I’m delighted to be on the blog tour today for Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech. My thanks go to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for inviting me along to take part.
This is the first novel I’ve read by Louise Beech, and it abso-flipping-lutely will not be the last. I found Call Me Star Girl to be utterly unputdownable, and as a trying-hard-to-be-a writer myself, I was completely captivated by her writing style. I was drawn in incredibly quickly and I felt as if I was on a very dark rollercoaster; my emotions toyed with, my train of thought jarred and looped at will. I loved it!
The plot had me instantly. An unsolved murder of a pregnant girl, a runaway mother, an abandoned daughter, a gorgeous perfume bottle, a mystery caller, all consuming love and oh, so many secrets tumbling forth. It all comes to a head one night when Stella, a local radio DJ takes to the airwaves to deliver her final show; the theme of which is ‘secrets’.
The structure of the story provided the perfect pacing, with huge gasp reveals spaced out with chapters from the point of view of either Stella or her Mum, Elizabeth, which focus the reader in either the present day or the past. The writing is incredibly tight, there isn’t a single word wasted, and as such I devoured the novel. I hope that some day I can write this well (actually, I’ll take half as well!)
I also loved that the writing is incredibly atmospheric. Rightly or wrongly, at times I had mind’s eye visions of werewolves lurking on the periphery of the city streets in old black and white films, of Heathcliff and attics; all that is incredibly dark and gothic. The writing took me to those places, gave me those visions and that sense through it’s striking imagery.
The other very clear theme running throughout this novel is the idea of motherhood. Elizabeth abandons her daughter, and the scenes where Stella is coming to terms with this are heartbreaking, and the devastation from this betrayal echoes down the years to present day. The thread of love, mothers and daughters is pulled and played with at length, and there was so much in this that I found inspiring for some of my own work.
I’m envious of everyone who has yet to read this, and I cannot recommend more highly that you do! I, for one will now be moving Louise’s earlier novels as close to the top of my tbr as I can possibly manage!
Tonight is the night for secrets…
Pregnant Victoria Valbon was brutally murdered in an alley three weeks ago – and her killer hasn’t been caught. Tonight is Stella McKeever’s final radio show. The theme is secrets. You tell her yours, and she’ll share some of hers. Stella might tell you about Tom, a boyfriend who likes to play games, about the mother who abandoned her, now back after twelve years. She might tell you about the perfume bottle with the star-shaped stopper, or about her father … What Stella really wants to know is more about the mysterious man calling the station … who says he knows who killed Victoria, and has proof. Tonight is the night for secrets, and Stella wants to know everything…
With echoes of the chilling Play Misty for Me, Call Me Star Girl is a taut, emotive and all-consuming psychological thriller that plays on our deepest fears, providing a stark reminder that stirring up dark secrets from the past can be deadly…
About the Author
Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The follow-up, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.
*I was provided with a copy of Call Me Star Girl, however the decision to read was my own and this review forms my honest opinion.