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Exquisite

Published Date: 26th January 2017

Available in

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EBook
978-1-910633-75-5
£5.99
1 June 2017
Paperback
978-1-910633-74-8
£8.99
1 June 2017
Audiobook
Coming soon

Description

Bo Luxton has it all – a loving family, a beautiful home in the Lake District, and a clutch of bestselling books to her name.

Enter Alice Dark, an aspiring writer who is drifting through life, with a series of dead-end jobs and a freeloading boyfriend.

When they meet at a writers’ retreat, the chemistry is instant, and a sinister relationship develops…

Or does it?

Breathlessly pacey, taut and terrifying, Exquisite is a startlingly original and unbalancing psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the very last page.

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‘A perfect literary thriller. A moving, gripping story told in beautiful prose. The twists keep coming until the very last page. I loved this book’ Erin Kelly

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‘Whip-smart, lushly written and truly page-turning. I loved Exquisite, from the misleading simplicity of the premise and right down through all the dark depths of the she said/she said narrative. Sarah Stovell is a thrilling talent’ Holly Seddon

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Exquisite is a powerful and assured debut thriller. Slickly claustrophobic and delicately wrought this arch story of obsessive forbidden love taken to the extreme will have you squirming in your seat even as you’re driven to turn the next page. A must-read for 2017’ Sarah Pinborough

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‘Sarah Stovell writes beautifully. In her latest novel she combines that skill with a thrilling dramatic narrative. Exquisite in every way’ Essie Fox

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‘Beautifully written and perfectly twisted, I was sucked deeply into the intertwined worlds of Alice and Bo and found myself reading through my fingers, compelled yet terrified at what the outcome might be … And that ending. Just wow. There could not be a better title for this book’ S J I Holliday

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I bloody loved it. So clever, so beautifully written, such brilliant characterisation and THAT ENDING! This book is going to be MASSIVE! It has all the special little things that make it stand out from other psychological thrillers and it had my tummy in knots. I’m going to be shouting about this one for a long time. Definitely in my top reads for 2017’ Lisa Hall

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‘Addictive, terrifying and beautifully written, Exquisite is up there with the best psychological thrillers I’ve ever read. Fucking awesome’ Chris Whittaker

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‘Beautifully written, atmospheric and sexy, Exquisite is a satisfying psychological thriller with real class’ Cass Green 

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‘Alice, a charismatic young woman with a chaotic personal life, signs up for a writing workshop with Bo, an established novelist and married mother of two. There’s an instant connection between them — but is it literary, romantic or just fantasy? Passions flare and curdle, and the reader’s sympathies are kept on a knife-edge as Stovell skilfully juggles two unreliable narrators. It’s a remarkable debut in the crowded psychological thriller field, written with great sureness of touch and tone — it already feels like a summer bestseller.’ Exquisite is selected as a STAR PICK in The TIMES CRIME CLUB

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‘In Stovell’s novel, the pair alternate as narrators, taking turns to describe the series of events that follow their first meeting at a writers’ retreat. One is manipulating the other but which is it? Cunningly constructed and gorgeously written, this is outstanding.’ Exquisite is recommended in The Express

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EXQUISITE is one of those rare books where you ‘think’ you have a handle on what’s going on, but it RIPS the carpet from under you! Always one step ahead, this intriguing tale of obsession, stalking and violence never lets up from the get-go; there’s dark characters, sublime plotting, with a brutal sting in the tale.. What’s more, like NOTES ON A SCANDAL, another modern classic, the entire story is terrifyingly plausible. I devoured this book in just a few hours. Recommended most highly! READ IT!’ L V Hay

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‘Both of the main protagonists are completely unhinged. It is terrific fun.’ Exquisite is recommended on RTE Radio One

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‘Sarah Stovell’s Exquisite is a dark, sensual and twisted character study, rife with murky motivations and sinister revelations … Snappy dialogue and minimal scene settings sets off the prose, allowing the story to focus on characterization, al of which lends a voyeuristic thrill … Exquisite is an engrossing story about two troubled people who connect despite having every reason not to. Tensions mount, making it hard to put down.’ Foreword Reviews

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‘I just read it too. MIND-BLOWINGLY GOOD. Congratulations.’ Julie Burchill

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‘When two writers – one successful, the other aspiring – meet at  retreat, the chemistry is instant. A sinister relationship develops. Or does it? Exquisite was recommended as a ‘quirky quest’ in Grazia Magazine.

 

‘Passions flare and curdle, and the reader’s sympathies are kept on a knife-edge as Stovell skilfully juggles two unreliable narrators. It’s a remarkable debut in the crowded psychological thriller field, written with great sureness of touch and tone — it already feels like a summer bestseller’ Sunday Times

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‘Kept me reading long into the night … a majestic debut and utterly compelling’ James MacManus, TLS

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‘The instant chemistry between drifter Alice and famour author Bo develops into an intense but toxic relationship. The characters are untrustworthy so you won’t know what to believe. But you won’t be able to put the book down until you find out. A superb debut’ Sunday People

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‘Excerpts continue throughout the book, ratchetting up suspense – but which woman is incarcerated? And what was her crime? An alarming novel: infuriating at times, appalling, even frightening, and always a page-turner’ Shots Mag

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‘Beautifully written, gripping and utterly believable, Exquisite is truly a piece you want to both savour and find out how it ends. A must-read … one of my favourite novels of 2017 so far; I absolutely recommend you pick this one up – but set aside a few hours because you will lose yourself in it!’ Crime Review

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When drifter Alice meets author Bo, an instant chemistry develops, leading to a relationship as toxic as it’s intense. The characters are so untrustworthy you wont know what to believe, but you won’t put it down till you’ve found out. A superb debut’

Sunday Mirror

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Sarah Stovell is invited to talk about Exquisite on Radio Gorgeous with Donna Freed as Exquisite is recommended on Gorgeous Reads

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‘Really enjoyed #Exquisite by Sarah Stovell. I’m a complete sucker for books about the destructive power of obsession. Congrats.’ Tammy Cohen

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Sarah took part in a Q & A with The Lady magazine to talk about ExquisiteThe Lady

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Exquisite has been called a perfect literary thriller, but do not allow that to put you off, as it is so much better; this is a psychological thriller that will simply blow your mind. Exquisite really is an exquisite read, a smart and well-written thriller that keeps you turning the pages all the way to the end, with twists you cannot see coming until you have read them. It is hard to believe that this is a debut book from Sarah Stovell; it is a piece of work that belies that fact. This really is a winner, winner, chicken dinner! … This is a book that will leave the reader breathless, terrified and aghast at what two women really can do.’ Nudge Book Magazine

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‘As the plot becomes more complex, the chapters get shorter and shorter, so it’s extremely difficult to put the book down (and that’s definitely not a bad thing). We’re invited to see both women’s perspectives on their strange and turbulent relationship, making it even more captivating. If you’re looking for a new and exciting psychological thriller that’s packed with unexpected twists, Exquisite won’t disappoint.’ Culture Fly

Author

Sarah Stovell was born in 1977 and spent most of her life in the Home Counties before a season working in a remote North Yorkshire youth hostel made her realise she was a northerner at heart. She now lives in Northumberland with her partner and two children and is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Lincoln University. Her debut psychological thriller, Exquisite, is set in the Lake District.

Online Reviews

‘The best novel about obsession that I have read in a decade. Beautiful, beautiful writing with two extraordinarily divisive characters. I’m book hungover … pure brilliance. Exquisite is going to be HUGE’ Liz Loves Books

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‘A highly addictive, sophisticated and very twisted psychological thriller. The reader is exposed to the workings of the darkest of minds, and each page presents a question, although the answers are not always apparent. The development of the intense and, at times, very disturbing relationship that grows between Bo and Alice is so finely done, with some spectacular characterisation and surprising twists. Sarah Stovell is hugely talented, and Exquisite is an absolute triumph’

Random Things through My Letterbox

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‘Beautifully written prose put me right inside the heads of these two unreliable narrators … the tension gradually escalated until these two intelligent women became pitted against one another, with more than a hint of Fatal Attraction. I found it very difficult to know who to believe, who was telling the truth and who was telling lies. This unforgettable, outstanding psychological thriller should be on everyone’s ‘to buy’ list!’ Off-the-Shelf Books

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‘Fatal Attraction meets psychological thriller in this unputdownable, sexy, taut novel. A twisty-turny story of obsession and love, EXQUISITE traces the increasingly twisted relationship between a bestselling author and a young aspiring author. I’m not usually one for romance in my thrillers, but Stovell has infused her book with just the right amount of chemistry and tension between her lead characters—just enough to enhance the story without overpowering the darkness at its core. Exquisite is chosen on Crime By the Book’s 2017 summer reading list!’ Crime By The Book

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‘Start this book and you won’t rest until it is finished. Talk about psychological thriller!! It’s everything you could dream of in a thriller and then some … The stunning narrative combined with these incredible characters and a  geniously clever premise that is delivered to perfection will B.L.O.W Y.O.U.R M.I.N.D … This author is definately one to watch, her writing is. ‘ exquisite’ and I think her voice is so unique, she breaks with some of the traditional ‘ rules’ of writing and proves that rule are meant to be broken as the results are enthralling.’ If In Doubt Read

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‘I did love this book. Like a thin shard of glass, Exquisite punctures the heart and the shard first warms and then freezes until, like glass, the heart shatters … This is exquisite love and exquisite pain. The two are seemingly inextricably linked.  With pace, heaps of tension, and an ending which leaves you questioning everything, this dual first person narrative is a massive contender for psychological thriller of the year.’ Live and Deadly

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Exquisite is a perfectly suited title of a book of such lush lyrical prose with themes of obsession, manipulation, and all-consuming passion. With gorgeous descriptions of one of my favourite places in the world – The Lake District – and strong, believable narrative, Exquisite has proved itself more than worthy of being among the best psychological thrillers I have read in some time. Debut author, Sarah Stovell, is definitely one to watch.’ Boofs Books

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‘This is a very tense and beautifully crafted psychological thriller which keeps the reader captivated until the final page.  Each chapter, whether it was Bo’s or Alice’s narrative, kept me gripped and holding my breath.  I absolutely adored this book and wish it every success it deserves and highly recommend it to all lovers of intelligent psychological thrillers.’ Compulsive Readers

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‘Throughout the story, the reader knows that something serious will happen, that is clear from the address of one of the narratives, however, it is not until almost the very end that we can be sure of the reliability of the narrators …… or can we? Exquisite deserves to be huge in 2017, it is quite extraordinary. At times uncomfortable, often shocking, but always compelling.  Sarah Stovell is hugely talented, Exquisite is an absolute triumph.’ Random Things

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‘Stovell’s psychological debut is absolutely brilliant and is a shining star. I quite honestly have never before read such a thrilling and nerve-shredding read.  I have a feeling this one is going to be one of the most talked about books this year. A must read and one you won’t be able to put down.’ Tracy Shephard

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‘I was shaken to the core by the disturbing but fascinating characters and the ferocity of the emotions coming in waves through my body. I lost myself in this book, and I won one of the best reading experiences I have ever had. In her stunning debut, Sarah Stovell’s grandiose prose tells a tale of the scars of love. Exquisite is chillingly brilliant and absolutely riveting.’

ChocolateNWaffles

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‘Sarah Stovell has written a dark and powerful psychological thriller which will send your brain into a tailspin.  Long after I finished the book I’m still thinking about it and trying to process what I’ve read … The writing is just wonderful and the characterisation is superb – my allegiances shifting with each chapter reveal. This is one book that you will not forget in a hurry.’ My Reading Corner

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‘Absolutely brilliant psychological suspense that blends a touch of Fatal Attraction with a thriller set in the literary world.’ Exquisite was selected as Crime by the Book’s favourite Read of the Month

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‘It kept me reading, I couldn’t be distracted from it and the characters got under my skin … It was clever and ambiguous, but not so much so that it distracted you from the characters. I think this was an exquisite psychological thriller and I can’t wait to see what Stovell does next as I’m sure it will knock my socks off. I highly recommend this novel!’ Bibliomaniac

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‘I think it’s difficult to make a thriller genuinely sexy without seeming to try too hard or feel contrived – but Exquisite manages the perfect balance of a perfectly created fictional world and a realistic portrayal of an unsettling relationship. I loved this novel and I’ll be recommending it to everyone who likes their novels unpredictable, sexy and with a hidden sting in the tail.On The Shelf Books 

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‘What’s most interesting about this is the point where the alleged affair begins and we get both takes on it; who’s leaving details out? Who’s exaggerating? As the pace ramps up, Stovell alternates between Bo and Alice as we discover who’s lying and who’s the smarter of the two … Exquisite is a cracking debut. An interesting premise, well-structured with some sharp writing and a gripping plot.’ The Writes of Women

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‘Exquisite is so skilfully written, I was completely, utterly absorbed and was dying to know what was really going on. Relationships, passion, love, and writing are all prevalent themes. It’s interesting that the language is very descriptive at times and really evokes what the characters are experiencing – very powerfully – but also addresses such everyday tasks and incidences … A great novel I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.’ Snazzy Books

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‘It’s very hard to discuss Exquisite without giving away anything in terms of the plot. There is no denying Sarah Stovell is a superb writer. The prose and cadence in Exquisite is beautiful. Even the mundane is made exceptional, and that’s all down to how well the author writes. If you enjoy clever domestic noir, then Exquisite is the book for you. Compelling, menacing and fraught with tension, definitely one to add to your list!’ Bibliophile Book Club

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‘Clever intelligent plotting, a wonderful use of language to subtly engage the senses of the reader, with a strong emotional core that just stays with you for days and days after finishing it, Exquisite is the best novel about obsession I have read in forever. It is certainly the best psychological thriller I have seen emerge from the crowd in the last few years – A shoe in for my top ten this year and a definite chance at the top spot, Simply Gorgeous!’ Liz Loves Books

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‘I absolutely loved it. It’s disturbingly dark, full of tension, extremely compelling and so beautifully written and unique. I’m not going to say anything else for fear of spoiling anything for anyone but what I will say is that I think that Exquisite is an absolute must read book for fans of psychological thrillers and I can’t recommend it highly enough!’ The Haphazardous Hippo

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‘There is no doubt that the writing is very strong, the descriptive narrative is brilliant, truly setting the scene and putting the reader into the heart of both Brighton and the Lake District where the book is primarily set. And the way in which Stovell captures the obsessiveness of the relationship between Bo and Alice is really effective, as is her knack for creating a sense of foreboding.’

 Jen Med’s Book Reviews

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‘The pace of the book constantly draws you in and takes you along … At one point, Alice describes Bo as an ‘enigma’ but I think that actually, that word can be applied to the whole book. This is a book which involves you totally when you are reading it. It knocks you off balance and you never quite feel confident throughout.’ Books Life & Everything

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‘This is THE book to read in 2017 if you enjoy psychological thrillers. READ THE BOOK. GO IN BLIND. THANK ME LATER.’  The Suspense is Thrilling me

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EXQUISITE by Sarah Stovell is simply superb. Compelling, dark, and terrifyingly intense, this novel wraps its psychological tendons around you from the beginning and doesn’t release you until the very end … Edgy, atmospheric, and gripping, EXQUISITE by Sarah Stovell will keep you hooked and give you chills – and the ending is scarily perfect! EXQUISITE by Sarah Stovell should not be missed and I highly recommend it.’ Books of all kinds

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‘Never before has a book been so perfectly titled, the writing, the plotting, the characterisation, the setting are all utterly exquisite.  There is a raw intensity in this book that is so thought provoking and continuously challenges the reader.  I absolutely loved this book and devoured it in a day, it’s always a good sign with me when I cannot bear to put a book down … I have no doubt that this book will feature heavily in the top books of 2017  with many readers, and it absolutely deserves to!  A truly magnificent debut from a promising author, and quite possibly one of the finest thrillers I’ve read this year!’ The Quiet Knitter

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‘The lyrical prose is what takes this novel from run of the mill to something that is for want of a better word, exquisite.  Stovell has eloquently created a book that is dark and atmospheric with sinister undertones throughout.  I highly recommend this to fans of psychological thriller and domestic noir.’ Feminisia Libros Reviews

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‘Insidious would be a better way to describe this story, as opposed to exquisite. It creeps up on you like a sea roke appearing along the coast … I really enjoyed the viciousness of the plot. It is ruthless and perhaps a tad too realistic, if you know what I mean. Brilliant read, Stovell is definitely one to watch.’ Cheryll MM’s Book Reviews

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‘The story is narrated first by one woman, then the other and at the outset it seemed as though I was reading the same chapters twice as events are told by Alice then Bo, until suddenly tiny discrepancies creep in and its grows clearer that one of these voices is somewhat unreliable …. and then the shit hits the fan … and the OMG moments become almost too much to bear! A stunning and immaculately fragmented tale of twisted perfection.’ Beady Jan’s Book Reviews

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‘This is a creepy, freaky and tense thrill of a read. I found I didn’t want to put it down and only did so when I really had to. The story is told by Bo and Alice in short chapters which helped me to race through it as I just needed to know how it all ended. And that ending, well yes, it certainly made me think. Exquisite is a perfect unreliable narrator story – who is telling the truth? The writing is stunning and the story is clever. Truly exquisite!’ Short Book and Scribes

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‘It is no surprise to me that this book is so brilliant. It has become so natural for Orenda Books to be synonymous with beautifully written, atmospheric, engaging and unique novels that it’s not so much an expectation, but a foregone conclusion that any novel released by Orenda will be exceptional to the point that you want to unread it and read it again with an unknowing mind. Exquisite is no exception.’ Segnalibro

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Exquisite, by Sarah Stovell, is a deliciously disturbing psychological thriller centring around two women … Beneath the beauty of the descriptions, the subtlety of the prose, an undercurrent of menace pervades every twist in the tale … A tightly constructed, beautifully written, impressively unsettling psychological thriller. For fans of the genre this is a must read.’ Never Imitate

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‘Everyone will be calling this book ‘exquisite‘. It’s a perfect title. But if anyone thinks that’s too cliched, here are a few of the other words and phrases that came to mind as I read it  – stunning, gorgeous, expertly crafted, superb, magnificent, breathtaking, breath-holding, skin-tingling, and highly memorable. Some of the best writing I’ve read all year. An unforgettable, outstanding book that should be on everyone’s ‘to buy’ list!’ Off-The-Shelf Books

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‘I won’t say that it’s Exquisite – that jokes been done – but it certainly is marvellous, and that is in no small part to the wonderful work of Karen Sullivan who has shaped so skillfully and been such a champion for the novel. The 5* reviews are flooding in thick and fast, and I’m sure more will follow. Foreign editions are also coming out in France, Germany and Sweden…’ Blake Friedmann

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Exquisite is a claustrophobic, tense and thrilling novel that will grab you on the first page and won’t let you go until long after you’ve read the last page. I was literally sitting stock still with the book in my hands for a good few minutes when I read the ending, and I’m still thinking about it now and mulling it over! I love when a book leaves me feeling like this!’ Rather too fond of books

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‘What a journey Exquisite has taken me on … I’M PETRIFIED!!! If ever there is a real life person such as Bo Luxton and you happen to cross her – get out, get away and stay clear of her. She is 100% evil … Well done Sarah Stovell for blowing my mind completely out of the water with a story that will stay with me for a verrrrrrry long time!’ Page Turners Nook

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Exquisite is the word I would use to describe this psychological thriller, in which via a beautiful prose we become captivated with these two characters, teacher and alumni, lovers… that on the end they are simply human and just want and need to be loved … I would love to read more about Alice and Bo’s story, will their paths cross again? Will they ever be able to be friends? So many questions but no answers… Take a breath and start reading Exquisite, it will surprise you!’ Varietats

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Exquisite is a twisty, breathless thriller blended seamlessly with a touch of Fatal Attraction-inspired romance-gone-wrong – a winning combination, executed brilliantly. Add in a bookish setting and you’ve got yourself the perfect escapist, addictive crime book to take on your next vacation … EXQUISITE is an on-trend psychological thriller that blends the best of its genre with a dash of tense, sexy infatuation to fantastic effect.’ Crime by the Book

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‘All in all, Exquisite is a largely satisfying psychological thriller with the influence of others in the genre looming large, but taking on an identity of its own. It is a disturbing tale of lies, jealousy and obsession, which will more than sate the reader of the current domestic noir crop, but definitely at the darker end of the spectrum. Recommended.’ Raven Crime Reads

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‘This is a rare book. The narrative is liquid and smooth, washing over you so easily that you don’t even notice the whole day is gone until you finish the book and the world has carried on without you … The descriptive nature of the book, set in the Lake District, is also a metaphor for Bo & Alice’s exquisitely beautiful and intense relationship. There are descriptive passages so beautiful, I re-read them multiple times.’ Bookish Lara

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‘Some very insightful beautifully written passages about the hurt felt when one person rejects another in a particularly nasty, narcissistic self-serving manner. Anyone who has been profoundly hurt by another in this way will no doubt identify. I went back to read some of the paragraphs again, amazed at the description of true hurt and the destruction of a personality by another. I felt like printing out a few passages and framing them. A compulsive hard to put down read.’ Mrs Bloggs Books

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‘I am seeing lots of love for Exquisite and I can understand why – it is a troubled love story, brilliantly constructed and the writing is top notch – plus Sarah Stovell has thrown in some nasty twists for her character … Exquisite – loads going for it and it will be loved by many (but I don’t think I am a typical representation of the target audience).’ Grab This Book

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‘This is genius, pure genius, Stovell has really made herself shine in a genre that is saturated with the same old style plots … I loved everything about this book, it has depth, characters that you love and hate and a plot that will leave you breathless, all that set against one of the most beautifully descriptive backdrops, you are in for an absolute treat – this is a complete MUST READ!!!!’

 Emma the little Bookworm

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‘It’s not fast paced but its written so wonderfully that it keeps you totally captivated, it’s intense and I found myself holding my breath and furiously turning pages until I got to the last few chapters, then I kept putting the book down. I’d go make a coffee, pick it up again, go let the dog out, pick it up again and so on, I just didn’t want it to end.’ It’s all about the books blog

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‘Stovell has such an impressive writing style, I was mesmerized by how polished, sophisticated and smart it was. This was an intoxicating read about obsession with a darkly sexy, seductive feel that left me reeling. It was one of those books where you flip back to the prologue just to reread it now knowing what you do, things all fall into place and then you want to read the whole book again. If you like psychological thrillers this is a must read.’ Novel Gossip

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‘This has to be one of the best psychological thrillers I have read this year. I was on edge the entire time I was reading it and I got that little pain in my neck that I always get when my blood pressure is raised! … Exquisite is a perfectly named book and a must read for lovers of dark psychological fiction. Buy, enjoy and reflect-it’s as easy as that!’ My Chestnut Reading Tree

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Exquisite is a very competent debut from Sarah Stovell that highlights some very strong themes ~ obsession, narcissism, and manipulation. I do think it would work very successfullly on the big screen. The sizzling chemistry between Alice and Bo is palpable off the pages with very astute descriptions and characterisations. I have no doubt Exquisite will be a book that will be among the top recommendations for many this year.’ Swirl and Thread

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Exquisite is a well-constructed psychological novel with flawed but believable characters. There’s never any sense of being short-changed; I found myself devouring Stovell’s intriguing, incisive prose in a couple of sittings. It’s a compelling debut thriller from a creative writing lecturer who has obviously put her own teaching to good use.’ Claire Thinking

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‘It is just one of those books where one word too much could ruin it for a reader. The chapters are short but don’t think for a minute that any one would be a good place to stop because that won’t happen until the end.  Sarah Stovell was like a gardener that had planted seeds in my mind and left me to weed out between the truth and the lies. A superb book.’ Books from Dusk til Dawn

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‘The characters are fascinating, the scenery gorgeous, and the sense of something slightly off becomes more and more unsettling as the novel continues to grow. Shifting viewpoints tell each side of the story and gradually unravel the truth. Or do they? The concept of the unreliable narrator is familiar (and great fun), but having two people tell the same events with their own slant on what happens is unusual. It works remarkably well.’ Espresso Coco

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‘Tension mounts throughout as an unease and sense of foreboding falls on to every page. Exquisite is also beautifully written with wonderful prose and a real sense of place. The writing about the Lake District was particularly good. Short, sharp chapters help to keep the pace of the story moving and as the main protagonists are both unreliable narrators makes this book so special.’ Reflections of a Reader

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‘This review could be summed up in one sentence: Exquisite by name, exquisite in content and execution.  I really cannot believe that this is the author’s debut psychological thriller as it is an expertly crafted and beautifully drawn thriller which completely blew my socks off … This book completely consumed me for the whole time I read it and even now after finishing it I keep going back in my mind to think and reflect on ultimately what happened. If you need a deliciously dark narrative with wonderful character development then this is the thrilling book you need to put on your Summer to read list.’ Shaz’s Book Blog

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Exquisite is very much a story of psychological suspense. It’s stories like these that make the saying ‘the suspense is killing me’ so true! I loved the pace of the story and literally devoured every word in front of me. Such a great book and can’t wait to read more by this author.’ By The Letter Book Reviews

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‘Quick Review: Beautifully written, gripping and utterly believable, EXQUISITE is truly a piece you want to both savor and find out how it ends. A must-read … EXQUISITE has been one of my favourite novels of 2017 so far; I absolutely recommend you pick this one up – but set aside a few hours because you will lose yourself in it!’ The Crime Review

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‘The only way that I can describe this novel without blatantly writing spoilers, is via these  three words; Psychological Love Affair. I really don’t know how to else to surmise it, yet those three words sum up this novel for me, if I were to be asked. Sarah Stovell seemed to know how to engage her readers. How to push her readers buttons. How to put her readers under a literary spell. Even though I have fully admitted that the storyline and I weren’t bosom buddies, I am still in awe at the authors beautiful, beautiful writing. For me, the author is the star of the show.’ The Writing Garnet

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‘The author brilliantly conveys this story of obsessive love and its fallout, and will make you question who and what you can believe even when it is in front of you. Right to the end you will have questions and you may find they are not all answered, leaving you to come to your own conclusions … It’s a tense read with an undercurrent of danger bubbling just below the surface throughout. Exquisite is an highly addictive domestic noir tale which I couldn’t put down.’ Portobello Book Blog

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‘A thought provoking, uncomfortable, atmospheric, scarily possible, brilliantly written story – The characters and their backstories are intriguing, the settings are beautifully described and the intelligent structure and plot are skillfully delivered. A subtle page turner, so compelling that I read it in one afternoon – it was simply not possible to put it down. Another unreserved 5 stars for an Orenda book – it truly was an exquisite read!’ GoodReads

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Exquisite is the perfect example of a psychological thriller, the author deftly draws the reader in, but throughout you are trying to work out which of the two characters are the more reliable narrator and even when I had finished this book, I still wasn’t sure who was telling the truth, but it certainly made for a gripping read.’

The Book Review Café

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‘The reader has been increasingly aware of this from the first page which introduced a note from a Women’s Prison written by one of the inmates, bereft and rejected. Excerpts continue throughout the book, ratchetting up suspense – but which woman is incarcerated? And what was her crime? An alarming novel: infuriating at times, appalling, even frightening, and always a page-turner.’ Shots Mag

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‘The author weaves an intricate plot with a brilliant ending I didn’t see coming and does a superb job of creating two such disturbing characters – even now I’m unsure who was telling the truth – or are they both liars? This is a novel full of tension, toxic passion, breathless pace and disturbing characters – I loved it and cannot recommend this book enough! This is a psychological thriller at the top of its game.’

Chillers, Killers & Thrillers

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‘I loved the book’s structure: the passages from the unnamed woman prisoner – looking for forgiveness – that punctuate the story were desperately intriguing, revealing little and piling on the tension. There were times when I thought I had it all worked out and could see where the story was going despite the unreliability of the telling – but then the thread disappeared and I was guessing again. Absolutely superb – and without a moment’s hesitation, one of my books of the year.’ Being Anne

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‘As soon as I saw it, I was immediately attracted to this book’s beautiful, sensual cover. So simple and yet so intriguing. But surely not as intriguing as the story within. Stovell’s debut is a dark, claustrophobic tale of obsession that kept me hooked from start to finish. For a debut novel, I think Exquisite is a brilliant, engrossing read and would highly recommend it.’ Relax and Read Reviews

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Sarah talks about dealing with rejection in the process of having the book published as part of the blog tour. From First Page to Last

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Exquisite is one extraordinary debut. It’s dark and compelling and hugely engrossing. Without a doubt one of my favourite books of 2017 … Chilling, atmospheric and at times extremely creepy, it is sure to set your heart thumping and your blood pumping. A remarkable and unforgettable thriller whose excellence knows no bounds. Quite simply exquisite!’ Ronnie Turner

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‘I found this to be a compulsive read, and there were a few surprises along the way building up to an ending that left me wanting to read more. For any fans of psychological thrillers, I would definitely recommend Exquisite. With its blend of dramatic writing, complex characters and dark and twisted secrets, it is a story of love and obsession which lingers on the mind long after you turn the final page.’

The Owl on the Bookshelf

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‘This book was a journey and had the story not had a familiar feel to it, it would have blown me away- the same way that Sarah Pinborough’s Behind Her Eyes knocked me for six!  Saying that, this was an extraordinary and beautifully written story that I would recommend to others easily!  I have Sarah Stovell on my reading radar now and look forward to what she writes next!’ Crime Books Junkie

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Exquisite is the sort of book that plays with your mind and just when you think you’ve worked out what’s what, something else comes along that makes you consider everything you’ve read in a completely new light. If that sounds like your cup of tea, then grab a comfy chair and be prepared to lose yourself for a couple of hours.’ What Cathy Read Next

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‘Wow, well where to begin with this one! It is without a doubt the strangest novel I have read so far this year and that’s out of 90 novels! But I totally mean strange in a good way. The novel centres around the relationship between two women. It is one of the finest psychological based novels I have ever read, the whole ‘what is real?’ feeling, coupled with the relationships decent into toxicity! One thing is for certain it makes for gripping reading!’ Anne Bonny Book Reviews

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‘This book messed with my head – reading about passion, two writers whose creative worlds merge with their reality and how all consuming emotions can eat you alive … Locations were used really well here – the escape to the gentle Lake District from a chaotic city. The calm before the storm with Bo and Alice – two personalities, two locations and two lives which are soon to clash. Very tense  –  a psychological feast.’ The Book Trail

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‘Sarah Stovell has written a tense and extremely clever thriller that keeps you on a knife-edge right through to the very end with its twists and turns, Stovell explores the lives of these two women and the intense relationship that they quickly form – showing how destructive this can be. The characters of Bo and Alice are fantastic and really brought this story to life. This is an absolutely fantastic debut…..if this is the level of Stovell’s first novel, I cannot wait for more! A massive 5 stars and one of my top 2017 books – highly recommended!’  Have Books Will Read

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‘I liked the writing style, and the author skilfully handles the perspectives of the two women – actually a construct that requires careful management to ensure clarity for the reader. The Lake District is the perfect bucolic setting for human machinations. Well-rounded and excellently written. (Do by the way take a good look at the cover, a very subtle interpretation which works so well).’ Trip Fiction

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‘In nearly every review I have seen for this book, the reviewer concerned has tried to avoid using the word ‘exquisite’ when describing the writing. I won’t even bother to attempt it, because the writing is exquisite. There is just no other word to describe it … It’s a difficult book to review without spoilers but I think this book will be a very popular summer read.’ Steph’s Book Blog

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‘Clever, original and unnerving in its plausibility, it’s sure to be one of this years must read books! … The quality of the writing within Exquisite is top notch.   It’s a twisted and taunt storyline, making it a must read book! Without a doubt this is another author added to my list of automatic purchases when she releases her next novel.’ Books are my Cwtches

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‘This book is so well-written that I questioned myself all the time while reading.  You could have told me the sky was green and I might have believed you, so unsure was I about what I thought while reading.  It was almost as if someone or something had got inside my head and was tangling my brain, that’s what this book did to me, it tangled my brain and now I need a nice, easy, straightforward read to untangle it again … This is a brilliantly written book.  I say that first because it is the first thing that I noticed, the writing surprised me.  It was so simple but at the same time wasn’t and that is unusual in the books I read.’ Book Lover Worm Blog

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‘Sublime, intense, claustrophobic and totally, totally divine … If you buy only one book this week, this month, this year…make it this one.  Sarah Stovell has created a magnificent and perfectly crafted piece of fiction which sucked me in, chewed me up and spat me out.  And I LOVED it … It’s the most intoxicating read since…well, I can’t think of anything to compare it to right now.  It’s so darn good that it deserves to win award, after award, after award.  Orenda Books, you’ve done it again!’ Damp Pebbles

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‘In her stunning debut, Sarah Stovell’s grandiose prose tells a tale of the scars of love. Exquisite is chillingly brilliant and absolutely riveting. Sarah writes a guest post as part of the blog tour.’ Chocolate N Waffles

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‘Of course for anyone who reads this who is also a writer at heart this book is doubly enthralling.  It is interesting to see the story of the successful and the aspiring.  With the two different view points I particularly liked the way this tied in in the last third of the novel … This book has great pace, writing and structure.  It is a real page-turner with dare I say it – exquisite – use of imagery regarding the Lake District.  And the ending – just … chilling…’ The Very Pink Notebook

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Exquisite is a classic psychological thriller. If you enjoy twisty plots, dual points of view and toxic relationships, you’ll probably love this one too … it’s not long, the writing is beautiful yet simple enough so you can keep turning the pages and, my favorite, you never know what to think. This is the story of a friendship that develops into something more, but… whose side are you on? Exquisite is, as you could expect, completely addictive. The moment I started it, I knew it would be a quick read and I ended up devouring the whole book in about 3 hours.’ The Misstery

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Exquisite explores relationships, vulnerability, manipulation, and control and it does so in the most alarming manner. It is so charmingly twisted that you will have no idea of the outcome until the very last page!  This book has burned its way into my very being. I still find myself pondering over the lives of Alice and Bo. It is a fascinating and riveting read that will entice you with every page you turn! Don’t miss it!’ Chapter in my Life 

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Exquisite is a beautifully written, domestic thriller that I hungrily devoured in a day. This is a dark, sexy, disturbing and indeed ‘exquisite‘ read that had me guessing until the final page … Exquisite is a compelling, thought provoking and page turner of a read. It is quite brilliant. This psychological thriller is going to be huge!’ Brew and Books review

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Exquisite is sublime in that it is both breathtaking and unsettling. Stovell has you basking in its beauty while shivering in its darkness … Exquisite is a delicately woven tale of passion, obsessive love and the impact of not being mothered. I haven’t read a book about a relationship that has affected me in this way since Jeanette Winterson’s Written On The Body. There is a dark beauty within its pages and Exquisite is set to be one of the books of the year.’ Bloomin Brilliant Books 

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‘I was completely swept up in the brilliance of Sarah’s carefully constructed plot that had me constantly questioning the outcome and eagerly turning the page. The beautifully atmospheric setting of the Lake District and bustling, bohemian Brighton echo the different characters at the heart of this story. It was a chilling read, expertly crafted and difficult to put down.’ Shelley Fallows

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Exquisite is a glimpse into the lives of two rather unstable women. Although it is marketed as a psychological thriller, it is more a character study into obsession and warped love. It was reminiscent of Zoe Heller’s Notes on a Scandal. The same kind of sinister love, with the threat of danger. It is a reminder that love makes fools of everyone, especially the slightly unhinged … Exquisite is a fine example of obsessive love and damaged personalities. Sarah Stowell creates two unforgettable women in Bo and Alice. It is rather an impressive debut.’ Northern Crime

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‘The brooding Exquisite is effective and skilfully written, enhanced by the characters who wear their fictional peculiarities well and the location chosen as the stage for their tragedy to unfold. I’d be very curious to see what this author may have to offer in the future, but for now I’m more than happy to recommend this one.’ Little Bookness Lane

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‘Come and join us reading this book! It is a chilling, exquisitely written and evocative thriller set in the Lake District, centring on the obsessive relationship that develops between two writers. One already has it all, the other is drifting through life’…. Exquisite is chosen as a Trip Fiction Book Club Read for September. Trip Fiction

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‘The novel was set mainly in the Lake District and using this small, and to me relatively unknown, setting added to the mystery around the character of Bo … The writing seemed to flow gently, building up the atmosphere around the two women. Without wishing to give away any spoilers there was one scene that was quite shocking, jarring as it did with the rest of the story. This just added to the tension of what I felt was a superbly plotted book. Exquisite was an excellent novel and I would thoroughly recommend it.’ A Crime Readers Blog

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‘I really enjoyed the reading experience that this novel afforded me. I didn’t come away feeling like I had read the next best thriller but I don’t think I needed to. I came away wanting to up sticks, or go on a writing retreat, and make some terrible decisions. Thankfully, I have, so far, resisted the temptation. Dark, addictive and messy, Exquisite was excellent Sunday afternoon fodder.’

 Viva Tramp

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‘Sarah Stovell’s Exquisite is a dark, sensual, and twisted character study, rife with murky motivations and sinister revelations … Exquisite is a taut psychological thriller that benefits from dueling unreliable narrators … The first-person narrative shines, reinforcing the unreliable natures of both Bo and Alice. Even though their thoughts and actions are laid bare, the disparity between their sides of the story makes the tension mount incredibly well. Snappy dialogue and minimal scene setting sets off the prose, allowing the story to focus on characterization, all of which lends a voyeuristic thrill … Exquisite is an engrossing story about two troubled people who connect despite having every reason not to. Tensions mount, making it hard to put down.’ Foreward Reviews

Reviews