Thank you so much Berkley Publishing for sending me The French Girl in exchange for an honest review! Set ten years after the disappearance of a girl a group of friends met on a trip they took, the case comes back to life and unfolds throughout the book with various twists and turns. While the writing was well done, especially for a debut author, the story was very slow and for the most part a bit boring. I finished this book feeling just ok about it and ended up giving it 3 out of 5 stars.
They were six university students from Oxford–friends and sometimes more than friends–spending an idyllic week together in a French farmhouse. It was supposed to be the perfect summer getaway–until they met Severine, the girl next door.
For Kate Channing, Severine was an unwelcome presence, her inscrutable beauty undermining the close-knit group’s loyalties amid the already simmering tensions. And after a huge altercation on the last night of the holiday, Kate knew nothing would ever be the same. There are some things you can’t forgive, and there are some people you can’t forget, like Severine, who was never seen again.
Now, a decade later, the case is reopened when Severine’s body is found in the well behind the farmhouse. Questioned along with her friends, Kate stands to lose everything she’s worked so hard to achieve as suspicion mounts around her. Desperate to resolve her own shifting memories and fearful she will be forever bound to the woman whose presence still haunts her, Kate finds herself buried under layers of deception with no one to set her free.
I had a fairly good idea who the suspect was from the start which made waiting to find out for sure seem like a long ride. I was happy there were moments mixed in that made me second guess myself, but overall I’d say it was pretty predictable. I did like a few of the characters and I did enjoy the romance that came into this story, mostly because it added a contrast to the otherwise boring thriller aspect. It was also interesting that the main character was haunted by visions of Severine. It was a nice element that gave more to the story and I am still wondering if she was real or in Kate’s head.
I also wish that the small second hand accounts of the groups trip to France were done in actual flash backs. I think it would have made this story that much better and added more dimension to a rather flat read and it would have added to the build up and thrill. As it was it just felt like their trip was an after thought when it was meant to be one of the main ideas of the story.
Overall, solid work for a debut book and I think many people will enjoy this thriller. I just happen to be one of those thriller readers that can’t stand a slow burn. I recommend this for any thriller fans out there especially those who like a slower story line to really let the mystery linger.