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Ratings and Book Reviews (3 14 star ratings
3 reviews

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3.9 out of 5
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  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Deliciously unsettling

    I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The humour and sadness is an excellent mix. It made me laugh and cry. Commendable imagery captured with authentic settings and characters. Katherine (alias Katie) has always wanted to write a novel. Nobody understands her compulsion to write. How well it displays the vulnerabilities of writers. I bet there are a lot of potential "bestseller" authors who for one reason or another have not taken the bull by the horns. She's surrounded by negativity from her mother, her friend, Helen and her husband, Paul. Paul is a dull, selfish Victorian husband with a detached interest in his family. He exercises a subtle control reducing Katherine into a subservient role. At times his control is blatant until Katherine recognises she is living HIS life by his rules instead of her own life. She's lost track of her real self and feels stifled. Her self-esteem is rock-bottom. She meets Sam, a writer in a writers' group who enthusiastically encourages her with an irresistible offer of mentoring her to write a novel. This project is backed up by his pincher-sharp wife, Viola. Katherine loves the thrill of doing something she loves for a change rather than something she has to do. Paul opposes her ambition, but she goes ahead secretly instead. Her duplicitous behaviour and secrets are like a teenage rebellion under the domestic suppression and suffocation of her intellectuality that she's endured. Paul wants his little woman at home tending to his needs and the children. His moods keep them all toeing the line. Then the threatening notes keep arriving reminding her of a past she's wanted to forget. Who is sending them? What is so awful about her past? Who is watching her? Will she achieve her goal and at what cost? Thank you to NetGalley and Aria.
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    The Pupil

    The Pupil is the latest story by by Dawn Goodwin. Slow going at times, there are also times when you find it difficult to believe our "heroine" hasn't put two and two together. However, there are also times when you can't read fast enough to see what happens next. I was given an early copy to review.
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    Rewarding Domestic Thriller with Bite

    Goodwin’s second novel is a slow burn thriller that takes its time to lay down the ground work with a great flourish. The novel takes its time but this is one its main assets because in a more incapable hand, this could have been its downfall. The Pupil uses this as its advantage because this first third of the book is never boring but builds an intrigue that often is lacking in other books whom normally choose to jump into the action without much time for characterisations. The characters are very well driven towards their conclusion and although there is a couple of plot points that don’t quite pay off for instance the main protagonist not recognising the couple, this doesn’t take away from the overall enjoyment of this novel. I imagine that due to the slow burn beginning, some readers will lack the patient to drive them forward but this would be the mistake of the reader because the end payoff is a total winner. The plot is very well balanced and in the hands of its masterful author, this is handled very carefully. She is able to take characters and flesh them out in their motives. They are craftly mastered so you are not quite sure what each characters know and what are their exact motivations. The characters could have easily fallen into soap opera entrapments but Goodwin here manages to steer them away from the melodrama and keep things on a realistic basis. Overall, this is an interesting and enjoyable read that pays off the readers with an excellent conclusion that does not settle for an easy all happy ending but does find retribution and social consciousness for all the characters involved. The main character is intelligent and strong and her emotional journey fits very well within the plot. If you are looking for a strongly led character study into the mind of a woman on the edge as she works her way back into society with a thriller edge, you can not go wrong. Dawn Goodwin’s The Pupil is an intelligent, gripping thriller that should find its audience. For those that take the time to delve into the characters motivations and let them unfold before your eyes, you will be heavily rewarded. A true winner.

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