“Valentina” by S.E. Lynes – Book Review

When approached by Blackbird Digital Books to review “Valentina” and participate in the book’s blog tour, I was only too happy to  agree.  The book is a thriller set in Scotland, enough said…valentina

I am SO very pleased that “Valentina” surpassed all my expectations.  A debut novel that doesn’t read like one, this domestic thriller is filled with well-developed characters, a page-turning plot, and a setting that is second to none, Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire.

The publisher’s blurb:

When Glasgow journalist Shona McGilvery moves with her partner Mikey and their baby to an idyllic cottage in rural Scotland, they believe that all that lies ahead of them is happiness.

But with Mikey working offshore, the frightening isolation of the Aberdeenshire countryside begins to drive her insane…

That is, until she is rescued by a new friendship with the enchanting Valentina

She has the perfect home, the perfect man, and a charismatic new best friend – or does she?

As her fairytale life begins to unravel, the deep dark wood becomes the least of her fears…

My thoughts:

Shona, a new Mum of a four-month old daughter, Isla, is madly in love with her partner Mickey and loves her new home, an idyllic cottage in the Aberdeenshire countryside. Therefore she must be happy right?

Scottish cottage

But… Mickey works on an offshore oil-rig and is gone literally half the time.  Shona, a city girl and former journalist,  who is used to having lots of people around, finds the remoteness of her new home daunting.  Four-month old babies are not great conversationalists and Shona is feeling lonely, isolated and abandoned.  Then, she meets another new Mum named Valentina.  She is so happy to have someone to chat with, someone with whom she has something in common.

But the reader knows something that Shona doesn’t…  Valentina is both manipulative and dangerous.  You want to take Shona aside and warn her about her devious new friend.

With narrative before and after befriending Valentina, the story evokes a foreboding sense of menace.  The reader knows that something dire has occurred, just not what exactly, and what part Valentina played – though you KNOW she is at the heart of it all…  You just want to rant and rave about the injustice.

Aberdeenshire map

Aberdeenshire map

A novel of deception and betrayal, this novel left me feeling wounded on Shona’s behalf.  The memorable and satisfying ending has an impact that stays with the reader.

What a lovely surprise this thriller turned out to be!  It was such a fast, page-turning read and with such great characters and atmosphere.  It has ensured that I will follow this author and will read her future novels – no question! A strong debut novel that I highly recommend.

“Valentina” will be published July 1, 2016

F 4.5 star

Thanks to the author and Blackbird Digital Editions for providing me with a digital copy of the novel and allowing me to participate in the blog tour.

Valentina blog tour

S.E. Lynes

S.E. Lynes

After graduating from Leeds University, S E Lynes lived in London for a couple of years before moving to Aberdeen to be with her husband.  In Aberdeen, she worked as a Radio Producer at the BBC before moving with her husband and two young children to Rome. There, she began to write while her children attended nursery. After the birth of her third child and upon her return to the UK,  she gained an MA in Creative Writing from Kingston University. She now combines writing with teaching at Richmond Adult Community College and bringing up her three children.  She lives in Teddington, Middlesex.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, debut novels, Page turners, Psychological thrillers and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to “Valentina” by S.E. Lynes – Book Review

  1. Pingback: Spell the Month in Books – NOVEMBER #SpellTheMonthInBooks #BookRecommendations | Fictionophile

  2. Pingback: New release by S.E. Lynes! (#CoverReveal) | Fictionophile

  3. skyecaitlin says:

    You kept your promise: 🙂


  4. Should this post have been published on 30th June though? x


    • Fictionophile says:

      Stupid me–I was supposed to post on June 30th and I thought it was June 20th. Blackbird Digital forgave me and I’ll Tweet about it again on the 30th.
      Really enjoyed it, even more than I expected to…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am really enjoying this book and also looking forward to being part of this blog tour 🙂


  6. Christine says:

    What a fab review, Lynne!! I will check this out.


  7. skyecaitlin says:

    The title is wonderful and the setting is perfect. I love the notion that readers know something the protagonist needs to discover. This sounds like a really good read.


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