I received a free ebook of The Devil’s Work by Mark Edwards from Netgalley in return for a fair review.
I haven’t read anything by this author, but the cover and the description interested me and so I requested and received it from NetGalley. I am so glad that I did!
The story concerns Sophie, a mother returning to work after taking time off to be home with her child. She lands her dream job at Jackdaw Publishing, a company that publishes children’s and teen literature and that Sophie has an unfortunate connection with from her university days. The plot switches between the current day, Sophie working at Jackdaw while her life begins to implode around her, and the past, Sophie’s uni days when she was friends with Jasmine and Liam, who disappeared and are presumed dead.
The plot is intriguing, fast paced and filled me with a sense of dread. Is Sophie being gas lighted? Is she being set up? What happened to her predecessor? What really happened to Jasmine and Liam? The questions and the impending sense of danger for Sophie and her little family kept me flying through the pages as the suspense built. I read the entire book in one sitting. I had an inkling towards the end of who mght be involved, but it didn’t ruin the book for me, in fact it just made sense of some of the clues and the scenes that occurred earlier in the book.
This is a great and terrifying psychological thriller from an author new to me. I’d highly recommend this to thriller readers.
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Vinegar Girl is part of the Hogarth Shakespear Project, the purpose of which is to take today’s novelists and have them write their modern takes on Shakespeare’s plays. Vinegar Girl is a modern retelling of one of my favorites, The Taming of the Shrew.
Kate is the daughter of a research scientist, who has spent his life immersed in his work barely lifting his head to acknowledge his daughters, Kate the eldest and Bunny the prettiest. Kate lives a life of caretaking for her father and younger sister and working a dead end job that she doesn’t seem particularly well suited for after being asked to leave college. Kate is intelligent, acerbic (hence the vinegar in the title), funny, plain speaking and has no time for the social niceties that people expect her to observe. After a confrontation of sorts with her father, who wants her to marry his research assistant in order to allow the assistant to stay in the country, Kate comes to the harsh realization that She. Has. No. Plan.
The characters of Kate, Bunny and their father are well actualized. Kate especially is excrutiatingly well drawn. The character of Pyotr, the marriage minded assistant, falls flat to start with for me but comes into his own at the very end of the book. This may actually have been purposeful, in order to keep the focus on Kate until the conclusion, I am not sure. This was a very well done adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew, funny, touching, and thoughtful. We all know people like Kate, who get bound up in the day to day of caretaking of others until life is just happening to them, rather than them making things happen. It is lovely to see someone like that come out the other end okay, more than okay.
Shakespeare fan or not, a lovely, quick read about how to get what you want when you don’t even know what it is.