The Favour tells the story of eighteen-year-old Ada Howell, who feels that the gilded life she deserves has been denied to her after she is forced to move from her idyllic country house in Wales to suburban London following the death of her wealthy adoptive father.
When Ada’s eccentric godmother gifts her with an exclusive gap-year art history trip to Italy, she finally finds herself amongst the kind of people she aspires to be: sophisticated, cultured, privileged. Ada does everything in her power to prove she is one of them, and when one of the group dies in suspicious circumstances she spots an opportunity to permanently bind herself to these glamorous new acquaintances by burying a secret. But everything hidden must eventually surface, and when it does, Ada discovers she’s been keeping a far darker secret than she ever imagined…
Class divide never seems to disappear no matter how far advanced we seem to think society is. What if you felt you didn’t belong , that where you wanted to be was with the wealthy, the entitled, the connections the grand old houses that went to decay in the countryside. This was Ada, her famous author father dead, her Mum glad to have sold the Welsh mansion house and relocate to London. Yet Ada was not happy, as Vaughan made that very clear as she portrayed a teenager who felt wronged, uprooted and basically denied a life of privilege in the higher echelons of society.
Vaughan did not make it easy to like Ada, and I am not sure I actually did. It wasn’t that she was wholeheartedly horrible and nasty, more manipulative, watchful, aware of what was happening around here and generally being in the right place at the right time.
The art trip to Italy was her opportunity to wheedle her way into the rich, privileged lives of her fellow students. Vaughan placed her everywhere as she worked out who was the most approachable, who was the easier to attach herself to. Her golden moment was the death of one of their group, she acted, protected and held the power as they left Italy and got on with their lives.
We followed Ada through the following years, through the parties, the good living until Vaughan gave us the moment it fell apart, and I actually started to feel sorry for her, to like her. At last, I thought Ada had finally seen the superficiality of her so called rich friends, left them behind, and got her life together. But oh no Vaughan had other things to surprise us with, an about turn of events, an ending that perfectly fitted the time and themes of the novel.
A story of privilege, of jealousy, of entitlement The Favour was a hugely enjoyable, intelligent first novel.
I would like to thank Corvus for a copy of The Favour to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour
About the author
Laura Vaughan grew up in rural Wales and studied Art History in Italy and Classics at Bristol and Oxford. She got her first book deal aged twenty-two and went on to write eleven books for children and young adults. The Favour is her first novel for adults. She lives in
South London with her husband and two children.