Ella Crawford is 26, lonely, and so broke that she seduces strange men when she suspects they’ll buy her dinner. Her fate changes the day she begins nannying for a rich and beautiful Upper East Side mother. Both women are just 26 – but unlike Ella, Lonnie has a doting husband and son, artistic talent, and old family money. Ella is mesmerised by Lonnie’s girlish affection and disregard for the normal boundaries of friendship and marriage, but resentment grows too, alongside this dizzying attraction.
Crackling with sensuality and heart-quickening suspense, Madeline Stevens’ searing debut novel explores themes of class, aspiration, female friendship, sexuality, and obsession.
I devoured Devotion in short order- a beautifully descriptive prose sinks you into the life of Ella and her ever growing devotion to Lonnie her employer, both women are gorgeously drawn, ethereal and quirky in their own separate ways, when brought together things end up somewhat explosive.
The whole story has a strange, unearthly feel to it, you almost feel like these women haunt you as you read- the central theme deals with this odd attraction where two personalities almost become one. The supporting cast levitate around them, cause and effect giving rise to an ever growing sense that something will go wrong. It is a story of love bordering on hate, of obsession and consequence, of having versus not having and all the things we want that are beyond our reach.
I found it both clever and compelling, terrific literary writing and an utterly gripping tale.