Valentina: A Hauntingly Intelligent Psychological Thriller
Author: S.E. Lynes
Publication Date: July 1, 2016
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Fiction
Note: I received an ARC from Blackbird Digital Books in exchange for an unbiased review.
When Glasgow journalist Shona McGilvery moves with her partner Mikey and their baby to an idyllic cottage in rural Scotland, they believe that all that lies ahead of them is happiness.
But with Mikey working offshore, the frightening isolation of the Aberdeenshire countryside begins to drive her insane…
That is, until she is rescued by a new friendship with the enchanting Valentina.
She has the perfect home, the perfect man, and a charismatic new best friend – or does she?
As her fairytale life begins to unravel, the deep dark wood becomes the least of her fears…
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
When Mikey takes an off-shore job, he moves his girlfriend Shona and their baby to a cottage in rural Scotland. The move leaves Shana and the baby alone the majority of the time. Shona immediately feels lonely and isolated. She’s pleased when she makes a connection with vibrant Valentina.
With Mikey gone more and more, Shona depends on Valentina and her young son for companionship and support. But the more Shona gets to know Valentina, the more she begins to wonder about her new friend. Something is not adding up and Shona can’t put her finger on it.
The closer she becomes with Valentina, the more Shona’s life feels like it’s beginning to spin out of control.
Valentina was a very good psychological thriller.The writing was incredible. It had a dark and dreary feel to it, which is exactly what I would expect from a thriller. I could imagine the story playing out on a dark and grainy movie screen. The setting was absolutely perfect.
The characters were extremely complex. Shona was stuck in the haze of new motherhood. She was overwhelmed, anxious and lonely. She was desperate for a friend and confidant. As sweet as her boyfriend Mikey was, his absence was slowly draining her.
Valentina was the answer to Shona’s prayers. She was supportive and available at a moments notice. They had children the same age and that helped strengthened their bond. Their friendship fills the void Shona was missing in her near perfect life.
But as the synopsis hints, things may not be as perfect as they seem. I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say that I guessed part of the twist correctly. The rest of it definitely surprised me. It was really cool.
Valentina had all the makings of the perfect psychological thriller except for one thing: the pace. While I was immediately pulled in by the imagery and emotion of the story, Part I of the book moved so slowly I was beginning to lose interest. Shona’s day-to-day life was so mundane. I get it. I’ve had a baby and know how trying, boring and emotional that first year is, but Shona’s boredom started to make me bored. There needed to be the introduction to and build of a relationship with Valentina, but I wish it would have been faster paced. Parts II and III moved a lot quicker and contained most of the action. They’re what made the story truly interesting and amazing.
Despite the slower pace, Valentina was still a wonderful psychological thriller that had guessing until the end. I would definitely recommend it.