A gripping thriller with an incisive psychological twist, examining survival, friendship and memory.
Mitchell gleefully manipulates all these strands, dropping in references to murder-mystery novels, Bluebeard and the creepy Robert Browning poem Porphyria's Lover, in which a charismatic, smitten man ends up murdering his golden-haired lover. She then sends the characters off to the film's location for the dramatic denouement. This is a whip-smart beach read.
haunting debut novel... This novel is dense and unsettling, with a structure more akin to a literary novel than a straightforward crime story (the author is a university English teacher). There are alternating viewpoints, between Chloe and Lois, and a section which is a lengthy extract from Lois's novel, and the result is multilayered and memorable.
Lois and Carly-May are just 12 years old when they're abducted and imprisoned for two months. They form a bond that will never be broken. Decades later, the girls have built new lives and identities for themselves. But increasingly haunted by the devastating experience that shaped them, they're drawn together again...
There is a real ring of truth to this intelligent thriller, full of psychological tension. A great debut.
The survivors of a mysterious childhood abduction struggle with their memories in Maggie Mitchell's teasing, many-storied debut... Ever since Emma Donoghue, inspired by the Josef Fritzl case, impressed and horrified in equal measure with Room, there has been a slowly growing trend for thrillers about abducted children. Maggie Mitchell's debut, Pretty Is, joins a phalanx of fellow kidnap-lit novels out in recent months - The Girl in the Red Coat, How I Lost You, The Boy That Never Was - but stands out for its slick, subversive take on a trope that is showing no signs of going away.
A very original debut novel and an intriguing thriller
a satisfying, literary, multi-layered novel, which teases the reader until the very end
...psychologically astute tale about identity, mask-wearing and escaping the past, from the contrapuntal plotting to the heroines' deftly differentiated voices.
An atmospheric psychological thriller with two complex female characters at its heart, PRETTY IS deserves a place on your bookshelf.