Six university friends:
Hannah Jones – from a middle class background, is thrilled to be studying literature at the infamous Oxford University.
April Clarke-Cliveden – beautiful, wealthy, popular, stylish, a gifted actress, and prone to practical jokes. The type of vivacious stunner that seems to excel at whatever she attempts with little effort on her part. April was murdered her first year of uni.
Will de Chastaigne – April’s boyfriend at Oxford, but he knew her from school before that. Now working as an accountant Will is married to Hannah.
Hugh Bland – Will’s best friend since prep-school who studied medicine at Oxford. Single, Hugh is now a doctor working in Edinburgh.
Ryan Coates – Emily’s boyfriend at Oxford. Now married to someone else and the father of two small girls. Ryan suffered a stroke after university which left him wheelchair bound.
Emily Lippman – dated Ryan at Oxford and studied mathematics. Emily is somewhat brusque and sardonic. Now she works as an academic in her field.
This is my third Ruth Ware read and she is fast becoming one of those authors that I will automatically pick up. Her writing style holds my interest and her plots are riveting.
I loved the dual timeline and settings in this one with part of it being set in Oxford University and the other part set ten years later in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Hannah Jones gave evidence against one of the Oxford College porter’s for the murder of her best friend and roommate. Now, a decade later, that man has died in prison and Hannah is approached by a journalist who posits that the man was innocent. Hannah, never really without her own doubts as to what happened that fateful night, begins to wonder if perhaps the journalist is right. Did she make a tragic mistake?
“The It Girl” of the title was Hannah’s friend, April Clarke-Cliveden. She was beautiful, wealthy, popular, stylish, a gifted actress, and prone to practical jokes. Sometimes her ‘jokes’ turned out to be cruel, hurtful pranks. When she is murdered the night after her successful play, it changes Hannah’s life forever. She drops out of university and moves to Scotland where she eventually marries Will, April’s old boyfriend from Oxford. Now they are expecting their first child. Haunted by her friend’s death and her part in the apprehension of the man who purportedly murdered her, Hannah has never been able to put the tragedy behind her. Now, alternating between the past and the present, Hannah revisits the time leading up to April’s murder.
With authentic characters that come alive to the reader, Ruth Hare has written another novel that is bound to be enjoyed by many – locked-room mystery lovers and thriller lovers alike.
This psychological thriller covers themes of guilt, jealousy, social acceptance, loyalty, and friendship. The narrative is skillfully rendered with an exciting denouement and more than one plot twist. Recommended!
This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Gallery/Scout Press via Edelweiss.
Publication date: July 12, 2022
Publisher: Scout Press – Simon and Schuster
Ruth Ware grew up in Sussex, on the south coast of England. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris, before settling in North London. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer. She is married with two small children. “The It Girl” is her seventh thriller.
You can follow her on Twitter @ruthwarewriter