Cover Image: Scarlet in Blue

Scarlet in Blue

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Member Reviews

When I first saw this book, I didn’t know what to think as I didn’t read the synopsis. Well, I loved it!
The story is about Blue Lake and her mother, Scarlet a very talented painter who is convinced that ‘HIM’ is following them. They have moved from town to town every time her mother thinks HE has found them. After 15 years Blue is tired of this life. This time she and her mother pack up their few belongings and take a bus to South Haven, Michigan.

Once they settle in, Blue thinks she can have the life she always hoped for, but she begins noticing things about her mother. Her mother has a plan for moving here and I have to say the story had me wondering what was going on. The ending surprised me! This book was a fantastic thriller, and I would recommend it to all my reader friends. Be warned though there are triggers one may want to check out first.

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It took a little while for me to "get into" this book but once I did, it was very good. It gave an insight into the issues faced when a relative becomes mentally unbalanced. The character development was very well done and I will read more of this author's work.

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. Blue is a 15-year-old girl. She and her mom, Scarlet, have been on the run for as long as Blue can remember. Each time they stay in a new town, drawing their assumed names from a bag of crayons. They live in their new location for a few months, until Scarlet feels that HE is getting too close. Then they take off again, leaving most of their possessions behind.

But this time, in South Haven, Michigan, Blue yearns to settle down. She has a boyfriend and a best friend. She has a piano teacher who recognizes her exceptional talent.

Scarlet is an extraordinarily talented artist. She paints portraits, often in the style of the old Masters. She is focused on making the perfect shade of red that will not fade over time. However, she gradually seems to be losing hold of reality. More and more, Blue finds herself giving up her own desires in order to take care of Scarlet.

But how long is she supposed to do this? Are Scarlet’s fears even real? What will happen if Blue thinks of herself for once?

𝙈𝙮 𝙏𝙝𝙤𝙪𝙜𝙝𝙩𝙨: This is an engaging story. I enjoyed reading about Blue as she gradually came into her own and struggled between her deep love for her mother versus her own longings. This story is told through four points of view: The pianist (the reader figures out pretty quickly who this is), Blue, Scarlet, and Henry (Scarlet’s therapist). It was interesting reading some of the same scenes from different viewpoints. This is a great story to read if you love mother-daughter stories or family drama with a bit of suspense. The characters are well-developed and very likable.

My sincere thanks to Dutton Books for my gifted copy. My thoughts are my own.

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I've been trying to figure out why this novel did not click with me. The storyline is different and really creepy. It's interesting to watch the character of Blue grow and question reason for the life she has with her mother, Scarlet. I think the issue is Scarlet--a narrator can be too unreliable, even if she is just one of several. I couldn't suspend my disbelief.

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I was pleasantly surprised by this psychological thriller, set in a small Michigan lake-side town. It was a page turner-I finished it a day after starting it! There is a dual timeline told from multiple points of view. Scarlet and her daughter, Blue can't stay put in a town for more that 9 months due to Scarlet's mysterious past. Pick this one up if you are looking for a psychological novel with themes of art and music and an unreliable narrator.

Thank you NetGalley, Dutton from Penguin Random House and Jennifer Murphy for an Advanced Copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Thank you to Dutton Books/Penguin Group and Jennifer Murphy for the ARC of this book.

I didn't know much about the story going in but this book gripped me from the beginning and I absolutely devoured it. I loved so many things about it, but my favorite was trying to put the puzzle pieces together with the unreliable narrators sharing their unique perspectives on the story. Blue was a wonderful daughter and friend, despite the struggles she faced with her Mom and their runaway lifestyle. I ached for Scarlet and her past and I was guessing until the very end. I highly recommend this one!

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3.5 rounded up

I’m not sure I’ve read a book that started with so many short sentences. It was actually distracting enough that I wondered if I could keep reading if the writing kept going this way. Luckily the format became more succinct and I was sucked in.

The writing in this novel is quite beautiful and the way that mental health is dealt with felt honest. However, the middle third of this novel didn’t quite match the cadence and intensity of the the beginning and end. I did struggle to feel as engaged in that section but still found this quite an interesting read with more insight than I’d expected within its pages.

I think anyone who enjoys beautiful writing and has a connection to Michigan will enjoy this story.

Thanks to Netgalley and
for the digital arc in exchange for an honest review.

(Will post to Instagram soon and add link at that time)

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What a page turner!!
This was so good I couldn't put it down. I loved the multiple POVs and how we got the chapters into the future. I loved how artistic and eccentric the characters were which helped to make the story feel more believable. Great ending as well!! Would definitely recommend.

Thank you for this earc in exchange for an honest review.

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This was such an interesting story about family, secrets and art.

It follows Scarlet and her daughter, Blue as they move back to a town in Michigan. Scarlet’s a painter and lives her life in a very different way. She starts seeing a local psychoanalyst, Henry, where she begins to share her history.

The story is told in 4 perspectives - Scarlet, Blue, Henry and “the Pianist”. As the book progresses you learn more about Scarlet, and what led to her behaving the way she does. You also learn about Blue, the ways she must take care of her mom and her passion for the piano.

This was such an interesting story and felt like both family drama and mystery. You work to put together the pieces of the story and understand the big event that is teased at the beginning.

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Blue Lake, a rising pianist and her mother Scarlet, an artist, are on the run yet again, like so many other times in Blue’s 15 years of life. They were running from him, the one her mother referred to as the shadow man. The more they ran, the more Blue questioned if he was even real. Their newest destination? South Haven, Michigan. Blue starts to make friends and even start working with a piano teacher. Life is finally going well, until it isn’t. Her mother is starting to act strangely; hearing voices, thinking she’s gone on trips when she never left, and painting in the nude. The move to Michigan was just a small part in Scarlet’s master plan, and Blue has no clue what is coming.
Thank you Netgalley, Jennifer Murphy, Penguin Group Dutton and Emily Canders for the opportunity to read and review this book. I was immediately drawn to this book as it’s a Psychological Thriller as well as the fact that it takes place in Michigan. I was completely sucked into this book! I had a hard time putting it down! There were so many twists in this book it was crazy! Very captivating and well written. The story is told by three individuals point of view, but it flows well. Word of caution, there is mention of mental illness, death, and abuse. I went into this book completely blind, but I really enjoyed it! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

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This book was a delightful surprise! A truly beautiful story that left me enchanted.

Scarlet Lake and her daughter Blue, live an artistic life (Scarlet a painter, Blue a pianist) but they also live a very transient life as well. They are always moving from town to town because of the Shadow Man.
While it seems like an adventure when is Blue is younger, she begins to tire of it as she grows into her teens and soon begins to resent her mother.
Blue adores her eccentric, artistic mother even when she despises her. Their relationship is a complicated but also a beautiful one.

Scarlet's past haunts them both until Scarlet decides to put an end to her fear and confront her past. What ensues is both heartbreaking but also freeing and changes the course of both of their lives.

This book was beautifully written and delicately handled mental health and duality themes.

Thank you to Jennifer Murphy for writing such a beautifully, haunting story and for igniting a long dormant love o art.

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This book was quite the page-turner, and I couldn’t help but devour it!

Blue Lake and her mother, Scarlet, have always been on the run. Scarlet insists that they are being chased by HIM, but as Blue gets older, she begins to doubt that this mysterious man she’s never seen even exists. Blue resents her mother for their nomadic lifestyle, but when they land in South Haven, Michigan, she finally feels like maybe they will settle down for good. Little does she know, her mother is devising a plan to rid them of the shadow of her past.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this psychological thriller and the inclusion of mental health both from the perspective of the character going through the illness and the daughter of said character. Scarlet and Blue didn’t have a typical mother/daughter relationship. At times, Blue would prioritize her mother’s well being, whether it was for her mother’s benefit or her own, but I think it said a lot about Blue and her wanting to keep their little family together. Scarlet was really the only constant in Blue’s life, and despite her downfalls as a mother and past trauma, Scarlet did what she felt was necessary to protect herself and her daughter.

I was really surprised by the twists in this story and thought the way in which everything was revealed was well paced. Overall, it was a fantastic book and I highly recommend it!

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Scarlet in Blue by Jennifer Murphy
I really had no idea what I was getting into when I started reading Scarlet in Blue. All I knew is that it was a psychological thriller set in my home state. I'm sold based on those two facts!
Scarlet in Blue follows teenager, Blue Lake and her mom, Scarlet who is a renowned fine artist. For as long as she can remember, Blue and her mom have constantly been moving to one place to another. They most recently move to a beach town off Lake Michigan called South Haven, Michigan. Blue starts to make friends and enjoys secret piano lessons and is hoping that they will finally settle down and stay in South Haven. But Scarlet is dealing with demons and is always on the lookout for "Him." Yikes. Who is he and why is he chasing Scarlet and Blue?
Being told in multiple POV's really makes this story as you get multiple perspectives. Going in blind is your best bet too! There is a lot of art talk but it was never boring or dragging. It adds so much to it actually! Do yourself a favor and pick this one up!

Thank you Netgalley and the publishers for my copy of Scarlet in Blue in exchange for my review.

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Every nine months Scarlet tells Blue that they have to leave the town where they’re staying because HE has found them. They pack what they can carry, change their names, and take a bus to another town Now 15, Blue is becoming annoyed with running, especially when she’s no longer certain that there is a reason to run. She wants friends, to know that her life has impacted because otherwise, she would just be nothing. Little does she know how different Scarlet intends their life in South Haven, Michigan to be.

Scarlet in Blue by Jennifer Murphy is a jigsaw puzzle of a novel with pieces given to the reader slowly to see where they fit. Even when something doesn’t seem to fit, the reader is fascinated to see that it does. And, when answers seem obvious, it soon becomes apparent that they are not.

For any reader who is fascinated by psychological fiction, Scarlet in Blue is a tour de force. While it’s not a psychological thriller per se with the reader on the edge of their seat, it is a mystery, leading the reader through a maze and keeping them guessing. It certainly did me. I did piece together the bits but knowing what was happening didn’t end the thrill of the read for me because I needed to know all of the why’s. Murphy’s storytelling and beautiful artist’s prose that often, especially in the end passages of the novel, bordered on poetic add to the pleasure of the read. The plot is taut yet twisty and completely well thought out.

I loved the use of synchronicity. While some of it is engineered by Scarlet, some is also engineered by the universe. The parallels in relationships are also intriguing with how differently “being one’s world” can play out depending on the origin of the desire.

Despite the fact that the beginning of the novel confused/frustrated me a little , I soon forgot that as I became immersed. I was so engaged that the last half of the novel seemed to pass in a blink. These were characters I won’t soon forget and such excellent storytelling that I intend to read more by this author.

An excellent read.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Did not finish this book. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with this, it just wasn’t for me. The narration of our 15 year old character Blue was just so pretentious that it wasn’t believable and it took me out of the story. I just couldn’t get past the narrative voices unfortunately!

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3.5 ⭐

I enjoyed this one, it had such a creepy eerie vibe to it and I really enjoyed the writing too. However, I did find it slow throughout most of the book

I usually don't like mulitple pov's like this one had but I feel like for this story while it did drag on for a while the pov's kinda helped if that makes sense.

I would definitely read again from this author in the future.

The cover is also so pretty in my opinion lol

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Blue Lake has spent much of her childhood being dragged from city to city by her mother, a world renowned but wacky artist named Scarlet who is constantly battling her own demons. After countless cities, Blue & her mother find themselves in South Haven, a sleepy town her mother has a bit of a history with. As Blue starts to settle in, her mom becomes more and more unhinged, and Blue's battle to stay in one place seems like it's going to be another lost cause. Meanwhile, Dr. Henry is trying desperately to piece tother Scarlet's history before she up and moves again.

I really struggled with this one initially. It's extremely off beat which is a little out of my normal genre. I generally love books with multiple timeline settings, but in this particular care I felt like it worked against the book. Jumping from years before the murder, to years after the murder, back to months before the murder, in combination with the alternating perspectives, was just a little too all over the place for me.

That being said, multiple times throughout this book I felt like the print medium doesn't really do the story justice. It's just too all over the place for text, and it was definitely a bit long. Still, it seemed like every chapter there was a scene that I could imagine being fleshed out beautifully in a Netflix adaptation. For example, there's a section told by Scarlet where she thinks Dr. Henry is writing down one thing, and then later in his section you find out he did not write that, he wrote something completely different. It wasn't super well done in plain text, but I could easily see it making a very intriguing adaptation if you're seeing them basically simultaneously.

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This book held me in rapt attention from beginning to end as we alternate between the perspectives of Scarlet Lake, a woman who’s been on the run from some mysteriously menacing figure for years, her teenager daughter Blue, and Dr. Henry Williams, the therapist that she begins seeing when mother and daughter arrive in a scenic small town in Michigan. As the story unfolds, we gradually learn what Scarlet has been running from and how her life and Henry’s are interwoven, and it’s a harsh and chilling story that comes with plenty of trigger warnings.

I really enjoyed the writing in this book. The beginning is a little tricky to get into because of the shifting timelines and alternating perspectives that are shrouded in secrets and cryptic, foreboding hints of a murder to come, but it soon lulls you into a soft and lyrical rhythm that soon begins to feel ominous as we start to have doubts about Scarlet’s precarious mental state. Overall I enjoyed this book!

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“We killed him today.”

It’s been a while since a book hooked me from the first line. The story comes off somewhat like a ticking time bomb. A cat and mouse tale where the mouse doesn’t know it’s being hunted, making every interaction and manipulation very clear to us as the readers.

The author used a different writing style, than I’m used to, a lot of short to-the-point sentences which seemed to add to the fast paced nature of the story. And because both Scarlet and Blue are artists, Scarlet a painter and Blue a musician, they tend to see things from that lens. It was interesting to see how the author differentiated how each of them saw the world.

This was a great psychological thriller with big twists and a great premise. The main characters have so many secrets, and it was fun to get closer and closer to uncovering the truth as I went along. Also the relationship between mother and daughter, which has become so codependent but strained at the same time due to their constant uprooting and moving. Overall it was a wild ride and a fun, fast paced read.

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Here's what boxes need to be checked for me to make something a 5 star read :

- Hooked right away
- Never bored
- Element of surprise/twists
- Memorable characters
- Uniqueness
- Beautiful writing

This book check alllllll those boxes.

I went into this blind and so should you. The way the author wrote these characters and this plot... It's one of the weirdest things I've ever read, but I will never forget it.

Thanks to Dutton and Netgalley for the ARC. This book is out on Tuesday!

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