Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Lois and Carly-May were just twelve when they were abducted by a stranger and imprisoned in a cabin in the woods for two months.
That summer, under the watchful gaze of their kidnapper, they formed a bond that would never be broken.
Decades later, both women have new lives and identities. But the events of that summer are about to come back with a vengeance.
Lois and Carly-May must face the truth about their secret, shared past...
What really happened in the woods that summer?
Thanks to my mum for reading and reviewing this.
This for me is one of those novels that start out promising so much but really not delivering. On the face of it the subject matter was good, two 12 year old girls are kidnapped who apparently go with their abductor Zed quite willingly. The story follows Lois and Carly-May who are now adults as each of them reflect on the past. Lois is a teacher and Carly-May (now calling herself Chloe) is a struggling actress.
The book is split into 3 parts and the story related by Lois and Carly-May alternately in each of the 3 parts. Part 1 was for me the most interesting as it explored the psychological aspects of what happened to the girls as seen through the minds of 12 year old's but I really struggled with their going along with their kidnapper never asking questions and never trying to escape. Stockholm Syndrome would have kicked in at some point but surely initially they would have wanted to run? They are eventually released unharmed a couple of months later and the book is about the effects this experience has had on them in their adult lives.
Lois writes a book about their experiences which is due to be turned into a film, by coincidence one of the film parts has been offered to Carly-May (Chloe) who is sure that Lois must have written it. Eventually the two girls meet up again after decades of being apart.
Although getting off to a reasonably good start the book's paced slowed down so much that it was difficult to keep going. It could have been such a great psychological thriller but it lacked credibility and the ending was a great disappointment. It couldn't really work for me as there were too many unanswered questions that stopped the book giving it cohesion. Why did this stranger seek these two girls out? What was the motivation for the kidnapping? Nothing happened to these girls so why did the kidnapper take them? What was in the kidnappers mind? Without more information about the kidnapper or some kind of insight into motivation it couldn't really work.
It could have been a great novel instead of which it was really rather limp and I'm sorry to say that I felt flat, disappointed and a bit conned into going the distance with this one. It lacked credibility due to it's lack of depth and insight which stopped it from being a really amazing thriller - such a shame but I can only give this 2 stars.
I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.