Monday, 22 February 2021

#BlogTour The Scarlet Dress by Louise Douglas


 It's my turn on the BlogTour The Scarlet Dress by Louise Douglas.

About the Author

Louise Douglas is the bestselling and brilliantly reviewed author of novels including The House By The Sea and Missing You - a RNA award winner. The Secrets Between Us was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick. She lives in the West Country. Click here to join the Louise Douglas newsletter

Follow @louisedouglas3 on Twitteron Facebook, on Goodreads, on Instagram, BookBub, Buy The Scarlet Dress

About the book

Alice Lang was wearing her favourite scarlet dress when she disappeared twenty-five years ago, and her memory still casts a long shadow.

'The past was like water. Once the tide turned, you couldn't hold it back.'

In the long, hot summer of 1995, twenty-two-year-old Alice Lang rents a caravan on a holiday park on the outskirts of the lively holiday resort of Severn Sands. She befriends Marnie, a shy, damaged little girl whose father is the park's caretaker and whose mother died a few months earlier. Will, whose mother runs the bar, falls in love with Alice, and is unbearably jealous of anyone else she sees. Tensions rise until one evening Alice disappears from her caravan. She's never seen again, and only her scarlet dress is found washed up on the shore.

A quarter of a century later, the town is run down and nobody comes there anymore. Mr and Mrs deVillars, former owners of the holiday park, have passed the failing business onto their son Guy, who promptly sells the land for development. Builders clearing the land to create an expanse of executive homes uncover human bones. It has to be Alice.

Will and Marnie’s lives were entirely shaped by what happened that summer, and now Alice has been found, they must struggle to pin down their memories, to escape the secrets of the past, the lies they told and the unbearable guilt they're both carrying.

They need to find out what happened to Alice. Who killed her? And why?

Review

Marnie remembers Alice. The beautiful young woman who showed her kindness and attention as a child. To a grieving girl it was an important connection she never forgot, but perhaps more so because Alice disappeared one day without a trace or a goodbye.

Now a quarter of a century later it looks as though Alice has finally returned to say her final goodbyes and in doing so makes ripples in the community - the kind of ripples that leave irreparable damage.

I did feel as if the vibe and voice of the story was consistent until the last chapter or so. It goes from a well-paced atmospheric mystery come domestic and psychological thriller to trying to fill in the gaps and explain the reasoning of the characters. It didn't gel with the rest of the book, which was a gripping read.

The author clearly has a talent for storytelling and writing characters with plenty of depth - I think it's just a case of trusting your gut and going full circle, as opposed to pulling up short.

I especially enjoyed the character of Marnie and her inability to express her emotions and words. The way she cocoons herself from the world, due to grief and neglect, and in doing so is grossly misunderstood  and overlooked as a person.

Based on this story I would definitely return for more. There is connection between word, place, person and narrative, which isn't a technical skill per se, but rather one of talent. Trust it.

Buy The Scarlet Dress at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Boldwood Books pub date 18 Feb. 2021. Buy at Amazon com. Hive. Waterstones.

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