Wednesday 15 June 2022


Book review: One of the Girls by Lucy Clarke [blog tour]

There are few authors whose books I instantly move to the top of my to-be-read list when a new one is released, but Lucy Clarke is one of them. Ever since I read her debut The Sea Sisters back in 2013 (nearly 10 years ago now, wow!) I've been a big fan of her writing. She perfectly blends atmospheric travel writing with mystery and intrigue; transporting the reader to an exotic location while keeping them on the edge of their seat.

One of the Girls tells the story of a murderous hen do... The six women making up the party are an eclectic mix. There's bride-to-be Lexi, a former dancer and party girl turned yoga instructor. Self-proclaimed best friend Bella and her girlfriend Fen. Childhood friend Robyn, now somewhat estranged from Bella and Lexi and having recently gone through a messy divorce. New bestie Ana, who met Lexi through yoga. And socially awkward future sister-in-law, Eleanor. 

On the surface, the women have little in common, aside from being acquainted with Lexi. But there are hidden connections that slowly start to bubble up, creating cracks in what is supposed to be a perfect getaway. Cut off from the rest of the world in a remote villa in a foreign country, and being on top of each other for the duration of their shared holiday, new alliances are forged while rifts in some of the already fragile relationships start to break wide open. 

Throw in hidden identities, clashing personalities, and deep-rooted grief and jealousy, and you've got all the ingredients for an intense and explosive read. 

Author Lucy Clarke is a master at bringing lush, exotic locations to life through her descriptive writing. From the coast of New Zealand to the remoteness of the island of Tasmania, and even closer to home with a British beach setting, her descriptions are always incredibly vivid and transportive, exuding the colours, smells, and sounds of her setting. With One of the Girls she has done it once more. The Greek coastal town the book is set in is the seventh main character in the story; providing quiet contemplation when the plot needs it and plenty of drama at other times. 

The six women are all hugely different, and while I initially didn't really care for their personal circumstances or choices, there is a certain feeling of intimacy towards the end that makes it inevitable for the reader to want these women to find happiness. I even choked up during one of the background reveals, that's how invested I ended up being in their stories. And it's no mean feat for an author to give so many characters a chance to grow and evolve in one novel, especially when they are realistically flawed and have such different personalities. 

Lucy deftly weaves together the stories of these women. It all seems so simple and straight-forward at first, like any other group holiday. But the story gets more and more intriguing as she slowly reveals hidden connections and agendas that have been lingering in the background from the start of the novel. It is all very clever, and while there was one reveal I guessed from the get-go, there were many developments that took me by surprise – and I love it when a book can keep a reader on their toes like that, while simultaneously really pulling them into the story. 

The title One of the Girls may be referring to certain plot reveals, but it could just as well be a statement about how the reader feels after turning the final page of this fast-paced read. After spending such an intense and intimate time with the characters in this novel, it does feel like you've become 'one of the girls' – rooting for them to succeed (despite some of the deceit and reveals in the story!). Add in the food and sunshine of the very best of Greece and you've got yourself a perfect summer thriller; intriguing, character-driven, and so very gripping. 

So whether you're spending a sunny break in your own outdoors space this year or on a beach in a foreign country, you'll want to pack One of the Girls alongside your sunscreen and snacks, trust me. 

One of the Girls by Lucy Clarke is published by HarperCollins and you can order your copy now from your favourite book shop.

Blog tour stops for One of the Girls by Lucy Clarke

This review for One of the Girls is a part of the official blog tour for the launch of the book. Make sure to check out the other stops too!

Disclaimer: This book was gifted to me by the publisher, but this has not impacted this honest review.

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