The Last Words of Madeleine Anderson by Helen Kitson

Everything about this book sang to me. Original, gorgeous cover design, a wonderfully intriguing synopsis and after reading the first page I was hooked.

It’s been described as a literary thriller. No high-octane car chases or explosions here though, the highlight of this novel is how deliciously subtle it is. The writing is brilliant, it lured me in almost immediately and I felt tangled up within the plot, not knowing where it was headed, not particularly liking the characters, but yet not willing to be released. I had to read on, I had to know what was going to happen. I was inside Gabrielle’s head, saw everything through her eyes and I felt her every emotion. It is dark and it is deeply unsettling.

Told in the first person by Gabrielle, the author of a novel which was once hailed as literary genius. A bookish one hit wonder, she has isolated herself and exists almost as if on an island. The mysterious, but youthful and handsome Simon begins to break down her barriers, and despite her misgivings and distrust, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to him.

The Last Words of Madeleine Anderson is a fantastic read. Incredibly compelling, filled with delicate intrigue and more layers than Jennifer Aniston’s hair in season 2 of Friends. I’ve been taken entirely by surprise by just how much I’ve enjoyed this book! It would be a perfect book club read as once I’d read the ending (and re-read again and again) I just wanted someone to talk to so I could discuss and examine! Exceptional.

Publication Date: 7th March 2019


Once upon a time Gabrielle Price wrote and published an extraordinary novel.

But twenty years on her literary star has dimmed, her “work of genius” is all but forgotten, and no further novels have materialised. She now lives an unremarkable life: middle-aged, living alone in the sleepy village she grew up in, and working as a housekeeper for the local vicar. Her lonely existence is dominated by memories of her best friend, Madeleine, who died young, in tragic and mysterious circumstances.

Gabrielle’s quiet world is turned upside down when she meets and befriends Simon – young, attractive, a would-be writer, and enthusiastic fan of the astonishing novel that Gabrielle published all those years ago. Charmed and flattered, she recklessly invites him into her home and her heart. But Simon is mysterious and manipulative, and it’s not long before he forces Gabrielle to confront the demons in her past. Gabrielle’s obsession begins to destroy her carefully cultivated life, and she comes to feel increasingly threatened by Simon’s presence. Who is he? Why did he seek her out? And what does he really want?

About the Author

Helen Kitson is an acclaimed poet and lives in Worcester with her husband, two teenaged children and two rescue cats. Her first poetry collection was nominated for the Forward Best First Collection Prize. She has published three other poetry collections and her short fiction has appeared in magazines including Ambit, Feminist Review and Stand. The Last Words of Madeleine Anderson is her first novel.

*I received a physical ARC from the publisher. I was under no obligation to review, and the decision to read was my own. This review forms my honest opinion.

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