French ex-pat Tristan Mourault is the wealthy, urbane heir to a world-renowned collection of art - and an insatiable voyeur enamored with Karen Miller, a 15-year-old from a working-class family in San Francisco. Deciding he must 'rescue' Karen from her unhappy circumstances, Tristan kidnaps her and stages her death to mask his true crime. Years later, Karen is now Gisele, and the pair leads an opulent life in idyllic and rarefied Devon, Washington. But when Nicola, Gisele's young daughter, stumbles upon a secret cache of paintings - all nudes of Gisele - Tristan's carefully constructed world begins to crumble. As Nicola grapples with the tragedy that follows, she crosses paths with Amanda Miller, who comes to Devon to investigate the portraits' uncanny resemblance to her long-lost sister. Set against a byzantine backdrop of greed, artifice, and dangerous manipulations, this is an intoxicating debut that keeps its darkest secrets until the very last page.
©2011 Brandi Lynn Ryder (P)2011 Dreamscape Media
"...sexy, artistic...a page-turner." (Publishers Weekly)
"A modern gothic that emits a creepy glow..." (Kirkus Reviews)
This book is excellent all around. The story itself kept me awake when I should have been sleeping just because I needed to know what was next. The narrator did an excellent job as well, I know there are a number of good books out there with, should I say "less than good", narration? At any rate, this book is one I will highly recommend,and have, to my friends and family.
I listen to books during my commute. And though I am by no means a 'reviewer of books', I have to say that this book was very well done. It was clever without being overtly so - so many books in this genre are filled with red herrings for seemingly no reason. This book had plenty of mystery without any deliberateness about it. Everything seemed to be plotted out well and to make sense. The end...wow, I really wasn't expecting it to unfold as it did. Really a fun read.
Yes!! Great narration.
Great combination of edge of your seat suspense,twists & turns,while haunting & sophisticated. Stunning surprise ending!!!
Wonderful accents completely capture the characters.
Highly recommend this new writer. Hope to see more from her!!!
This was an interesting book. Very mysterious. I tried up until the end to figure out the culprit, to no avail. I recommended it to a couple of friends.
Yes, this novel features an ivy-covered tower, some castle ruins, and a post World-War-II home with secret rooms (one accessed through a dusty wine cellar!) and hidden passageways -- all in modern-day Washington state! Also, two super-smart European-accented gentlemen with a secret relationship, PLUS a central European, each with an astounding level of knowledge and/or artistic proficiency. Because of course all readers know that if you speak with a suave English/French/Czech accent, you MUST be smarter than the American rubes who have only gone to U.S. public schools and the University of Washington (to be sure, a lesser ranked graduate department in the U. of W.).
The author can write an English sentence, so there's that. And many readers will be enthralled by the coincidences, late-breaking plot twists, beautiful-young-woman in peril sequences (and there are THREE beautiful young women ... all related!). Other readers -- including this one -- will find the logic and details of this novel a little over the top, especially those long-drawn-out, melodramatic passages in which a critical turn of the plot is described. Sometimes less really IS more, but this author did not get the memo. The neatest trick telling the story through personal diary entries and the consciousness of several characters without revealing to readers crucial facts that are already known to the character/narrator in question. Yes, this trick can give readers a surprise, but in a number of cases the surprise is not a surprise to the characters through whose consciousness the plot is moved along.
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