Book Review: Eloise by Judy Finnigan

"If you’ve been there, you don’t ever forget it. You can’t possibly ignore it. Once you’ve glimpsed the profound horror of the chasm which opens up beneath your feet, once you’ve felt the inexorable pull which draws you to the edge, once you’ve understood that down there lies not just madness but the total destruction of your life, your happiness, all hope of love and comfort … then, and only then, can you understand the unspeakable magnitude of what lies beneath. And how utterly vile it is, how barren of everything but death. And even when you’re feeling better, when pills and therapy have restored you to a fragile normality, you always know there are demons out there, life-sucking, soul-sucking vampires."

--Judy Finnigan, Eloise

This is broadcaster, journalist, and Book Club champion Judy Finnigan's Sunday Times bestseller debut book, which is both tremendously unsettling and compulsively absorbing. A poignant reflection on female friendship, parenthood, familial ties, and bereavement.

Synopsis from Goodreads...

After her best friend Eloise dies from breast cancer, Cathy is devastated. But then Cathy begins to have disturbing dreams that imply Eloise’s death was not all it seems.

With a history of depression, Cathy is only just recovering from a nervous breakdown and her husband Chris, a psychiatrist, is acutely aware of his wife’s mental frailty. When Cathy tells Chris of her suspicions about Eloise’s death, as well as her ability to sense Eloise’s spirit, Chris thinks she is losing her grip on reality once again.

Stung by her husband’s scepticism, Cathy decides to explores Eloise’s mysterious past, putting herself in danger as she finds herself drawn ever deeper into her friend’s great and tragic secret.

My reaction to this novel...

I really wanted to enjoy this book. However, the term that best describes it for me is vexing. I had hoped for a lot more. Cathy is a fragile, weak woman with a history of depression who is married to a psychiatrist. Her best friend, Eloise, died of cancer, and she is said to be haunted by her spirit, which warns her that she and Eloise’s children are in grave danger. It wasn’t really spectacular, and I believe that trustworthiness should triumph over wistfulness. This is a narrative about depression, misfortune, outrage, and hatred, all of which take the form of an apparition. It has an intriguing beginning that swiftly turns into the ranting of a woman who will always be remembered for an incident involving her mental stability.

The storyline was immediately suspenseful and deducible. Despite finding the main character, Cathy, to be simperingly annoying and finding this novel to be annoyingly clichéd, I kept reading. Unexpectedly, these faults continue throughout. The plot picks up speed and keeps me sufficiently intrigued to read as far as I can, keeping the reader guessing along the way, which sort of made this book mildly entertaining, but as the story moves along, it gets boring dealing with the same problems over and over again. The same is true for the use of words, with usage beyond what readers would find acceptable. Tragically, a significant portion of its failure was due to the actors’ ability to switch quickly between outlandish emotions, giving the impression that they were doing a modest action. In comparison, the discourse was frequently fabricated. I was anticipating a twist near the finish. However, I thought it to be overly predictable.

This is not a book I would suggest. It was an interesting enough book to keep going until the conclusion; it was frustrating. Cathy’s chats with her better half were tedious. I was anticipating some type of twist or surprise near the conclusion to redeem it, but there was none. I couldn’t go on.

My Overall Rating: ⭐✨(1.5/5)

Where to buy this book...


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