Liz Currently Loves…The Exclusives by Rebecca Thornton.


Publication Date: Available Now from Bonnier/Twenty7

Source: Netgalley

1996. Freya Seymour and Josephine Grey are invincible – beautiful and brilliant, the two best friends are on the cusp of Oxbridge, and the success they always dreamed they’d share.

2014. Freya gets in touch, looking for a conversation Josephine has run away from for eighteen long and tortured years. Beginning with one ill-fated night, The Exclusives charts the agonising spiral of friendship gone wrong, the heartache and betrayal of letting down those closest to you and the poisonous possibilities of what we wouldn’t do when everything we prize is placed under threat. And in the end, as she realises she cannot run for ever, Josephine must answer one question: is it Freya she cannot face, or is it her own darkest secret?

The Exclusives is Rebecca Thornton’s powerful debut novel about friendship and tragedy at an exclusive boarding school.

I have a bit of a thing for stories set in  schools that hold a hint of mystery and a past/present vibe so when I read the blurb for “The Exclusives” the terrific cover having caught my eye I thought AHA. Looks like one for me.

And it was – I loved this – for many reasons, not least of which is the brilliant characterisation, with the girls being portrayed evoking many emotional responses, from deep sympathy to intense dislike. Sign of a good read, that.

Freya is trying to contact Jo – way back when they were the closest of friends –  until they were ripped apart by actions and consequences. What those actions were remains obscure for much of the novel, but it is clear that something went very wrong between these two girls which has reverberated down the years.

Rebecca Thornton constructs her plot carefully and compellingly – starting with a night out gone wrong and following on from there, we see snapshots of events unfolding back at their exclusive school and now see Jo in the present willing to go to extreme lengths to avoid coming face to face with Freya again. Atmospherically speaking it is haunting and often very sad, themes of parental and peer pressure run through the narrative, not only that but the pressure we often put on ourselves at a vulnerable age.

The writing style is terrifically engaging and as I mentioned earlier, the author has a great eye for building a character you can love or hate – I went from one extreme to another on both our main protagonists Freya and Jo, also frankly on the external cast, all of whom are perfectly drawn.

It is not actually difficult to work out what happened initially on that first night when the cracks in their friendship started, probably on purpose so you could feel the full horror of what happened next. It is thought provoking, intense at times as you watch how each girl reacts both to the situation and to each other. In the present day it is obvious that Jo is damaged, but one of the things I loved most about this one is the subtle shades of grey that Ms Thornton weaves into the overall storyline, a real feeling for human nature and the things we will do to keep that which we feel we need.

An impressive debut for sure and one that certainly comes highly recommended from me, especially if you like this type of past/present focus and have a thing for enduring characters. This one will stay with you.

Follow Rebecca on Twitter here:

Purchase information: To buy The Exclusives click here for Kindle and here to Pre-order paperback

Find out more about books from Bonnier and the imprints here:

Happy Reading Folks!




Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Liz Currently Loves…The Exclusives by Rebecca Thornton.

  1. crimeworm says:

    I enjoyed this one too Liz, despite the fact the girls live in a world totally alien to me, and probably most of us, financially. (Plus the excuse given for Jo staying with Freya’s family all the time, that he’s accompanying the PM, is bollocks, as I know from working for the Scottish Parliament that the Permanent Secretary doesn’t accompany the PM everywhere, he’s neutral and head of the Civil Service. But that’s just me being picky and it’s irrelevant to the plot anyway!!) I like the past/present stuff in a lot of books atm too, and enjoy trying to guess what happened to change everything!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *