Skin Deep by Liz Nugent


Length:  373 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book which is out this week!

What they say:

The deliciously sinister new novel from the No 1 bestselling author of Richard and Judy Book Club pick, Lying in Wait

‘I could probably have been an actress.
It is not difficult to pretend to be somebody else.
Isn’t that what I’ve been doing for most of my life?’

Cordelia Russell has been living on the French Riviera for twenty-five years, passing herself off as an English socialite. But her luck, and the kindness of strangers, have run out.

The arrival of a visitor from her distant past shocks Cordelia. She reacts violently to the intrusion and flees her flat to spend a drunken night at a glittering party. As dawn breaks she stumbles home through the back streets. Even before she opens her door she can hear the flies buzzing. She did not expect the corpse inside to start decomposing quite so quickly . . .

The Review: This for me, was probably one of the books I’ve ‘seen’ the most this year, with so many excited to get their hands on it, after the legendary ‘Unravelling Oliver,’ which contains, for me, one of the best characters I’ve ever read, and also Lying in Wait, which I really really enjoyed too (review here) .

We meet our lead, Cordelia, wandering about the French Riviera, and get a shock as we realise that she’s wandering about to avoid the corpse that’s back in her flat. Okay. So the blurb is an ickle bit misleading (just a smidgen!) It could tell you that this book is less about what happens in the current time, and more of a trip back to Ireland, where we are told the story of someone who has had just the most tragic circumstances befall them, not always to their knowledge. We hear of a mum and dad and their tug of war, we experience one sidedness on it’s greatest level, which gives way to heartbreak and cynicism and anger and all kinds of betrayal (you’ll guess that I don’t really care about the blurb thing, I’m just warning you really!!), bundled together in an amazing way with many tales of folklore told by a father to his daughter leading to lessons and morals, on an Irish island that’s as far removed from civilisation as you can guess.

In general I read with a morbid fascination ( although I do have to admit at some times the pacing waned a little for me) unable to believe that such cruelty and manipulation could go on, both by the family and people of the island, and of course our lead. Liz Nugent’s stories are great at making me a better mum, because geney mac I totally believe ALL of her lead characters would have had a different path in life had they not had parents who they believed (and in most cases who had), wronged them/given up on them (oh lord, I’m reading this out loud in my Carrie from SATC voice again!).

The arrival to the epic (epic epic, in the proper sense of the word, not the way it’s thrown about nowadays!) conclusion is exemplary, shocking and fantastic, with pieces slotting into place seconds before the events happen (for people not as slow as me, perhaps it’s before this;)), and the ending is simply shocking, and one that’ll stay with you. Thanks so much to Penguin Ireland and Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5