Wednesday 2 November 2022

Auld Acquaintance by Sofia Slater #AuldAcquaintance @_SwiftPress #BookReview #SofiaSlater


Should auld acquaintance be forgot

And never brought to mind?

Millie Partridge desperately needs a party. So, when her (handsome and charming) ex-colleague Nick invites her to a Hebridean Island for New Year’s Eve, she books her ticket North.

But things go wrong the moment the ferry drops her off. The stately home is more down at heel than Downton Abbey. Nick hasn’t arrived yet. And the other revellers? Politely, they aren’t exactly who she would have pictured Nick would be friends with.

Worse still, an old acquaintance from Millie’s past has been invited, too. Penny Maybury. Millie and Nick’s old colleague. Somebody Millie would rather have forgotten about. Somebody, in fact, that Millie has been trying very hard to forget.

Waking up on New Year’s Eve, Penny is missing. A tragic accident? Or something more sinister? With a storm washing in from the Atlantic, nobody will be able reach the group before they find out.

One thing is for sure – they’re going to see in the new year with a bang.

Auld Acquaintance by Sofia Slater is published on 3 November 2022 by Swift Press. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

This is a pretty good debut novel from Sofia Slater, it's an entertaining romp made up of a cast of pretty vile characters and set on a remote Hebridean island. There are lots of locked-room type mysteries about at the moment, and I think it's pretty brave for a debut author to take a chance on such a crowded market. She does it well, but there could certainly be improvements in style and in the depth of the story. 

Millie is excited to receive an out-of-the-blue invitation from ex-colleague Nick. She's invited to join a New Year's Eve party on a remote island, and whilst it is a long way to travel, she's always had a soft spot for Nick. Maybe this could be the start of a new relationship?

Millie meets three of the other guests whilst travelling on the ferry, yet there's no sign of Nick. Nor is he at the house when they arrive. The only people there to greet them are a very odd housekeeper and a disgruntled man who claims that he'd booked the house too, oh and another guest - a person who Millie didn't expect to see, and really never wanted to see again. 

Nick doesn't appear. The weather gets worse and then people die. There's an apparent suicide, a sudden heart attack and a couple of vicious attacks, but Millie and the remaining guests just seem to take this in their stride. It's all a little rushed and there's not a lot of explanation, no terror and a lack of atmosphere at times. The worsening weather could have been such a big part of the story, but I didn't find that it was used to full effect at all. 

I would certainly read more from the author, there's a lot of potential here and the novel kept me entertained over a few days. I read a lot of crime and thriller books so have a lot to compare this too, it's not a bad book by any means, but I would have loved more depth of character and sense of place. 

Sofia Slater was raised in the American West, and lived in France, Scotland and Oxford before settling in London. 

She holds degrees in philosophy and languages from Smith College and UCL. 

As well as writing fiction, she translates from French and Spanish. 

Auld Acquaintance is her debut novel.

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