It’s always a real thrill when C. L. Taylor has a new book out and I’m delighted to be helping celebrate the release of her latest, Strangers. My enormous thanks to Sanjana Cunniah at Avon books for inviting me to participate.
Strangers was published by Harper Collins’ imprint Avon on 2nd April 2020 and is available for purchase through these links.
Ursula, Gareth and Alice have never met before.
Ursula thinks she killed the love of her life.
Gareth’s been receiving strange postcards.
And Alice is being stalked.
None of them are used to relying on others – but when the three strangers’ lives unexpectedly collide, there’s only one thing for it: they have to stick together. Otherwise, one of them will die.
Three strangers, two secrets, one terrifying evening.
The million-copy bestseller returns with a gripping new novel that will keep you guessing until the end.
My Review of Strangers
Three people linked more closely than they imagine.
It’s always a real pleasure to dive into a new C. L. Taylor novel and Strangers didn’t disappoint, not least because I hadn’t read the blurb for the book and had absolutely no idea how Ursula, Gareth and Alice’s stories might come together so I was kept guessing right until the end of the story.
Whilst there’s the usual twisty, fast pace and thrilling plot that I’ve come to expect from this author, I found Strangers more poignant than her other books because, although each character is flawed, even the most conventionally wicked or unhinged among them is harbouring a sadness, a completely understandable reason for their behaviour and an underlying loneliness and pain that I found very affecting. Indeed, the title Strangers is so apposite because, C.L. Taylor makes the reader understand that no matter how well or little we think we know someone, there’s always a crucial part that is unknowable, separate and unique to them. Ursula’s strand in particular brought this home to me very effectively as I discovered the reason for her compulsion to steal.
I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the characters and felt even the most minor ones were distinct and realistic. Whilst I found some of their attitudes and actions so frustrating I wanted to shake them, I was equally concerned for them too because C.L. Taylor made me care about them. Although the three main characters of Gareth, Alice and Ursula have their own clear and distinct narratives, again it was Ursula to whom I felt closest. Her seeming self-destruction felt so poignant.
The themes of loneliness, guilt, society and the impact of social media, stalking, domestic abuse, mental health and dementia and so on that weave in and out of the plot give a texture and depth that made me contemplate not just the lives of those in the book, but of others in my life and made me wonder how well I have supported them or made assumptions about them. I found this aspect of Strangers enormously unsettling. There’s a brilliant microcosm of society presented in Strangers that is as thought provoking as it is entertaining and that underpins the action without ever over dominating because of C. L. Taylor’s skilled writing.
Strangers is a super read. Cleverly plotted, sensitively handled and exciting, I found it an absorbing and exciting narrative that I fully recommend.
About C.L. Taylor
C.L. Taylor lives in Bristol with her partner and son. She started writing fiction in 2005 and her short stories have won several awards and have been published by a variety of literary and women’s magazines.
C.L. Taylor was voted as one of the Bestselling Adult Fiction Debut Authors of 2014 in The Bookseller.