Valentina by S. E. Lynes will be released on 1st July 2016. Thank you to Blackbird Digital Books for my copy of this book.
This book is about Shona and her life now that she has moved to a remote part of the countryside in Aberdeen. Her 'life partner' Mickey has a job that means he is away from home two weeks a month. I like that S. E. Lynes's writing is so atmospheric that Shona's loneliness practically screamed off the page. She builds tension right the way through the book, even when you have worked out what is going on before Shona has. I thought I would get put off by working it out before the protagonist but I wasn't because I got the different viewpoints from those involved. Instead of just revealing the twist; S. E. Lynes takes it further and we get a point of view which we wouldn't normally get.
The thing that really made this book for me was the narrative style. It was like I was in a room with Shona and she was telling me her story. I loved the interruptions from Shona, the hindsight perspectives that we wouldn't normally get. It made the whole book more realistic, relatable and enjoyable. The conversational tone made you become more invested in the characters and the emotions they were feeling. Whereas sometimes you are just interested in the plot and the characters are just tools of this.
The character development in this book is brilliant. Because of the way the story is told, we see Shona reflectively seeing how she had gone from being a strong, feisty woman to an exhausted, manipulated push-over. It was sad to see her changing and by the end of the book, she didn't go back to how she was. This isn't one of those stories, and she becomes the product of betrayal and manipulation. It made for fascinating reading, and I couldn't put this book down.