the edge… ”
I have a confession to make. It took me a long time to get into this book. I know the reason why and I will explain my reasons a little later on. Despite my initial reservations, by the end, I really enjoyed Keep You Close.
Rowan Winter is devastated to discover her childhood best friend has committed suicide, by jumping from the roof of her four storey family home. Talented artist, Marianne Glass, had everything to live for. A blossoming career, a contented relationship with her art-dealer boyfriend and the love and support of her close-knit family. It just doesn’t make sense. Rowan knows that Marianne would never jump. Marianne suffered from debilitating vertigo. She could never bring herself to approach the edge, never. So what really happened? And exactly who is to blame for Marianne’s death…?
I hate that it took me a while to warm to this book. It’s such a good book and my reasons are completely personal. This book is set in Oxford and I am from Oxford. I grew up in Oxford. More recently I worked at an Oxford University college called Lady Margaret Hall. One of the main locations in the story is the Glasses house on Fyfield Road. Lady Margaret Hall own the majority of houses on Fyfield Road. I have been in most of the houses on Fyfield Road. I couldn’t, despite trying very hard, get beyond what I know about the road, about the houses. Had the author decided to create a totally fictional location, I would have been able to connect with the story more than I did. My bad, I couldn’t separate fact from fiction.
When I reached the second half of the book I became more involved with the story. And what a story! The second half of the book felt more about the characters, than the location. I fell totally in love with Rowan and her plight to solve the riddle of her best friend’s accident (or was it murder..?). Despite everything being against Rowan, I was cheering her on. She felt like the slightly less pretty, slightly less popular of the two friends. Always in Marianne’s shadow. I wanted her to shine as well. Does she? Well, you’ll have to read the book and find out for yourself.
The majority of characters in this book are sinister and shady. They all have their secrets and oh, the big twist is a whopper. So big it took my breath away!
Would I recommend this book? I would, most definitely! It’s a fabulous read and I think it will be loved by many, many readers. However, it felt too close to home for me; so many locations I know so incredibly well. Places I’ve grown up in, places I’ve worked in. I did grow to enjoy the familiarity, but there was something stopping me from fully believing in the story. Great characters, great story, great twist!
Four out of five stars.
Many thanks to Joe Thomas at Bloomsbury for providing me with a copy of Keep You Close in exchange for an honest review.
Keep You Close by Lucie Whitehouse was published in the UK by Bloomsbury Circus on 11th August 2016 and is available in hardcover, paperback, eBook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads | Bloomsbury Circus |
Lucie Whitehouse was born in Gloucestershire in 1975, was brought up in Stratford upon Avon, read Classics at Oxford University and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. She is author of The House at Midnight, the TV Book Club pick The Bed I Made and Before We Met, which was a Richard & Judy pick and an ITV3 Crime Book Club selection. Connect with Lucie via twitter @LWhitehouse5 #KeepYouClose
3 thoughts on “#BookReview: Keep You Close by Lucie Whitehouse (@LWhitehouse5)”
I find it interesting that your familiarity with the location prevented you from warming to the story at first. I guess having a real experience there, memories and a great knowledge of the area might not leave much room for fiction. Great review 🙂
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Thank you Donna. It’s strange because I have read other books set in Oxford that I haven’t struggled with. I guess the location in this one was so precise and so much a part of my life that I just couldn’t get beyond that.
It must have been very weird to read a book that feels so close to home for you. I have often thought it would be a good thing. I tend to go for books based in Scotland or Wales, but have never read one where I know exactly all the streets. I like the sound of the mega twist though.
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