Cover Image: The Image of Her

The Image of Her

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Member Reviews

I enjoyed this book, and it kept me guessing for a while - I thought, initially, that Stella and Connie were connected in a quite different way to that which was revealed!  It was refreshing to read something with a new idea, and the reason for their connection was both surprising and strange.
I found the passages where Stella is addressing Connie directly a little hard-going, with the constant use of 'I'm talking to you Connie' a little intrusive. It pulled me out of a story I would have been happy to be pulled properly ito. The secondary characters - the delivery guy; Stella' truly awful mother, the domestic staff in Connie's world, were beautifully drawn and as rounded as the main characters, if not more so. In fact, the side story of the maids was almost more compelling than the main plotline and I'd love the author to examine this further in a future work.
I'd certainly read this author again, and it is only the incessant interruption of 'you, Connie' that left it at less than 5 stars.
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In “The Image of Her” we meet Stella, a 39-year-old woman who has suffered a recent trauma and now lives alone and cut off from the world. In her possession she has a letter from a man called Mark, and her outlet to the world is the social media profile of Mark’s wife Connie. The chapters move back and forth between the two women as their stories unfold.

Connie’s life with her husband and two young children in Dubai initially seems very far-removed from that of Stella, who is based in the UK and has been acting as carer for her increasingly abusive elderly mother. However, it is clear that there is a link between them although it isn’t revealed until later in the story. 

While I liked the structure of the book, I found the two parallel stories rather inconsistent and they didn’t always hold my interest fully. Some poignant issues were raised but I didn’t find myself as deeply drawn into the story as I expected. Having said that, it certainly isn’t conventional and the writing was lovely.

My thanks to the author, NetGalley, and the publisher for the arc to review.
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The Image of Her is a suspenseful and gripping story. There are two protagonists, two women - Connie and Stella.  There are lots that break them apart, like the different countries they live in and thousands of miles are between them. Even if there is such a massive distance between them, you will undercover the mysterious connection between them. It will be a very emotional journey when you notice the cruelty of our own world, how ruthless we could become and how easily we can hurt others. 
Even if the writing style is a bit specific, I am impressed about the construction of this book, the way how Sonia Velton slowly invites you to step by step the pages of this fiction literature. It is worth mentioning that it is a book that will stay with you for a longer time, will fall into your heart and memories and even maybe change your point of view - who knows. It is because of the moral dilemma, cruelty, well-constructed plot, twists and turns - all together brilliantly manipulated into a compelling novel. Very original and gripping story. 
The perfect reading for a late autumn evening, highly recommended. 

Thank you, NetGalley and Quercus Books, for an ARC of this book.
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I really enjoyed this book and didn't get the twist until it happened. The premise was good and the characters were believable.
Connie had moved to Dubai and it was interesting to read about the realities of that and how difficult it can be. I felt sorry for the housekeeper who was treated badly and felt she had no way to escape. However I felt more sorry for Stella and her missed opportunities because of her overbearing mother. She seemed to have been dealt all of the bad cards. I was glad she was beginning to make tentative steps to improve her life. 

Thank you to Netgalley for this gift of this book.
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It took me a little while to get into this book, but once I did I was enthralled. Two women connected, but how?

Stella has been a prisoner in her own home. Caring for her mother who has dementia has left her feeling isolated and trapped. Her relationship with her mother is complex. A cruel and heartless woman, she has ruined Stella's life.

Connie is living in Dubai with husband Mark, and children, Alice and Ruben. From her social media it appears she lives an idyllic life, but this is not the truth. She is disturbed by the injustice she sees around her, and increasingly distant from her husband.

We're given little nuggets of information throughout the story, but the connection between the women is certainly one I could never have guessed.

The writing is sublime, nuanced and full of poignancy. The closing words certainly brought a tear to my eye.

The Image of Her is definitely a slow burner but a wonderful story that captivated me and most certainly a book I would read again.
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I really enjoyed this book.  It took a little while to get to, as there are two distinct storylines and I couldn't really understand the connection.  When it is revealed though - Wow!  Highly recommended.
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This book was not what I was expecting. It was thought provoking and emotional in places and beautifully written. However I found my interest waning at times and didn't engage fully with it. It was a good read overall but too slow a burn for me and emotive subjects. The writing and characters are good. It was more a psychological thriller rather than a 'thriller'. I would try something by Sonia Velton again in the future. 

The description by the author:

Stella and Connie have never met and never will. So why is Stella stalking Connie's every move on social media?

Stella lives with her mother, a smothering narcissist. Her world has shrunk since the terrible accident that left her a shut-in. Her days are broken up by deliveries from a courier that she always returns and by the irresistible urge to watch the life of a stranger - beautiful Connie - unfold on social media. But why is she so drawn to a woman she has never met? And what caused the accident she doesn't want to speak about?

Connie is an expat living in Dubai with her partner, Mark, and their two children. On the face of it she wants for nothing and yet she fears that her husband is turning into a stranger. When she finds herself drawn into the lives of the local domestic helpers, she discovers that there are dark secrets in this glittering city.

Two women with nothing in common except a twist of fate. What happens when their lives collide? 

Thanks to Netgalley and Quercus publishers for an Arc in exchange for an honest review
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This book gripped me from the very beginning with its themes of isolation, loneliness and dealing with a relative with whom you have a destructive relationship but then they end up dependent upon you. It covers difficult subjects sensitively and the way in which incidents in the story link two families with very different lives, highly recommended,
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A suspenseful, gripping read that was impossible to put down, I would absolutely recommend this book, it is brilliant
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What an amazing book!! To start with I found the style hard to cope with but then I got totally drawn in. And when the connection between Connie & Stella is revealed the story then pulls at your heartstrings!
A truly good read.
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Press, release. 

I do know I’m not made of glass, Connie. I do know that. Most of the time. Bad thoughts again. I can’t help it. Still, if I’m going to get to know you , I suppose you’ll want to know all about me too. The thing is, no one knows what really happened. No one at all. Not Mark, not the doctors, no one. Well, she knew, but she’s dead, and the dead always keep their secrets. Don’t they, Connie?

This is a beautifully written novel in the style of upmarket literary fiction. Full of intrigue, tragedy and gorgeous phrases. From the minute I started reading it, I was intrigued. How are these two women connected? Is it something to do with Mark - Connie's husband? He is a rather shady character.

The contrast between Connie's life in Dubai with its sunshine and vast open spaces and Stella's insular life was a clever device and it made the divide between them even stronger. I just could not fathom out the connection. What had happened to them and why was Stella stalking her on social media? But it wasn't all about that connection that gripped me.

Stella's relationship with her mother - who develops dementia - is complicated and heart breaking. Her delivery driver is her only real connection with the outside world. I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see if anything romantic would develop with that. I just wanted some love for her. Some escape from her trauma and quiet life.

In a dual time line Connie is also struggling with life. The school playground politics, a foreign land, no support network and trying to rediscover her identity outside motherhood. When she agrees to a housekeeper Connie finds herself entangled in the plight of exploited workers. This was a fascinating strand to the narrative as I knew very little about it. Tense. unsettling and exciting. I found myself researching more about this aspect after I finished the book. 

An authentic story filled with astute observations of finding one's place in a modern life. Complex characters that engage you throughout and a fascinating insight into the Ex Pat life in the Middle East. Sonia is an incredible writer and I highly recommend this novel.
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Thank you Netgalley galley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book for an honest review..

Stella lives with her controlling mother who has dementia Connie lives in Dubai with her husband and 2 children. Both women are on a tragic collision course that is both shocking and an awakening for one of these women.

The book is well written from both Stella and Connie’s perspective. Both women were lonely and unfulfilled in their  lives. There are various sub plots within the story.  However there were more questions than answers in Connie’s life especially her time in Dubai . The tragedy as it unfolds in itself is an ethical and moral dilemma which will have you thinking about the book long after you have read the last page. 5 stars
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I really enjoyed reading this - it took a bit of settling in to, as there are two distinct storylines and the crossover between the two is deliberately vague. But when the answers come, wow, they pack a punch! 
Connie and her husband Mark live in Dubai with their two children, adjusting to the expat lifestyle and all the luxury that it brings. Meanwhile in the UK, Stella is living an isolated existence, her overbearing mother has died and she can't face the outside world. 
The book alternates between the two women's storylines and keeps them quite separate even though we know there is something that brings the two households together. 
The story tackles some big issues including the reality of having staff in the Middle East and the effects that an oppressive childhood can have,
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Brilliantly written thriller.

I really enjoyed this book, I love it when books are written with two separate stories that are somehow interlinked.
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A clever plot where you figured out where it was heading but had no idea how it was going to get there.  Good twists and turns kept you guessing until the end. The female characters were engaging and believable and I enjoyed the side plot with the deliveries . Unfortunately I found the ending a little flat after all the build up but enjoyed it overall.
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What I had read so far before the book sadly expired had me totally hooked . I was facinated by Stella & Connie & how their lives were connected ,but sadly due to my health taking a rough turn I didn't get to complete the Book so I will now have to hope some friend or family member will kindly buy me a copy so that I can complete reading it !
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I have quite mixed views of this book.  It reveals itself slowly so I started off thinking it was a bog-standard thriller or the "which one is the bad girl" type but then got drawn in as it was slowly revealed that something else entirely was going on.  Very original story but I felt some of issues in Dubai - the migrant workers being exploited - were skimmed over as a filler and I didn't particularly like either of the main characters. However, this is an interesting and original read that really wasn't what I thought it would be.
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The Image of Her is the first book I’ve read from Sonia Velton and I thought it was absolutely superb. As I enjoyed this contemporary, suspenseful and very original novel so much, I will definitely read Blackberry and Wild Rose, her historical debut.
This is the tale of two very different women, who live thousands of miles apart and in very different circumstances.  The narrative weaves between the reclusive Stella, in the U.K and Connie, who lives with her husband and children in Dubai.  In Stella’s chapters she ‘speaks’ to Connie about her life, the toxic relationship she had with her mother and later, her struggle coping with her mother’s dementia.  As Stella observes aspects of Connie’s life through social media it seems she is envious of  Connie’s lifestyle and privilege.  However, all is not what it seems and the underside of some aspects of Dubai life is also skilfully woven into the plot.  It is clear the destiny of these two women is somehow connected and I was well into the story before I had an inkling of what that could be.  

This clever and compelling novel slowly reveals its secrets and there are many twists and turns along the way.  The characters of Stella and Connie are so well drawn and believable, this reader felt enormous sympathy for them both and the writing is simply superb.  I loved this book and would highly recommend.

I would like to thank the publisher, Quercus and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Wowee is my first reaction., What an amazing book.  The story begins with the first chapter and keeps you on the edge trying to figure everything out throughout. It covers many topics that are difficult to write about but in a wonderful encompassing way. All the characters are so real! The lives of Stella in the U.K. going through her issues of a controlling mother who has dementia and then Connie in Dubai who is trying to please everyone and defend the defenceless.  Sonia Velton has captured these two brilliantly and woven real life situations around them both.
If I could give 10 stars out of 5 I would, this was such a fantastically compelling story.
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What a great book from an author I haven’t read anything of before. However that’s about to change and now I look forward to reading more of her stuff!
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