Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone.
Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is also desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.
When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place.
Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…
There are a few things I love, Agatha Christie’s plotting, the visual impression given from a Hitchcock movie so when a novel comes along that encompasses both of those things whilst adding it’s own twist to proceedings you can be sure I’ll love it. In fact I did.
Classic and contemporary mash up together in Susi Holliday’s latest, Violet, along with not one but two enigmatically attractive characters- this is hugely satisfying, highly immersive, with a strong emotional edge and an off kilter, haunting atmosphere to it throughout.
A psychological road trip, you’ll fall in love with Violet, she is dangerously addictive, beautifully constructed and very very real. With events unfolding through her glass darkly, you can never be sure what might occur next and certainly not who it may happen to or for what reason. This gives the whole read a cleverly layered sense of melodrama, a feeling that whatever goes on cannot be controlled. Add to that the sense of place, the vibrant energy oozing from the prose and you have an excellent read indeed.
I’ve long been a fan of Susi’s writing even before some very sensible publishers took her on, in Violet we have her best novel to date – this is the kind of stuff she should and hopefully will continue to be writing, that aforementioned contemporary twist on old school storytelling. We need this kind of talented writing to remind us what books can be made of.