Wednesday, January 07, 2015

The Engagement

No, not ours, although that progresses well, thanks.

Chloe Hooper's second novel, The Engagement is my second Australian Women's Writers Challenge read of 2015.

It is a modern gothic novel of psychological suspense.

The premise is that Liese Campbell, deeply in debt and working in her uncle's real estate business, begins charging loaded Gippsland farmer Alexander Colquhoun for sex.  When Liese announces her return to England, Alexander invites her to his property for a final weekend.

The novel is not about sex, and certainly isn't erotic, but there are sexual passages.  The novel is about power and control and desire and fear.

The set up is a bit clunky and belief must be suspended, but go with it - the psychological thriller bit is worth it.  And it certainly does prompt thought. 

I read Chloe's first novel, A Child's True Book of Crime (2002), last year and this is, in my opinion, the better of the two. 4 stars from me, and would be a good book for a reading group.

Finishing this presented me with a dilemma, though.  It seems I have become a monogamous reader sometime in the last few years.  I forgot to bring a new library book home - there are two waiting for me - and I finished this book early in the evening. I am reluctant to have more than one novel on the go at a time.  Just as I was about to download a magazine from the library, I found a literary solution with a volume of short stories.  I can read a couple of short stories without fear of cheating on my next book. 

While I try to borrow from the library where I can, in this instance a small number of unread books at home is a blessing.


Olivia said...

I do remember hearing about this book when it came out, and thanks to your review it's going on my list. I too only read one novel at a time - but the next one(hundred) is always lined up! That's the most exciting part about finishing one.

Elizabeth Lhuede said...

Thanks for the review. I like the sound of this book. Like Olivia, I heard about it when it came out, but forgot soon after. So good to have this reminder. It sounds like just the kind of story I like to read.

Taphophile said...

I have a fairly substantial to be read shelf, Olivia, so there is always an alternative. If either you or Elizabeth would like my copy, please shout out - it will be going to Lifeline otherwise.

2paw said...

I don't know this author at all, so I can add her to my list of authors to read. I don't have any unread books, and of course no books come from the Library and then six big fat ones come at once!!!

Taphophile said...

Cindy - you need to read her first book, A Child's Book of True Crime. It's set in Tasmania. Just as soon as you've read those 6 other fat books.