Publication Date: 5th April 2018
Source: Review Copy
‘Once I had cleared the bottles away and washed the blood off the floor, I needed to get out of the flat.’
Cordelia Russell has been living on the Côte d’Azur for ten years, posing a posh English woman fallen on hard times. But her luck is running out.
Desperate to escape her grotty flat and grim reality, Cordelia spends a night at a glittering party. Surrounded by the young, beautiful and privileged she feels her age and her poverty.
As dawn breaks she stumbles home through the back streets. Even before she opens her door she can hear the flies buzzing. It hasn’t taken long for the corpse in her bedroom to commence decomposing …
Liz Nugent’s novel is the dark, twisted and shocking story of what takes Cordelia from an island childhood in Ireland to ruin in Nice.
Skin Deep is genuinely amazing. A truly memorable psychological character study.
It is a difficult one to review if I’m honest – the basis of the tale is simply the story of one woman and those whose lives she enters and leaves, but it’s impact on you is subtle, immeasurable and difficult to describe. Beauty may indeed only be “Skin Deep” but what lies beneath the surface is fascinating, absorbing and taken apart by the author in amazingly clever and intelligent ways.
The writing is beautiful, full of thought provoking prose and is also descriptively stunning – the settings are alive, Cordelia herself provides the light and dark and the story unwinds in a hugely addictive fashion, taking us from small islands to vibrant cities as she lives a life less than ordinary.
The whole novel is completely and utterly brilliant but the final resolution is stunning. Days later I’m still worrying away at it, my mind goes back there at odd moments, not only to the ending but to the entirety of the story. It is dark yes, it is a twisty tale indeed, in character and event, but is entirely believable and utterly authentic.
Liz Nugent wastes not one word – every part of Skin Deep is plotted to perfection, designed for emotional impact and hits the mark every single time. I will never forget Cordelia or those whose lives she affects, her story is ingrained on my soul. Without doubt this is the author’s best novel to date.
Hauntingly beautiful, achingly sad.
Highly HIGHLY recommended.