“When city girl Shona moves with her partner Mikey and their baby to an idyllic cottage in rural Scotland, she believes that all that lies ahead for her family is happiness.
But with Mikey working long hours away from home, the frightening isolation of the Scottish countryside begins to get to Shona. She feels lonely and trapped.
That is, until she is rescued by a new friendship with the enchanting Valentina. Valentina enters Shona’s life like a whirlwind, bringing excitement and spontaneity to replace boredom and fear.
Now Shona has the perfect home, the perfect man, and the perfect new best friend – or does she?
As Shona’s fairytale life begins to unravel, the deep dark wood outside becomes the least of her fears…”
I’ve recently returned home from my holiday in North Wales. We had a wonderful time but oh boy, there was ZERO wifi. I spent just over a week completely offline (it was tough!). When I returned I discovered that one of my all-time favourite books had been republished by the mighty Bookouture, yay! The incredible Valentina by S.E. Lynes has been given a fabulous make-over. So what better opportunity to repost my review and make sure YOU get yourself a copy of this incredible book. Here’s my review from June 2016…
This is an exceptional novel. There is something truly wonderful and special about it. It’s fair to say I loved this book. It sent chills down my spine and I couldn’t put it down. This is S E Lynes debut and I am so excited to see what else she has in store for us.
Shona and Mikey are madly in love and expecting their first little bundle of joy. Being a responsible father-to-be Mikey finds himself a job working on the oil rigs off the coast of Scotland. Shona begrudgingly packs up her old life and her job, says goodbye to her friends and family and follows Mikey to deepest, darkest Aberdeenshire. It’s OK though, she has the most beautiful house to spend her days in. Mikey’s work rota means that he’s away two weeks out of four so it’s not long before loneliness starts to creep in. She has Isla, her baby daughter, but babies aren’t all that good at conversation!
Thankfully she meets spirited Valentina. She’s full of life, charismatic and Shona’s saviour. But how well does Shona really know Valentina? Is she the answer to her prayers, or the epitome of her nightmares….?
I love how Shona is written. A few chapters into the book and I felt I was sat in the pub chatting to a friend. That’s how well S E Lynes has written her, she became real to me. As I progressed through the book I wanted everything to turn out well for Shona. Does it? Well, you’ll have to read Valentina and find out for yourself.
The plot is so very clever and quite intricate. It was a joy to read this book and I struggled to focus on anything else as it had my full attention. When I wasn’t reading, I was thinking about the characters and wondering what was going to happen next. I even explained the plot to my husband (I don’t think he could work out why I was explaining it to him) but it was because I wanted to talk about the book with someone! It really gets under your skin.
This is a dark story about loneliness and what we accept to be the truth. The one thing I will say, I was a touch disappointed by the closing chapters. I wanted a little more ‘omph’ but I still loved the story and the authors style.
Would I recommend this book? Most definitely. A very deserving five out of five stars from me. It’s dark, totally compelling and full of shady characters. There’s a sense of foreboding you get from the very beginning which stays with you until the very end. Completely enticing, once you start reading you will struggle to stop. I loved it! As I said earlier, if this is the first offering from S E Lynes, I cannot wait to see what she has in store for us next.
In answer to my pondering, S.E. Lynes had two other stonking novels up her sleeve (Mother and The Pact) with a fourth (The Proposal) due to be published in September! I am delighted to have an eARC of The Proposal on my Kindle so look out for a review (plus a fantastic #damppebblestakeover post from the author herself!) coming your way soon.
Valentina by S.E. Lynes was published in the UK by Bookouture on 13th August 2018 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which means I earn a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | BookDepository | Goodreads |
After graduating from Leeds University, S E Lynes lived in London before moving to Aberdeen to be with her husband. In Aberdeen, she worked as a producer at BBC Radio Scotland before moving with her husband and two young children to Rome. There, she began to write while her children attended nursery. After the birth of her third child and upon her return to the UK, she gained an MA in Creative Writing from Kingston University. She now combines writing with lecturing at Richmond Adult Community College and bringing up her three children. She lives in Teddington.