Cover Image: Scarlet in Blue

Scarlet in Blue

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Member Reviews

4.5 (rounded up to 5 stars on here)

Thank you NetGalley and Dutton books for the advanced copy in return for my honest review!

Holy smokes, I was not expecting this book to be as impactful or attention grabbing as it was. I went into this book pretty blind, but it grabbed my attention from the start. It was a slow burn and there were parts in it that were definitely repetitive but Murphy has such a beautiful way with words and descriptions. The story has different POV and has a dual timeline, but she does a fantastic job at making sure that you don’t get confused as to who is speaking or when they are speaking.

Murphy wrote such a suspenseful novel that draws you into the characters and their lives. I don’t think that I have ever gotten emotional after reading a psychological thriller but Murphy’s writing was hauntingly beautiful and makes you question your own reality and everything that you read in this novel. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book!

This review will be posted to my Instagram blog (read_betweenthecovers) in the near future!

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This book instantly grabbed my attention and didn’t let go! It had such a haunting, suspenseful vibe throughout that had me hooked. There are so many pieces to the puzzle and you have to decipher what’s real and what’s imagined. The writing is beautiful and all consuming. I couldn’t stop reading. This book startled me, shocked me, broke my heart, and wowed me! If you love psychological thrillers, I’m telling you that this is a must read!!!

Thank you so much Dutton and NetGalley for the advanced reader copy!

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(4.5) Wow! I am so completely surprised by this book. I went into it completely blind and was hooked from the start. I admittedly had no idea where this story was going to go, but I was shocked by the ending - I love it. The entire story is told so beautifully and Murphy has such an incredible way of storytelling. I am a sucker for a multiple POV story and especially loved the inclusion of Henry, the analysts, POV. The three views intertwined together so well in the end but in the beginning, it added so much mystery that I needed to keep reading chapter after chapter. The ending made me emotional and I felt so connected to the characters. Psychological fiction novels are my absolute favorites and I’ll be adding this one to that list of top reads!

Growing up, Blue’s life was full of uncertainty and fleeting connections as her mother moved her from city to city running from HIM. Her mother claims HE is dangerous and after them. But when Blue is 15 she starts to resent this lifestyle and finding herself wanting to set down roots. She begins to pursue her talent for playing the piano and seeking out connections to peers, even though both are against the Rules. As time passes, her eccentric mother seems to be moving more toward unstable and Blue is burdened with deciding how much responsibility falls on her young shoulders. But on the Eve of her biggest event, her life is about to change in more ways than one. This story brings up the topic of trauma and how we choose to handle it and shape our lives.

Thank you to NetGalley and Dutton for early access to this title. I will absolutely be needing a physical copy!

Tw: kidnapping, sexual assault

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This was an interesting and different book. While not a classic thriller, it certainly built suspense. I enjoyed the psychological aspects, and the relationship between Scarlet and Henry reminded me a bit of Silent Patient. I also thought the mother/daughter relationship was a solid addition. Blue’s desire for her mother’s love is so profound, and the push-pull of acceptance and desire that she were different was well written.

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4.5ish stars rounded up. I really enjoyed this- started out kind of quiet but amped up to be a wild ride. This was NOT a thriller, more of a mystery and a great mother/daughter story but it was especially riveting as it went on. Would recommend to mystery fans and those who like parental relationship stories.

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This is a slow burn of a psychological thriller that will leave you questioning everything until the ending. This combined with the short chapters kept me engaged throughout. One thing that threw me off though was how abrupt the ending felt. Without giving too much away, I felt as though it was mostly expository and lost the emotional connection. However it was still gripping and I enjoyed the 4 PoVs.

*Thank you to Dutton and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review*

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This psychological novel is about a mother (Scarlet) and daughter (Blue) who are constantly on the run for their lives. Except Blue doesn’t really know why.

Scarlet sees HIM every few months. When that happens the duo packs up everything, picks a crayon color to start their new identity, and moves to a new area. They eventually end up in a South Haven Michigan. Blue starts to finally make friends and live her life. Scarlet has a secret plan but will they move again before that happens?

I’m a fan of unreliable narrators and Scarlet’s POV was a perfect example of this. I loved how the same scenes would play out from different perspectives. I went into this book mostly blind, and found myself not being able to put it down. It’s a gripping novel!

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The best way to describe Scarlet in Blue is haunting and a slow burn.

I'm all for slow-burn books, but there were points in time I found Scarlet in Blue just slow. I would say the first 1/3 was gripping, the middle of the book was a bit slower, and the last 1/3 was where I couldn't put it down. The ending was great and honestly made the book for me. I will say, the writing is beautiful and Jennifer Murphy has a gift with words.

It does tackle some pretty tough topics too including mental illness, child abuse, and domestic violence, so be forewarned.

Overall, it was a good book.
3.5/5 stars for me.

Thank you to NetGalley and Dutton Books for the digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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Thank you to the author, Penguin Group Dutton, and to Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this e-book to read and honestly review!

I was immediately hooked into this book and its mysterious storyline. The multiple POVs and timelines were done extraordinarily well, and I felt like I had a good sense of who the characters were right away. Or did I?

Blue’s relationship with her mother, Scarlet, was beautiful and heartbreaking all at once. Watching Blue care for her mother in her moments of intense psychological crisis broke my heart, as no teenager should be left to handle and make sense of something like that on their own.

Besides the storyline itself, I really enjoyed all the references to art in its various forms found throughout the book. Whether it was mentions of color, specific painting techniques, or playing the piano, you couldn’t go even a few pages without being exposed to some sort of art in this story, which made it truly unique for me!

I did feel like the book was a little long and it started to drag a bit for me in the middle, but it quickly picked right back up for an ending I truly loved! Highly recommend this book to readers with an interest in mental health, art/ classical music history, and general psychological fiction 👍

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This book will have me thinking for a long time. The ending of this one had me second guessing so much of the book, almost to the point that I have to go back and read it again!

There were parts of this book that moved slowly or were boring. I am not big into art and music so the in-depth studies of artists, musicians, terms got a bit tedious. The switching of POVs was good but I wish there wasn’t the dual timeline. The present timeline gave away twists too early. However, this seemed like such an in-depth look into the psyche of a person and what contributes to our mental health.

I would say this is a literary psychological thriller, where thriller is used a bit loosely but it was very good! I think if you liked Silent Patient, this may be a good read for you!

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Thank you to NetGalley, Penguin Group Dutton, and Jennifer Murphy for the advanced copy of Scarlet in Blue in exchange for my honest review.

Painter Scarlet Lake and her daughter, Blue, live a very unconventional life, constantly on the run from "HIM," who's been chasing them for years. Blue used to view their lives as adventurous and exciting, but at 15-years-old she's starting to resent it. All she wants is to have a normal life.

Their newest "home" is in South Haven, Michigan. Blue is cautiously optimistic, as she finds a friend, a boyfriend, and a piano teacher who helps her develop her talent. Even though Blue is doing well, she can't shake the feeling that something is very wrong with her mother. Unbeknownst to Blue, Scarlet did not choose South Haven at random, and she's got a plan up her sleeve.

I could not put this book down! I love a story told from multiple narrators, and in this one we hear from Blue, Scarlet, and Scarlet's psychoanalyst, Dr. Henry. I particularly enjoyed that there are several instances where we get to read the same scene but from someone else's perspective. Jennifer Murphy writes it so well that I didn't find it repetitive at all.

I've said in previous reviews that I typically don't enjoy books that have an art-heavy focus, and while art is definitely a prevalent topic in this book, I wasn't by any means bored or put off by it.

I'm still on the fence with how I feel about how quickly we find out a certain piece of information, which sounds cryptic but is the best I can do while remaining spoiler free. Ultimately it didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book, and I appreciated having a clear-cut ending.

Scarlet in Blue will be on bookshelves in the US March 8, 2022!

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I wasn't totally sure what to expect from this one, and it started off a little murky. But the short, stacatto sentences and quick reading kept me turning the pages. Before I realized it, I was hooked. This is a slow burn that builds to a satisfying ending. I don't really know what genre this is...maybe literary mystery/psychological suspense? Whatever it is, I wasn't expecting to be blown away!

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Blue Lake has spent the fifteen years of her childhood constantly moving from one town to another with her mother Scarlet, a renowned artist. At a moment’s notice they would leave everything behind and catch a bus to wherever it was going and find somewhere new to live, both of them with new names chosen from a packet of coloured crayons. After a few months in the new town Blue knew it would only be a matter of time before her mother saw ‘HIM’ again, the shadowy man Scarlet is convinced is stalking them, driving past silently in a dark car with tinted windows. Blue has never seen this man and wonders if he is just someone her imaginative mother has conjured up.

Their latest move has taken them to South Haven, a popular summer tourist town on Lake Michigan. What Blue doesn’t know is that Scarlet has chosen this specific town as part of a plan she has been hatching for some time. They arrive in the dead of winter with the lake frozen into huge frozen waves. After settling in to a ramshackle house, Scarlet begins to paint again, paintings in the style of Renoir for which she is well known. She is fascinated by trying to reproduce paints made from natural ingredients, especially the ‘fugitive pigments’ that fade over time, causing the colours on some of the old Masters to lose their vibrancy as they age.

Blue is a talented pianist and, missing the old piano they rescued off the street in their last town, she soon gravitates to the music store where she finds pianos to play and a teacher who recognises her talent and offers to give her free lessons. After making a friend, Hannah who is chatty but undemanding, enrolling in the local high school and falling for a cute guy in her class she starts to feel settled in this town and wishes they could stay. She is however, concerned that her mother is behaving strangely, hearing voices, seing imaginary friends, losing track of time and painting naked in the dark, often the same painting of a yellow boat over and over again. Scarlet has started seeing a psychoanalyst, so Blue hopes that he will be able to help her, but little does she know that he is part of Scarlet’s master plan to finally release themselves from the need to keep running.

Told in the alternating voices of Blue, Scarlet and Scarlet’s psychoanalyst, Henry, this is a tale of love, revenge, art and madness. Scarlet’s love for her daughter and her quest to be free of the past that has ruled their lives is so strong that she will do anything to give her daughter a better future. The characters of mother and daughter and the bonds between them are beautifully drawn as Scarlet wavers between brilliance and madness and Blue longs to be an ordinary teenager. The author’s lovely prose flows effortlessly, flavoured by her wide knowledge of art and her ability to engage the reader in the techniques of the artist. This is a psychological drama that is unique and captivating, making it both an impressive and engrossing novel.

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This fast-paced story is told over several decades from three points of view - Blue, her mother Scarlett and Scarlett’s psychoanalyst Dr. Henry. Blue and Scarlett have been on the move for her entire life, relocating every few months to escape “the shadow man”. Scarlett is a talented artist who hears voices - a fact that she tries to keep concealed from her daughter and her doctor. I loved the use of art terminology throughout this story since I loved my art history classes in college as well. Blue is an artist in her own right, a talented pianist, struggling to find her own way. Some parts of this story were slow in the middle, but overall I didn’t want to put this book down. I was trying to guess how how all these pieces fit together til the very end. It came together brilliantly and reminded me a lot of “The Silent Patient”. Also, throughout it all was the strong and resilient relationship of Blue and Scarlett. Thanks to Netgalley, Jennifer Dutton and Penguin Group Dutton for the ARC. Scarlett in Blue releases March 8th! This review will be posted to my Instagram blog books_by_the_bottle shortly.

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Wow wow wow! This book was absolutely wild!

It’s no secret that I love a multiple POV story and this was no exception. In fact, the multiple POVs are what really made this story, especially when scenes were repeated from a different view (normally this bothers me but it really worked here for specific reasons I can’t dive into because it will lead to spoilers. 😅) I also loved that this story dove into art history/techniques and famous pianists - this added a depth to the story that I wasn’t expecting.

I do have to whine a little, though, because the ending lacked a bit for me. I feel like we really had this intensity building and these layers of plot stacking up only for it to end on, well, a kind of odd note if you ask me. I really loved 90% of this story but that last 10%? Not so much.

I do definitely recommend my mystery/thriller fans adding this to their TBR as it does release on March 8! I gotta give thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Group Dutton for giving me the chance to read this early - it was well worth it! 😍

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I am not typically one for psychological thrillers, but the tie-in to art pulled me to this one. Scarlet and Blue are on the run from Scarlet's traumatic past and finally settle down in South Haven, a small town in Michigan. Blue begins to get a sense of normalcy in her life that she has been longing for, the feeling that she is a normal teenage girl. But little does she knew her mother has intentionally brought them to this small town to face her own demons.

I enjoyed the shifting timelines and perspectives in this novel and the characters kept me intrigued throughout.

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