By Jaclyn Goldis
Publication Date: May 23, 2023
Darcy and her three best friends have been invited to Darcy’s grandmother Séraphine’s chateau in Provence. Although they see each other regularly, the last time they were at the chateau they were in college, 20 years prior. It may seem odd that Séraphine has called them all together to celebrate Jade’s 40th birthday rather than her granddaughter’s, but the friends are all too happy to spend time in the gorgeous countryside.
Each woman comes packed with her own secrets and reasons for wanting to make this particular trip, and Séraphine promises to reveal secrets and right wrongs after the birthday celebration. But the night of the party, Séraphine is murdered in her bed. Who killed her and why? With no real evidence, the women begin to suspect each other when more attacks occur and a mysterious Instagrammer begins stalking them. As their secrets come out, the women begin to wonder if they knew their friends at all. But which one of them has a secret worth killing for?
There’s a reason I love thrillers that feature women of a certain age (i.e., at least in their forties). By that age, most women have lived enough to garner at least one or two secrets they want to protect, or have made regrettable mistakes they’d rather keep hidden. In new adult thrillers, the suspense and drama seems to happen to the women. In thrillers like this one, the characters are driving the suspense and action. And I love it because they have so much more to lose. Families, children, careers they’ve struggled to build, wealth. Take your pick. There’s always something a character refuses to let go of.
Each of these women are tied to Séraphine in different ways and secrets spanning from the 1940s drive most of the plot lines in this book. I suspected one woman after another, with a brief interlude thinking the groundskeeper must be the murderer, my opinion changing as each plot twist was revealed. In hindsight, the murderer wasn’t that difficult to figure out (I say this after having read it, I was never honestly sure who did it until the reveal) but the why of it I never would have guessed.
The setting is gorgeous with the chateau situated close to St. Remy. I studied abroad for a year in Provence and I visited St. Remy and many of the other places mentioned in the book. By the time I was halfway through, I had a very serious case of both location and food jealousy.
In her author’s note, the author mentions this is her first thriller and I have to applaud her for a job well done. It’s one of the better ones I’ve read in quite awhile.
Final rating: 4.25 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐+
Thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books for providing the ARC ebook. I’ve left my review honestly and voluntarily.
Until next time, thank you for visiting.