Today I am very excited to be sharing a review with you of a book I read recently, which I absolutely adored. Just before Christmas Scribe Publishing sent me a wonderful package complete with chocolate, bath bombs, lipstick and a book that looked as delicious as the rest of the goodies. As soon as I read the blurb I knew The Possessions would be a book I could devour in a few days, and I wasn't wrong!
The Possessions is a haunting novel following Edie, a young woman who works for the Elysian society, a place where people who are grieving can reconnect with their lost loved ones. Edie spends her days channeling the dead, escaping from herself and her dark, troubled past. But when she gets too deeply wrapped up in the life of one of her clients, and his wife's mysterious death, Edie begins to lose a sense of herself, and gets lost within the shell of this other woman, who suddenly seems to not be entirely different to herself...
Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...
In this electrifying literary debut, a young woman who channels the dead for a living crosses a dangerous line when she falls in love with one of her clients, whose wife died under mysterious circumstances.
In an unnamed city, Eurydice works for the Elysian Society, a private service that allows grieving clients to reconnect with lost loved ones. She and her fellow workers, known as “bodies“, wear the discarded belongings of the dead and swallow pills called lotuses to summon their spirits—numbing their own minds and losing themselves in the process. Edie has been a body at the Elysian Society for five years, an unusual record. Her success is the result of careful detachment: she seeks refuge in the lotuses’ anesthetic effects and distances herself from making personal connections with her clients.
But when Edie channels Sylvia, the dead wife of recent widower Patrick Braddock, she becomes obsessed with the glamorous couple. Despite the murky circumstances surrounding Sylvia’s drowning, Edie breaks her own rules and pursues Patrick, moving deeper into his life and summoning Sylvia outside the Elysian Society’s walls.
After years of hiding beneath the lotuses’ dulling effect, Edie discovers that the lines between her own desires and those of Sylvia have begun to blur, and takes increasing risks to keep Patrick within her grasp. Suddenly, she finds her quiet life unraveling as she grapples not only with Sylvia’s growing influence and the questions surrounding her death, but with her own long-buried secrets.
A tale of desire and obsession, deceit and dark secrets that defies easy categorization, The Possessions is a seductive, absorbing page-turner that builds to a shattering, unforgettable conclusion.
From the very first line of The Possessions, it's fair to say I was hooked. Sara Flannery Murphy has such an electrifying way of writing, in a way that is fresh and inventive and vibrant. Although this novel is set in an unnamed city, I had such a sure idea of the setting and this anonymity of place really added to the dark mystery colouring the novel.
I thought Edie was a brilliant character and I think the way the novel was written really brought out the elusiveness and distance of her character. There was also a sense of unpredictability with Edie and I never knew what she was going to do next, which kept me turning the pages impatiently until, sadly, reaching the very last page.
The Possessions is a novel that is so brilliantly fast-paced and sharply written, perfect for fans of Only Ever Yours - defined by realistic characters, haunting secrets and definitely a feminist edge. It is a novel full of grit and darkness, but there is a sense of hope at the end, one for a future that will allow Edie to move on from her distressing and traumatic past.
I felt like I was on tenterhooks throughout the novel and I loved the way that Sara Flannery Murphy didn't reveal Edie's haunting secret until the last few chapters. It kept me guessing throughout and, coupled with Edie's eccentric and unpredictable character, this made for an incredibly tense reading experience. There were plenty of twists and turns throughout The Possessions... Sara Flannery Murphy has perfected the art of sharp, electrifying writing. This is an absolute belter of a debut novel and I can't wait to see what Murphy comes up with next!
I think it's pretty clear from this review that I adored The Possessions and I think it makes for perfect holiday binge-reading... pop down to your local bookshop to grab it for your Easter holidays!
A few weeks ago I participated in The Possessions blog tour, where I got the opportunity to interview Sara about all things ghost stories, the importance of writing through self-doubt, and the influence of the Gothic in the novel. Check that interview out here: http://delightfulbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/the-possessions-blog-tour-q-with-sara.html
Check out Sara Flannery Murphy here: https://saraflannerymurphy.com
Until next time :)