EXCERPT: The photos of the Straubs provided me with terrific comfort. I clicked through several of Natalie and her friends and several of Natalie alone. Then I landed on one of Fritz, leaning against the library wall, laughing, his intense green eyes looking straight into the camera. It was his kindness and intelligence that made him handsome. I’d sensed those qualities in him the instant we met. I felt a tug of longing in my gut – some combination of emptiness and desire.
I pulled up some shots of myself that I’d used for my website and superimposed my body, in profile, next to an image of Fritz in profile. I moved his face close to mine, so it looked as though we were confiding in each other, in a close conversation that others couldn’t hear. And then, practically feeling his breath on my face, I closed the gap between the two mouths. His warm lips pressed against mine. Then his fingers in my hair. A frisson of surprised delight surged through my body.
ABOUT ‘THE PHOTOGRAPHER’: WHEN PERFECT IMAGES
As a photographer, Delta Dawn observes the seemingly perfect lives of New York City’s elite: snapping photos of their children’s birthday parties, transforming images of stiff hugs and tearstained faces into visions of pure joy, and creating moments these parents long for.
ARE MADE OF BEAUTIFUL LIES
But when Delta is hired for Natalie Straub’s eleventh birthday, she finds herself wishing she wasn’t behind the lens but a part of the scene—in the Straub family’s gorgeous home and elegant life.
THE TRUTH WILL BE EXPOSED
That’s when Delta puts her plan in place, by babysitting for Natalie; befriending her mother, Amelia; finding chances to listen to her father, Fritz. Soon she’s bathing in the master bathtub, drinking their expensive wine, and eyeing the beautifully finished garden apartment in their townhouse. It seems she can never get close enough, until she discovers that photos aren’t all she can manipulate.
MY THOUGHTS: I can remember, as a teenager, babysitting for some nice people up the street with whom I shared a love of horses and reading. I wanted to belong to them, and spent every moment that I could at their house. I used to fantasize that people would think I was their daughter (unlikely as Julie was only 7 years older than me) or Julie’s sister. So I can kind of relate to Delta, but then I was fourteen, not twenty-eight.
I can tend towards voyeuristic behaviour, but on a much lower level than Delta. I like people watching, I listen to their conversations and make up stories about them. I can get a bit nosy about my neighbours movements. But there I draw the line.
I really enjoyed the early part of The Photographer; it was both disturbing and entertaining. But then about halfway through it fizzled a little. I started going, ‘hmmm,’ and, ‘really?’, and my interest waned. It didn’t die completely, but it definitely took a hit. I remained curious, but not frantically, which is how I felt in the early part of the book, and how I wanted to feel throughout the read.
The twists didn’t surprise me, and I was disappointed with the ending. BUT, as this is the author’s first novel, I am prepared to cut her some slack. And I will definitely be putting my hand up to read anything else she writes in the future.
I: @marydixiecarter @hodderbooks
T: @MaryDixieCarter @HodderBooks
#contemporaryfiction #domesticdrama #psychologicalthriller
THE AUTHOR: Mary Dixie Carter’s writing has appeared in TIME, The Economist, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Sun, The New York Observer and other print and online publications. She worked at The Observer for five years, where she served as the publishing director. In addition to writing, she also has a background as a professional actor. Mary Dixie graduated from Harvard College with an honors degree in English Literature and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two young children. The Photographer is her first novel.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Photographer by Mary Dixie Carter for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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