My review of Her Pretty Face will follow the publisher’s blurb:
The author of the bestselling novel The Party—lauded as “tense and riveting” by New York Times bestselling author Megan Miranda—returns with a chilling new domestic drama about two women whose deep friendship is threatened by dark, long-buried secrets.
Frances Metcalfe is struggling to stay afloat.
A stay-at-home mom whose troubled son is her full-time job, she thought that the day he got accepted into the elite Forrester Academy would be the day she started living her life. Overweight, insecure, and lonely, she is desperate to fit into Forrester’s world. But after a disturbing incident at the school leads the other children and their families to ostracize the Metcalfes, she feels more alone than ever before.
Until she meets Kate Randolph.
Kate is everything Frances is not: beautiful, wealthy, powerful, and confident. And for some reason, she’s not interested in being friends with any of the other Forrester moms—only Frances. As the two bond over their disdain of the Forrester snobs and the fierce love they have for their sons, a startling secret threatens to tear them apart…because one of these women is not who she seems. Her real name is Amber Kunik. And she’s a murderer.
In her masterful follow-up to The Party, Robyn Harding spins a web of lies, deceit, and betrayal, asking the question: Can people ever change? And even if they can, is it possible to forgive the past?
Before I get into my review I just want to put something out there….I’m extremely influenced by beautiful book covers. I know I’m not the only one out there. The cover for Her Pretty Face is sublime. Not only visually but to the touch as well. The water droplets are embossed, perfect for that extra tactile experience when reading a real book. Now on to my review.
As I got deeper into the novel, it reminded me of a much mediatised case in Montreal recently where a convicted killer volunteered at a children’s school. There was a lot of uproar from the community and parents. I’ve read a few novels recently where ideas are pulled from real life and integrated into books. It’s not something that bothers me as long as it’s well written into the story.
There is a flood of this genre on the market right now but what made this one interesting for me is how Robyn Harding shrouded the first part of the book in a veil of mystery. I like books that make you pay attention to the little crumbs. Even though this is not rollercoaster of a mystery – I liked the little mental workout it gave me – it kept me thinking and pondering well after I finished the book.
There has been a lot of talk of redemption and rehabilitation regarding people with a criminal pasts. Should they get a clean slate once they have done their time ? Should they be able to slide back into society? The journey of getting to know someone on a more intimate level and then being delivered a bombshell about their past was central for me while reading Her Pretty Face. It’s definitely a book that would make for some interesting and perhaps heated discussions for a book club ! You can find the reading group guide right HERE.
The second half of the novel delivers the sordid details and interesting connections. I liked getting to know Frances, she was relatable and pleasant even with all her faults and insecurities. Kate is the wonderful and fearless friend Frances needed. The friendship between the two women evolves and as the story develops, answers are revealed. There are other characters and dynamics to watch out for too – but I’ll stop there as not to spoil it for you.
Once I finished Her Pretty Face, I purchased The Party (also by Robyn Harding). I’ve heard many great things about The Party and can’t wait to find time to read it. If you haven’t read The Party yet, Kobo Canada has it on sale for 2.99$ right now. Here is your taxi. Her Pretty Face is available for purchase July 10th.
Her Pretty Face by Robyn Harding is available July 10th
Published by Gallery/Scout Press an imprint of Simon and Schuster
A copy of Her Pretty Face was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts and review.