I’ve been away recently and with travelling, flight and journey time is ever present. Although I did fill the majority with sleeping and card games, I managed to read one book over this duration: The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances.
The Girlfriend is classed as a psychological thriller, a genre that is hot right now but not one that I commonly read, but the cover and blurb, which I’ll insert below, definitely grabbed my attention.
“Laura has it all. A successful career, a long marriage to a rich husband, and a twenty-three year-old son, Daniel, who is kind, handsome, and talented. Then Daniel meets Cherry. Cherry is young, beautiful and smart but she hasn’t had the same opportunities as Daniel. And she wants Laura’s life.
Cherry comes to the family wide-eyed and wants to be welcomed with open arms, but Laura suspects she’s not all that she seems.
When tragedy strikes, an unforgivable lie is told. It is an act of desperation, but the fall-out will change their lives forever.”
The book follows the three main characters and writes in each of their points of view, meaning the reader can get inside their heads and either understand their perspective, or like them even less. There’s a general idea of protagonist and antagonist but not in any distinct manner, so you’re free to back the character of your choosing, with the multiple POV supporting this.
A criticism on this, however, is at times I found the storyline or narration to be unclear, confused to whether we’d backtracked or changed character, so if you do decide to read it, you may find yourself rereading a page a couple times in attempt to understand. The various POV also means that the reader knows more than certain characters at different points in the novel, adding the suspense that psychological thrillers tend to be known for.
The pace of the novel contributes to adding tension as well, in that it’s not particularly fast. At several points I was trying to read faster to the drama could be resolved sooner and I didn’t have to be on the edge of my seat.
The characters in the novel were decent in terms of me liking them, and I suspect they’re designed that way. The mother and the girlfriend, who supposedly are in competition, have evident flaws to them, and whilst it’s written so that you back the mother, you get annoyed by her and her actions on regular intervals, meaning you could probably make the switch over to supporting the girlfriend. I also liked the writing in that for each character I was immersed in their POV and thinking, so much so that it did put me in a bad mood a couple times, which is something different to a lot of the lighter reads I see advertised.
In terms of the ending I thought it to be done fairly well. Whilst it wasn’t revolutionary by any means it did leave you a little spooked and left you questioning certain characters and their motives.
I’m not a common reader of psychological thrillers, so The Girlfriend made a nice change. As someone who’s definitely not a fan of gore and graphic violence or imagery I was pleasantly relieved in that this book had neither, so if thrillers aren’t usually up your alley I’d suggest giving it a try. I think the book as a whole was pretty good so I can see myself going back to the author if I want to read another of the same genre.
Rating system: 1 = bad, 2 = okay/decent, 3 = good, 4 = very good, 5 = wow