Fear blisters through this town like a fever…
When Teddy Colne arrives in the small town of Rye, he believes he will be able to settle down and leave his past behind him. Little does he know that fear blisters through the streets like a fever. The locals tell him to stay away from an establishment known only as Berry & Vincent, that those who rub too closely to its proprietor risk a bad end.
Despite their warnings, Teddy is desperate to understand why Rye has come to fear this one man, and to see what really hides behind the doors of his shop.
Ada moved to Rye with her young son to escape a damaged childhood and years of never fitting in, but she’s lonely, and ostracised by the community.
Ada is ripe for affection and friendship, and everyone knows it. As old secrets bleed out into this town, so too will a mystery about a family
who vanished fifty years earlier, and a community living on a knife-edge.
Teddy looks for answers, thinking he is safe, but some truths are better left undisturbed, and his past will find him here, just as it always has. And before long, it will find Ada too
Oh Ronnie what did you do? You made me distinctly uncomfortable and unsettled, I hated the opening of the door into the shop, the window with its ghoulish exhibits. Yet from first page to the last page I just could not put So Pretty down.
Your characters were sublime. Ada, so desperately lonely, so devoted to her little boy, estranged from her family, vulnerability oozed from within.
Teddy, another loner, a perpetual nomad, forever fleeing a past that never seemed to leave him behind.
I could never forget Turners other character Mr Vincent the owner of that shop, the shop that all avoided, that burst at the seems with curio that frightened and delighted. His silent, watchful presence rattled your nerves, his eyes like exocet missiles that bored into your very being.
Vincent and Teddy’s relationship was like watching a chess game as they worked each other out, the power struggle intense and at times frightening. But it was the relationship between Teddy and Ada that was Turner’s triumph, two young people looking for a meaningful connection. That connection was so lovely to read as Teddy embraced Ada and her young son, until Turner wove in some subtle changes, assumptions were made and those connections taken to the extreme.
The narrative became dark and oppressive, the imagery dangerous and you felt chills down your spine as each fought the other for power, for escape.
This was a novel that encompassed so much, from child abuse, murder, to the complexities of human psychology and what passes from parent to child. The effect of actions in a small community, the regrets of those that could have helped but didn’t left a lasting mark.
For all its darkness there were lighter moments, glimpses of hope and reconciliation. I may have felt like I had been through a nerve rattling wringer but my goodness I knew what a superb novel I had just read.
Well done and congratulations Ronnie Turner.
I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of So Pretty to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
Ronnie Turner grew up in Cornwall, the youngest in a large family. At an early age, she discovered a love of literature and dreamed of being a published author.
Ronnie now lives in the South West with her family and three dogs. In her spare
time, she reviews books on her blog and enjoys long walks on the coast. Ronnie isa Waterstones Senior Bookseller and a barista, and her youth belies her
exceptional, highly unusual talent.