Thursday 20 June 2024

The Final Act of Juliette Willoughby by Ellery Lloyd BLOG TOUR #TheFinalActofJulietteWilloughby @ElleryLloyd @panmacmillan @RandomTTours #BookReview


Some women can’t be erased from history . . .

A story of love and madness, of obsession and revenge.

Paris, 1938: Runaway heiress Juliette Willoughby perishes, with her married lover, in an accidental studio fire alongside her Surrealist masterpiece, Self-Portrait as Sphinx.

Cambridge, 1991: Two art history students stumble across proof something sinister was at play in Juliette's death, threatening to expose the long-buried secrets of the artist's aristocratic family.

Dubai, now: An art dealer is accused of the brutal murder of his oldest friend – the last surviving member of the Willoughby dynasty.

Three suspicious deaths over the course of a century.

Is the key to unlocking them all hidden in Juliette Willoughby’s lost painting?

From the author of The Club, a Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick, The Final Act of Juliette Willoughby is Ellery Lloyd's compulsive multiple - timeline mystery – a story of love and madness, of obsession and revenge.

The Final Act of Juliette Willoughby by Ellery Lloyd is published in hardback today, 20 June 2024. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review, as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour

A book that really has it all. If you are a fan of historical fiction, combined with mystery and domestic noir, then this is the novel for you. The Final Act of Juliette Willoughby has raced into my list of best books of the year. It was intriguing, perfectly plotted and populated with a cast of characters who are beautifully created and wonderfully formed. 

Told over three timelines, and with multiple points of view, the authors have done a fabulous job of interweaving the various eras. The main focus of the story is on Juliette Willoughby; a young artist who died in a fire in the 1930s, along with her lover; another famous artist. Juliette was estranged from her wealthy family, leaving home to spend her life alongside her lover Oskar.

The second timeline features Caroline Cooper and Patrick Lambert; art history students at Cambridge University in the early nineties. Caroline and Patrick team up and decide that their dissertation will be about Juliette Willoughby and her famous missing painting 'Self Portrait of a Sphinx', believed lost in the fire that took her life. Caroline and Patrick are introduced to art mentor Alice Long, a mysterious woman who enables them to find out much more than they ever believed to be possible about Juliette. 

And, the present day, in an art gallery in Dubai, where that famous painting is about to be displayed. Discovered once, and then discovered again, how on earth has the painting survived, and why do there seem to be two copies? Are they genuine? Somebody knows the truth, and Caroline and Patrick, once married, but now divorced, feel threatened by events that they cannot control. 

This novel is so rich, filled with a real sense of place and era. The authors seamlessly go from era to era, from location to location with no effort at all. The characters are carefully drawn and the mystery at the heart of the plot stays central throughout. Unusually for a multiple time zone novel, I liked every part equally, all are believable, all are gripping and every single page made me want to read more and more. 

This is a stunning, absolutely enthralling book. It is a complex, multi layered examination of families and friendships. There's menace, ambition, betrayals and dark dark secrets. Highly recommended. 

Ellery Lloyd is the pseudonym for London- based husband-and-wife writing team Collette Lyons and Paul Vlitos.

Collette is a journalist and editor, former content director of ELLE UK and editorial director at Soho House. She has written for The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Times.

Paul is the author of two previous novels, Welcome to the Working Week and Every Day Is Like Sunday. He is the programme director for English literature with creative writing at the University of Surrey.

X @ElleryLloyd

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