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  • an addictive, eye opening and powerful insight int

    Title: The Pretty One Author: Clare Boyd Publication date: 26/02/2021 Description Everyone in the village admires Anna because she’s a wonderful mother. Juggling family life with a small sewing business, she’s the one they turn to for a warm hug after a hard day. Her kind, polite daughters are a credit to her – even Bay, her stepdaughter, whom Anna loves as much as her own two girls. But normal family life changes overnight when Anna’s middle daughter’s beauty catches the eye of a stranger in a café. As jealousy erupts between the siblings, Anna’s perfect blended family begins to unravel around her. A devastating secret about the dangerous game they played when they were little girls threatens to break the surface – and the bonds of this close-knit family forever… To save her girls, Anna must rethink everything she ever thought she knew about love, motherhood and family. She must pick a side, an impossible decision for any mother, but believing the wrong daughter could be fatal. Anna has already sacrificed so much for her family, but there are no limits to what a mother will do for her daughters… The Pretty One is a stunning family drama that explores the dark consequences of sibling rivalry and the heart-wrenching emotional cost of keeping secrets from those you love. Perfect for fans of Big Little Lies, Little Fires Everywhere and My Dark Vanessa. Review for 'The Pretty One' by Clare Boyd. Read and reviewed via NetGalley for Bookouture publishers. Publication date 26th February 2021. This is the first book I have read by this author. I was originally drawn to this book by its beautiful eye catching cover and its intriguing synopsis. I must admit I was also biased due to the publisher being Bookouture. I have yet to read a book published by Bookouture that I haven't enjoyed. Hopefully this won't be the first... Watch this space! (Written before I started reading the book). This novel consists of a prologue, 57 chapters and an epilogue. The chapters are short to medium in length so possible to read 'just one more chapter' before bed...OK, I know yeah right, but still just in case! This book is based in the UK 🇬🇧. The bonus for me of books that are partly or fully based in the UK is that I live in the UK and have sometimes visited places mentioned in the book which makes it easier to picture. This book is written in first person perspective with the main protagonists being Anna, Nell and Bay. The benefits of books written in first person perspective are, as long as they are well written, it makes you feel that you are being spoken to by the protagonist and it can create more of a bond between yourselves and them. If there are several protagonists you also get to see more of what is going on. This book is very well written with the power to completely draw you in. The synopsis fitted the storyline perfectly. I believe the fact that Clare herself had experience of the modelling world really helped to show the true insight into what goes on. The storyline is extremely powerful, addictive and eye opening. It was very fast paced and many times I wanted to scream at both Nell and Bay. I couldn't read the book fast enough and was flipping the 'pages' until early in the morning. I was not expecting what was found in the hospital and what Bay had done!! I won't say any more than that as don't want to spoil it for future readers but I was absolutely shocked!! It was fascinating to get an inside view of what goes on in the modelling world but quite scary too as I've heard many similar true stories about what goes on 'behind the catwalk'. I believe the fact that this storyline is so realistic will help draw many readers in. The characters are absolutely solid and compelling. I had such mixed feelings about Nell from frustration to concern, she went through so much and it must have been so hard for her to decide what was best. How many people would give it a try when offered the right amount of money? When you are offered such large amount of money to stand and smile its easy to lose grip of reality and get lost in a different world. Bay really annoyed me and by the end I actively couldn't stand her!! I started off by feeling sorry on her but she seems such a selfish character. Anna is a mixed bag and although I'm pleased by the ending I did have some sympathy towards Dom. I definitely felt sorry for Iris. The only negative thing , in my view, is that the book seemed to have a rushed ending. There was so much going and then it just felt like I hit a wall. I struggled over whether to give 4/5 stars for this reason but I thought as I enjoyed the rest of the book so much it was a bit harsh so I want to give it a 4.5. However, as you can't give 1/2 ratings I am giving this book a 5/5. I am looking forward to reading the next book by this very talented author. Overall an addictive, eye opening and powerful insight into the reality of the modelling world and how it can destroy families. Gen

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  • Gripping, Dark, and Emotional!

    From the outside, Anna’s life looks perfect. Married to her husband Dom, running a small millinery business, and mother to three lovely daughters – two by birth, and one stepdaughter. But she loves Bay just as much as she loves her biological daughters Nell and Iris… right? The novel begins with the pivotal encounter that is the catalyst for the family’s unraveling. Teenage Nell is spotted at a gallery by a scout for a modeling agency. Nell is thrust into the modeling world, forcing Anna to upend her life to chaperone Nell on calls across Britain and even internationally. The story explores the dark and dangerous underbelly of modeling – sexual exploitation, body shaming, eating disorders, partying, and underage drinking/drugs. Nell’s modeling career also causes drama between her and Bay. Bay is jealous of the attention Nell is getting, not to mention the fact that it takes Nell’s attention away from her. Only eighteen months apart in age, the stepsisters are close, but the foundation their relationship is built on dark secrets… secrets that are threatening to destroy this blended family. What lengths will Bay go to in order to keep her family’s attention and affection? This story is billed as dark and emotional, and it definitely is! Although this book was a tad slow to start (and a little too fast to wrap up at the end), it drew me in before too long. The story is told from alternating viewpoints between Anna, Nell, and Bay, and interspersed with some flashbacks to when the girls are young. Each character’s voice is distinct and rings true. The insider view of the modeling industry feels authentic too. As a mother myself, I felt sick watching Nell get sucked into seedy environments, cringing as she made one bad choice after another. I felt Anna’s anxiety and despair as Nell grew more rebellious and out of control, while Dom enables Nell’s behavior and because her modeling was so financially lucrative. My sense of dread grew steadily as the story unfolded and the characters’ relationships fractured. I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher.

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  • 4 solid stars!

    4 solid stars! The novel begins with Dom's eight year old daughter, Bay, moving in with him and his partner Anna and their two young children, Nell and Iris. Many years later at age 15, Nell is approached by a modeling scout while visiting an art gallery. Nell is thrilled about this, but Anna is concerned about how it could affect her schooling. She shares her reservations with Dom but he insists it will help to pay for Nell's college. As things progress, Nell becomes defiant and rebellious. This tears up Anna who adores her family so much. The story is told in three parts and in three POV; via Anna, Nell and Bay. Told from past to present, we learn a lot about how truly troubled Bay is. The turbulent relationship between Nell and Bay has many ups and downs and in the end a shocking discovery is made. Overall, I did enjoy this book and could really connect with certain parts of the story since I currently have a teenage daughter. This was a very well written family drama and although it might not be for everyone, it did resonate with me and I would recommend it. Many thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for my ARC and for an honest review.

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  • What happens in families....

    The Pretty One is an edgy family drama that takes sibling rivalry to a whole new level. The family is a blended one consisting of Anna and Dom, the parent. Dom's daughter from a previous relationship, Bay. Nell and Iris, the 2 biological daughters. Bay came from a troubled home to live with her father and his family. On the surface, they seem like an ideal family. Near the beginning, the surface appearance starts to crack. We have family discord, jealousy, terrible decisions, secrets, shouting and the inability to parent sensibly. The story centres around a young girl who manages to land a successful modelling job. She is The Pretty One. But the troubles in the family started long before the modelling jobs. Right from the beginning, there was an undercurrent of tension between Bay and Nell, even though they seemed outwardly loving. Fast-paced, character-driven and plot-driven. The reader is never sure where the story is going until it is there. Many times during the book I had trouble reconciling my feelings about the parents. Anna doubted her own intuition. Dom had his own agenda. I had lots of empathy for both Bay and Nell. And, poor little, oblivious Iris; all she wanted was a kitten. Some book blurbs say this is a thriller. I think a more accurate description would be that it is a psychological study of a broken family. It is dark, dysfunctional families always are dark. The ending is a bit tidy but also satisfying. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an Advance Readers Copy of this book.

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  • Very Good Read!

    Most mothers realize that they are only as happy as their least happy child. This is what drives Anna in hew quest to make her blended family as happy as possible. With little support she comes to realize that her balancing act is not working and wonders how will she keep them all close and safe. When one of the girls is singled out for her beauty what will happen to the other two? Secrets abound in this domestic family drama.

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