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Contemporary Gothic: The Engagement

The EngagementThe Engagement by Chloe Hooper

Liese has been working at her uncle’s estate agency in Melbourne. The luxury apartments Liese shows handsome farmer Alexander Colquhoun become sets for a relationship that satisfies their fantasies – and helps pay her debts. It’s a game. Both players understand the rules. Or so she thinks.
When Alexander pays Liese to spend a weekend with him on his remote property, she senses a change in him. A new game has begun in this psychological thriller for the modern age.

First Impressions: From the first few pages I could tell I would really enjoy this novel. I also felt some relief as when The Engagement was published I (unfortunately) read many middling reviews which didn’t inspire me to read it at the time.

Highlights: I loved Hooper’s contemporary Australian twists on both gothic writing and Dutch still life paintings. It was all subtle rather than overdone and highly entertaining. Liese is an unreliable yet reliable narrator and for some reason I enjoyed her background life in architecture. I enjoyed and appreciated Hooper’s description of the nondescript Norwich suburbs; it felt accurate and could be AnyUnremarkableTown, UK. In a nutshell, Hooper’s writing style and plot had me hooked. I read it in one day which is rare for me at the moment. I also love this cover.

If I was an editor: I would be aghast at the middling reviews I mentioned earlier. Sure, it is more literary than a lot of thrillers so perhaps the reviewers missed the point.

Overall: A few days on and I wonder if it is all just meant to be hilarious rather than alarming!

The Engagement: 5 Stars

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