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Fortune favours the fraud: The Favour by Laura Vaughan @LVaughanWrites @CorvusBooks #TheFavour #Debut #BookReview

Hello there, how are you? Welcome to The Reading Closet, today as you may have already noticed, I’ll be reviewing on of this years hottest debuts – The Favour by Laura Vaughan, publishing by Corvus Books.

The ebook of is now available here, but if you’d prefer a GORGEOUS physical copy, you can pre-order here for it’s release on the 3rd of March.
Thanks to Corvus Books for providing me with the BEST PR package, the coffee was so needed and obviously a proof copy of The Favour along with it.

‘When she was thirteen years old, Ada Howell lost not just her father, but the life she felt she was destined to lead. Now, at eighteen, Ada is given a second chance when her wealthy godmother gifts her with an extravagant art history trip to Italy. In the palazzos of Venice, the cathedrals of Florence and the villas of Rome, she finally finds herself among the kind of people she aspires to be: sophisticated, cultured, privileged. Ada does everything in her power to prove she is one of them. And when a member of the group dies in suspicious circumstances, she seizes the opportunity to permanently bind herself to this gilded set. But everything hidden must eventually surface, and when it does, Ada discovers she’s been keeping a far darker secret than she could ever have imagined…’

One sees as one wants to see: this is false: and this falsity constitutes art.’
– Edgar Degas

How can I possibly do this dazzling debut justice? I begun The Favour in the evening, bad mistake when you have to wake up at the crack of dawn, immediately I felt myself melting into the book as I was introduced to Ada after the death of her father someone who was the apple of her eye. At aged 18 she yearns to be a part of the world filled with culture and privilege , with the help of her grandmother she’s able to fulfil an artistic opportunity surrounded by beauty in Rome. The group of people Ada immerses herself with a group who become known as the Dilettantes, individuals with an interest of art who come from wealthier, higher status families – a lifestyle Ada yearns for. With this, we see Ada constructing herself around the traits of her fellow art lovers, subtly so, such as altering her voice, appearing as more sophisticated and artistic than she actually is. It’s at this point that you begin to feel an air of chill beginning to be introduced into the novel, that the group of characters may all be wearing masks.

A word that appears quite early on in the novel is pentimento, which refers to the visible trace of an earlier painting beneath a layer, of multiple layers of paint. This word reflects the storyline of The Favour perfectly, after a suspicious death occurs of a fellow Dilettante, the layers of circumstances and lies begin to build upon it but after a while the layering wears thin, leaving a glance of the truth underneath, almost unnoticeable so. The Favour is written in three sections which further extended the psychological illusion of the narration, while also sewing themes into the core of the novel, such as love, death and the taste of popularity. The way that Laura has written this novel feels different, artistically methodical, creatively planned out to create jaw dropping reveals, while also encouraging the reader to slip further into not only the pages of The Favour but also into the mind of Ada.

The characters present within the book aren’t particularly likeable yet you’re drawn in and invested in their lives, but I believe this is the point. Ada, I can at points sympathise with her wanting to belong to a group, especially after her father died and her mother becomes somewhat a negative part of her life; reminding Ada of her other family connections that she can go and find. I think Ada wants be wanted, appreciated and just to fit in, that she goes to toxic lengths to get it.

The Favour is an impeccably written debut novel, the strands of toxic friendships, some what unreliable narrative and the injection of artistic aspects filled my psychological thriller heart with joy. Initially starting off as a slow burner, I feel to introduce our narrative Ada, the storyline begins to pick up speed right up until a climatic ending. I flew though it, loved every page, the writing is delicate, with a poetic and vibrant prose that tugs you into the darkness of the themes. I loved it and thought it was rather brilliant, I agree it is the perfect hybrid of Cruel Intentions and The Talented Mr Ripley.
*Chefs kiss*

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