A Perfect Escape
When struggling influencer couple Adele and Jack post a crowdfunding video online, they're amazed by a mysterious benefactor's offer: to buy them an idyllic 17th century French château. It’s the lifeline they need to leave all their troubles behind – and patch up their relationship after a rocky period.
A Hostile Town
For Adele, it’s a dream come true. She will post videos from the fairytale setting, renovating the grand building as thousands of online subscribers follow their journey. But the château is not all it seems, and the local community is far from welcoming.
A Search For The Truth
Suddenly, Adele stops uploading. The videos stop, her feeds go silent. Her sister Erin travels to France to make sure she's okay, but the couple have vanished. Erin is determined to find them, but is disturbed by Adele's obsessive fans, the unsettling history of the château and the claustrophobic secrecy of the nearby town. And first, she must unravel the shocking truth: why did that anonymous investor gift Adele and Jack their dream home?
The Escape was my first read by author Ruth Kelly (at least I think so, she is a prolific ghost writer!) and I knew from the first few pages that I would be in good hands. The Escape tells the story of Erin whose sister has disappeared shortly after moving to her dream-home: a fairytale castle in France. However, there are lots of questions to be answered - such as how has she managed to afford to live there, why has she stopped her regular vlogging and where are her and her husband now?
The book jumps between two main perspectives – Erin in the present on her quest to find her sister and sister Adele in flashback telling how she moved to France and her discoveries in her dream home. This is also intercut with Sky News transcripts which are happening in the present day and this worked to drip-feed information and keep the tension high. I found myself immersed in both timelines; the plot is perfectly paced to keep you hooked and I finished it in just a few sittings.
A lot of Adele’s chapters are written as transcripts from her Vlogs as she is a social media influencer, which also includes ‘stage directions’ in bold. I thought this really worked well and was an interesting mechanic. The book in general shows the darker side to social media and the price of opening up your personal life to be an Influencer which I thought was well integrated into the plot.
The plot itself took a turn into a place that I was very much not expecting (no spoilers!), but it was an interesting twist. Although the ending ties up the main story, there is a bit of a cliff-hanger and potential for some of the characters to work together on solving the over-arching threat that is introduced in this book. I will certainly keep an eye out for more books by this author and would be very interested to hear more about the characters of this book as well!
Overall, The Escape is a perfectly paced and gripping read – highly recommended. Thank you to NetGalley & Pan Macmillan for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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