Title: The Pupil
Author: Dawn Goodwin
Date of Publication: 7th August 2018
Date of Review: 6th August 2018
One moment of carelessness. Four shattered lives.
Literary agent Viola Matthews is sure she’s met Katherine Baxter before. So when her husband and bestselling novelist Samuel Morton introduces Viola to the quiet, unassuming woman he has offered to mentor, she knows their paths have crossed before. The question is where?
As their worlds collide and the bond between Samuel and Katherine deepens, Viola realises she must take control. If Viola is right, then Katherine needs to pay for something that happened twelve years ago.
As soon as I saw this book I was drawn to its gorgeous cover. Simple yet classy with a hint of danger. This reminded me of the book cover designs for Louise Jensen. After reading the synopsis (as above) I was hooked and knew this was my kind of read.
The Pupil starts with a present-day first-person narrative from Katherine’s perspective, where she is coming to the end of a week-long creative course in London. The group are all going for a drink to celebrate the end of the course but being a mother of two primary-school age children, Katherine needs to get home. Luckily she has her friend, Helen, to help her out and Katherine is able to socialise with her new writing buddies, where after a few drinks her tutor offers to mentor her for free.
Writing has been a life-long passion for Katherine but she has always been surrounded by negative people with no faith in her ability. Her mother thinks it’s a pipedream, her best friend thinks she has enough on her plate being a mother, and her husband thinks she should be content washing his socks and cooking his dinner. But her tutor, Sam, is a prolific writer and for him to have faith in her has re-lit the passion she has for writing. When her husband shows little interest in her news, she knows he will just belittle her, so instead of telling him about her mentoring sessions with Sam, she persuades Helen to cover for her. Uh-oh!
When Sam’s wife and agent, Viola, meets Katherine, she is sure she knows her from somewhere but isn’t sure where. Viola offers to represent Katherine but without giving away any spoilers, we soon learn that Viola is the antagonist.
The novel has a varied narrative structure. As well as the present-day first-person narrative from Katherine, we also see some third-person narration from Viola’s perspective. There is also an epistolary style narrative from Katherine’s past, where we see glimpses of her diary as a teenager. But we also know there is something sinister that has happened in Katherine’s life since she has been married. Katherine writes under the pseudonym of her maiden name, Katherine Baxter, but her married name is Katie Haynes.
As well having all the elements of a good domestic noir, this novel is also an inspirational tale of how a down-trodden woman overcomes her past to fulfil her lifelong ambition. I love reading books about writing, and The Pupil is no exception.
I recommend this book for anybody who likes Louise Jensen or Shalini Boland.
Under Literature love’s rating scheme this book has been awarded 4 out of 5 stars.
I really enjoyed this book.
This book is highly recommended.
Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for an Advance Review Copy of this book in return for an honest and unbiased review.