I’m thrilled to be part of the launch celebrations for Skin Deep by Laura Wilkinson.
Published on 15th June 2017 by Accent Press, Skin Deep is available for purchase in e-book and paperback through the links here.
Art student and former model Diana has always been admired for her beauty, but what use are good looks when you want to shine for your talent? Insecure and desperate for inspiration, Diana needs a muse.
Facially disfigured four-year-old Cal lives a life largely hidden from the world. But he was born to be looked at and he needs love too. A chance encounter changes everything and Cal becomes Diana’s muse. But as Diana’s reputation develops and Cal grows up, their relationship implodes.
Both struggle to be accepted for what lies within.
Is it possible to find acceptance in a society where what’s on the outside counts for so much?
My Review of Skin Deep
Diana has had an emotionally abused childhood, but has she learnt from her experiences?
Not having read anything by Laura Wilkinson before, I had no idea what to expect from Skin Deep and hadn’t even looked at the genre and blurb as I began. Wow. I was sucked into the narrative by the fabulous quality of the writing from the very first word.
Skin Deep is a gripping social commentary on what makes us who we are, on society’s demands for us to conform physically and on the way we can manipulate others to our own ends, albeit sometimes unwittingly. Laura Wilkinson writes with such intelligence and skill that I was gripped throughout; rather like those who might stare at Cal, I found I couldn’t tear myself away in spite of myself.
I found the social and cultural messages about the obsession with the way we look so well handled. There’s no preachiness here and having reflected for some time on Diana’s behaviour, which I can understand perfectly, I still can’t make up my mind what I think about her. Indeed, the quality of characterisation is so good that I completely forgot I was reading a story and that Cal, Alan, Diana et al were not real people. I thought about them, wondering what was happening to them, when I wasn’t actually reading the book.
Having read Skin Deep, I feel quite disturbed. It stirred memories of teaching a child not dissimilar to Cal and the level of protection I felt towards him and it has made me wonder if I might behave exactly like Diana at her worst moments in the same circumstances. This is not a comfortable thought.
Whilst Skin Deep is a cracking story with a sophisticated plot that keeps the reader entertained throughout, it is so much more. Reading Skin Deep made me uneasy, made me question my whole belief system and make me thankful I am an ordinary person with an ordinary life. I loved Skin Deep and can’t recommend it highly enough.
About Laura Wilkinson
Liverpool born, Laura is a taff at heart. She has published six novels for adults (two under a pseudonym) and numerous short stories, some of which have made the short lists of international competitions. Public Battles, Private Wars, was a Welsh Books Council Book of the month; Redemption Song was a Kindle top twenty. The Family Line is a family drama set in the near future, looking at identity and parenting. Her latest is Skin Deep. Alongside writing, Laura works as an editor and mentor for literary consultancies and runs workshops on aspects of craft. She’s spoken at festivals and events nationwide, including the Frome Festival, Gladfest, University of Kingston, The Women’s Library and Museum in Docklands. She lives in Brighton with her husband and sons.