The French Girl is Lexie Elliott's debut novel.
Six Oxford students spent a summer vacation together in France ten years ago. They were friends - and friends with benefits.. Their getaway doesn't go quite as planned - a beautiful French girl named Severine who lived next to the villa changes the dynamic of the group. And now she's changing the future. Ten years on, the police have found Severine's body in a well on the vacation property. The group is now part of a murder investigation by the French police.
Kate Channing is one of those six and she is our narrator. Elliott slowly ekes out the details of what happened that summer week. Something happened that irrevocably changed each of the six. Kate herself sees Severine as a presence and although she does not speak, Kate gives her emotions.
"Severine glances at him with disdain, and suddenly I wonder: if Severine is a creation of my mind, are her reactions my own deeply hidden feelings?"
The friends are still in contact with each other. Our sense of who they are is coloured by Kate's views. I found them to all be flawed and not overly likable. But could one of them be a murderer? It is the relationships between them that takes center stage in the book. Elliott's depiction of those bonds, memories, interactions and current sparring is excellent. She is a gifted writer.
The publisher has described The French Girl as "exhilarating psychological suspense". I enjoyed The French Girl, but found it to be a bit of a slow burn rather than a fast paced suspense read. But, that slow burn absolutely works for exploring the relationships. For this reader, that was more of a draw that the actual whodunit.
"One of...RealSimple.com's and Cosmopolitan's Best Books of the Month."Read an excerpt of The French Girl.