Rating: 3.5 Stars
I bought The French Girl by Lexie Elliott while I was just browsing around the bookstore, waiting for my kids to make up their minds about what to get. I had never seen this book around and had no idea about ratings and reviews. Fortunately, when I scanned it on my Goodreads shelves, my phone started acting up, and I couldn’t see the rating for this books, nor even one review! So, this was one book I really went into blind.
The story revolves around a crime committed a decade ago, which has just come to light. The body of Severine, a 19-year-old French girl, is discovered in a well on a farmhouse in France. The girl was last seen with six Oxford students who were on the farm for a week during the summer, 10 years ago. With one of them dead, suspicion falls on the remaining five, who have all gone on to have successful careers.
Kate Channing had never liked Severine, and that last night of the holiday remains one of the worst memories of her life. But now, Severine has come to haunt her, and her own memories of that last night seem to be changing. As the investigation proceeds, Kate realizes that for one thing, Severine’s ghost will not leave her alone, and for another, somehow she has become the prime suspect for the murder of the girl. As it dawns on her that she has been wrong about everyone who was with her that week, she must figure out what really happened that night, or risk losing everything she has worked so hard to achieve.
The book started off with Kate getting the news of Severine’s body being discovered, and immediately things start happening. So, the book grips you from the beginning as you follow Kate, who is the narrator of the story. As you get used to the speed of things, the pacing slows down about a quarter into the story. For a while it seems like nothing is happening, and you’re just wasting time. This, however, does not take away the reader’s interest because by now, you really want to know what really happened.
There is no real mystery about the culprit here. Even though a couple of characters are made out to be mysterious and cryptic, there is only one who is the villain of this story. The thing that keeps you reading is the great narrative, and that very, very thin thread of what seems like a creepy, supernatural phenomenon!
The plot itself is average, and there are many things that are too predictable. From the first time you read about Tom and Kate’s friendship, you know that there will be a romantic angle somewhere along the way. Similarly, as soon as you learn about the pregnancy of one of the characters, you know that the author is too kind-hearted to make anything bad happen to the woman! There are many such things that come in the realm of cliches, but it still doesn’t matter, because you like where the story is going.
The French Girl is the kind of novel you take on a holiday or to the pool. You don’t need to be glued to it all the time, or having palpitations just reading it. It is a good thriller, which, while not your average egde-of-the-seat affair, is still interesting and engaging. I really enjoyed reading this one.