Tuesday 12 April 2022

Nobody But Us by Laure Van Rensburg #NobodyButUs @Laure0901 @MichaelJBooks @JenRHarlow #BookReview


Steven Harding is a handsome, well-respected professor.

Ellie Masterson is a wide-eyed young college student.

Together, they are driving south from New York, for their first holiday: three days in an isolated cabin, far from the city.

Ahead of them, the promise of long, dark nights - and the chance to explore one another's bodies, away from disapproving eyes.

It should be a perfect, romantic trip for two.



Nobody But Us by Laure Van Rensburg is published on 14 April 2022 by Michael Joseph. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

Wow! Nobody But Us has one of the most enrapturing prologues that I've read in a long tome. It's raw, violent, visceral and unrelenting. If this prologue doesn't make you want to carry on reading, then nothing will. It sets a scene for the following pages, where we meet Ellie and Steven as they prepare to set off for a weekend away in an isolated house in the forest. 

Ellie is a young student. Steven is a college professor. They've been in a relationship for six months and this weekend will be a celebration of their time together. A chance to discover each other where no one else can see.  We already know that the weekend is not going to end well, we just don't know who the blood will belong to, or why.

The marketing blurb for this book asks us to meet '2022's most toxic couple', and this pair surely are two very messed up individuals. I can assure you that you will hate Steven, with his pretentious airs and his patronising way of treating Ellie. He's a man who is used to having things his own way, a taker. Whilst he considers himself to be generous, he gives nothing without expecting a lot in return. Ellie is,  at first glance, a shy and demure young woman who is obviously in thrall to Steven. She's young and easily manipulated; agreeing to wear the clothes that he buys for her, smiling and complying with all that he does. 

However, both Steven and Ellie are not who they want people to think they are, and as the story unfolds, the horror of the situation intensifies. 

The author's writing is beautifully poetic at times, yet is often brutal too. Her ability to create the eeriness and isolation of the house in the forest, coupled with the snow storm that rages outside adds a tension and feeling of anticipation that heightens towards the shocking and revelatory ending. 

This is not just a mystery about two people who are pretending, this is a savage, yet compelling look at historic sexual predatory and the effects that has on the victims. Steven is a damaged man, with an intense but totally dysfunctional family history and his behaviour over the years has been damaging. Here is a man who creates a facade of respectability whilst living a life that degrades others. 

Ellie is a woman who has been hurt beyond repair, who has spent the last years plotting how she will try to make a terrible wrong right. She's the cleverest one of the two, hiding behind her downcast eyes and her fluttering eyelashes, whilst harbouring the most intense of desires. 

Sharp and precise, beautifully written. This is a novel that consumed me, that I was loathe to set aside, yet which also horrified me at the same time. Highly recommended by me.

Laure Van Rensburg is a French writer living in the UK and an Ink Academy alumna. 

Her stories have appeared in online magazines and anthologies such as Litro Magazine, Storgy Magazine, The Real Jazz Baby (2020 Best Anthology, Saboteur Awards 2020), and FIVE:2:ONE. 

She has also placed in competitions including 2018 & 2019 Bath Short Story Award.


Instagram @laurevanrensburg

Author Page on Facebook

Twitter @Laure0901

No comments:

Post a Comment