I’m delighted to be part of the launch celebrations for Valentina, the debut psychological thriller by S E Lynes which will be published in e-book and paperback by Blackbird Books on 1st July 2016. Valentina is available for order and purchase on Amazon, and from Waterstones and Barnes and Noble. You can read the opening of Valentina by clicking here.
When Glasgow journalist Shona McGilvery moves with her partner Mikey and their baby to an idyllic cottage in rural Scotland, they believe that all that lies ahead of them is happiness.
But with Mikey working offshore, the frightening isolation of the Aberdeenshire countryside begins to drive her insane…
That is, until she is rescued by a new friendship with the enchanting Valentina.
She has the perfect home, the perfect man, and a charismatic new best friend – or does she? As her fairytale life begins to unravel, the deep dark wood becomes the least of her fears…
My Review of Valentina
Shona moves to Aberdeenshire with her partner Mikey and baby Isla to support Mikey’s oil rig work. Feeling lonely, she is delighted to meet the slightly exotic Valentina, but has no idea where this friendship will take her.
Wow. I loved this psychological thriller. From the perfect cover image (which I can’t say too much about without spoiling the plot, but let’s just say it fits the story perfectly) to the three separate parts of the narrative, I found Valentina gripping and absorbing.
SE Lynes writes pitch perfect prose so that each word adds to the build up of tension even when the reader guesses some of the plot outcomes.
The characters are few – mainly Mikey, Valentina and Shona – leading to a claustrophobic feeling that made my heart race. So too did the dual first person narrative which I really enjoyed as it was separated into three distinct, thrilling, parts rather than the frequent see-sawing backwards and forwards of many novels. There’s an almost chilling straightforwardness here that pierces the reader’s imagination.
The plot is so well planned with recurring themes and images that continuously build the tension and pace. It’s only on reflecting at the end of this breathlessly exciting book that the reader fully comprehends what a stylish, intelligent and well crafted story this is.
S E Lynes made me wonder how well we ever really know those we love and caused me to consider the nature of identity. I found Valentina exciting and thought provoking and I was so completely absorbed in the story that time seemed to stand still as I read. Disturbingly, heart thumpingly psychological, Valentina is up there as one of the best thrillers I’ve read. Brilliant.
About S E Lynes
After graduating from Leeds University, S E Lynes lived in London for a couple of years before moving to Aberdeen to be with her husband. In Aberdeen, she worked as a producer at the 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.
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