Originally published: 22 July 2021
Author: Sonia Velton
Published by: Quercus Books
Genre: Literary Thriller
Length: 384 pages
Reading dates: 18-21 July 2021
STELLA and CONNIE are strangers, brought together by two traumatic events – cruel twists of fate that happen thousands of miles apart.
Stella lives with her mother, a smothering narcissist. When she succumbs to dementia, the pressures on Stella’s world intensify, culminating in tragedy. As Stella recovers from a near fatal accident, she feels compelled to share her trauma but she finds talking difficult. In her head she confides in Connie because there’s no human being in the world that she feels closer to.
Connie is an expat living in Dubai with her partner, Mark, and their two children. On the face of it she wants for nothing and yet … something about life in this glittering city does not sit well with her. Used to working full time in a career she loves back in England, she struggles to find meaning in the expat life of play-dates and pedicures.
Two women set on a collision course. When their lives finally collide, it won’t be in a way that anyone could have foreseen.
This is one of those books that is going to be really hard to review because I don’t want to give anything away. The Image of Her is a story about two women – Stella and Connie and although they have never met, there is a connection between them.
Stella lives a sad and lonely life. She has cared for her mother through dementia and sacrificed her own life and happiness to do so. As the book begins, she is living alone in her mother’s house having recovered from a near fatal accident and the only person she ever sees is the delivery driver who delivers the high end clothes she always sends back. Connie lives with her husband and two young children in Dubai, having moved there for his job. Having to contend with the different culture and her loneliness, her husband suggests she gets a live in maid to help with the children and she finds this gives her the freedom to meet more people.
This was a real page turner – I desperately wanted to find out what the connection was between Sella and Connie and when it was revealed I wasn’t disappointed. It was interesting reading about Connie’s life in Dubai – about the attitude to the hired help and how badly they could be treated. And Stella’s story about her accident and her subsequent recovery and loneliness is sad to read about.
I loved Velton’s first novel, Blackberry and Wild Rose which was set in the world of the Spitalfields silk weavers in London 1768 so was thrilled to learn she has a second book out. The Image of Her however is completely different but Velton again weaves a thrilling and intelligent story around the characters of two women which completely enthralled me.
Many thanks to Ella at Quercus Books for sending me an ARC and for inviting me on the blog blast. Be sure to check out the other reviews from the great bloggers below…
About the author:
Sonia Velton has been a solicitor in Hong Kong, a Robert Schuman Scholar in Luxembourg and spent eight years being a Sonia Velton has been a solicitor in Hong Kong, a Robert Schuman Scholar in Luxembourg and spent eight years being an expat Mum of three in Dubai. She now lives in Kent. Her first novel, BLACKBERRY AND WILD ROSE was short-listed for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, long-listed for the HWA Debut Crown and has been optioned for film. Her second book, THE IMAGE OF HER, is a literary thriller about two women whose lives come together in a way that is both chilling and awe-inspiring.