Thursday 10 April 2014

Precious Thing by Colette McBeth

Remember the person you sat next to on your first day at school? 
Still your best friend? 
Or disappeared from your life for good? 
Some friendships fizzle out. 
Rachel and Clara promised theirs would last for ever. 
They met when Rachel was the new girl in class and Clara was the friend everyone wanted. Now in their late twenties Rachel has everything while Clara's life is spiralling further out of control. Then Clara vanishes. 
Imagine discovering something about your oldest friend that forces you to question everything you've shared together. 
The truth is always there. But only if you choose to see it.

Precious Thing by Colette McBeth is published in paperback today April 10 2014 by Headline Review.

It's really difficult to talk about the plot of Precious Thing without giving anything away, and to give away some of the most important parts of the story would be to spoil it completely for other readers - I can't do that, so I won't.

Lets say this is a story about two women; Clara and Rachel met at school and their friendship continued through the years. Clara has disappeared, and Rachel is worried.  Her worry changes over the course of the story, as she begins to learn more and more things about her friend. Things that surprise her, that shock her, that disappoint her - things that will change her life.

Other the years, Clara and Rachel have changed. At school, Clara was the girl that everyone wanted to be friends with, Rachel was the new girl - overweight with ginger hair and usually shunned by most people. As adults their roles are reversed. Rachel is a sucessful TV news presenter whilst Clara's life spiralled out of control some years ago.

Precious Thing is written in the form of a letter from Rachel to Clara, and it is clear that Rachel is speaking after the events, this is not a running commentary relayed as things happen. I must admit that at times I found Rachel's 'voice' quite difficult, and the style can be a little confusing at times. However, this does not detract from the fact that Precious Thing is a chilling read and despite my initial struggle with the writing style, I was soon drawn into what becomes a tense and intriguing story.

Most women will have suffered at some time at the hands of their friends, most women will have made their friends suffer - it seems to be what women do. We make friends, we share our innermost thoughts and our dreams with a person, we become close, and then sometimes that closeness becomes a weapon. Precious Thing is a portrayal of a friendship that was based upon jealousy. The author expertly dissects the personalities of Rachel and Clara, but despite this, the reader still questions the reliability of Rachel as the narrator.

Precious Thing is a clever story, and although there were times when I wanted to move Rachel along, away from her almost melodramatic thoughts, the sense of danger and  possible manipulation of the reader outweighs those feelings.

My thanks to Sam Eades at Headline who sent my copy for review through BookBridgr

Colette McBeth was a reporter for ten years working for One O'clock, Six O'clock and Ten O'clock news - covering cases such as the Suffolk Strangler and the murder of Billie-Jo Margaret Jenkins.  
Colette featured on the 2013 The Red List Hot 100, released by the The Red Pages - a list which sets out to predict up and coming names in the world of fashion, music, TV, film, politics, sport and society. She is also a graduate of the hitmaking Faber Academy. She studied the How To Write A Novel course under the tutorage of Richard Skinner.

Her new novel THE LIFE I LEFT BEHIND is published in hardback in August.

More information can be found at
On Facebook and Twitter @colettemcbeth

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