EXCERPT: I rip the takeaway menus off the cork noticeboard on the wall to make space for a Grace collage. The dark images from outside her flat and the light ones from the brightly lit department store. There’s room for plenty more.
I wonder what she’ll think of my photos. But my collection isn’t ready yet. I want to win her over first before I surprise her with my work and she sees how good it is. I thought she might be in touch after seeing me this morning, but my phone stays silent. I’ll give her a bit more time and if I don’t hear from her I’ll send another photo to stop her forgetting me. The photo board looks good on the wall, makes the flat look more like home. Grace’s eyes follow me around the room, warming me inside. The adult Grace has taken over from the teenager who used to live in my head, whose face I was afraid of forgetting. My favourite photo is the one where she looked up and saw me this morning. When our eyes met across the room. I’ve captured the haunted look that flitted across her face.
I won’t stop haunting her until she gives me what I want.
ABOUT ‘THE ORCHID GIRLS’: They called them the Orchid Girls.
Grace. Charlotte. Molly.
One of them is in love.
One of them is a liar.
One of them is dead.
One day, three became two – and no one knows the truth. What really happened that summer?
MY THOUGHTS: This is not the ‘breathless, gripping and twisty story of love, obsession and dark secrets’ that the promotional blurb promises, at least not for me. Initially I felt that there was a more palpable air of menace present than in this author’s most recent book, The Birthday Weekend, which I read last week. But the story quickly becomes slower and quite repetitive. There is a distinct lack of suspense, and at times the writing appears quite disordered.
The plot holds great promise, and had the author been able to inject some suspense into her writing, and organize her thoughts a little better, this could have been a really good read. There are certainly some interesting concepts that could have been better developed.
The story is told over two timelines, 2002, and the current day from the points of view of Molly and Grace. This is interspersed with extracts from the diaries of all three girls, and newspaper reports.
I honestly didn’t feel that the diary extracts added much, if any value, to the story. They felt like filler. The newspaper reports were far more informative.
I loved The Woman at 46 Heath Street, but the other books I have read by this author have failed to live up to it. I hate to say it, but I think that my reading relationship with this author may be at an end.
THE AUTHOR: Lesley attended the Curtis Brown Creative 6 month novel writing course in 2015/6, and in 2017 The Orchid Girls (then On The Edge) was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish fiction prize.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Orchid Girls by Lesley Sanderson for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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