Her Pretty Face

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This was my first Robyn Harding book and I may have gone into it with high expectations due to the acclaim for The Party. Harding’s newest novel is a psychological suspense surrounding the violent secrets two women are hiding in their respective pasts after they befriend each other when both of their sons start at a new private school. Outcast for her son’s actions Frances is desperate for an ally and Kate seems like the model friend until her edges begin to show and we wonder who she really is. Her Pretty Face was an engaging and compulsive read, the POVs were split succinctly between three characters—Frances, Kate’s neglected daughter Daisy and DJ, a voice from the past whose sister was tortured and murdered (by who?! Dun dun dunnnn)—and I did find them all fleshed out and interesting however about half way through the writing began to suffer as predictable plot points were revealed and the story hurried to an ultimately disappointing end. At times, especially in DJs chapters the dialogue seemed rushed and his perspective failed to have the same gravitas and interest that the two women had. Really, this might have worked better without his POV at all.

Despite thoroughly enjoying this quick read I wouldn’t be surprised to learn the author started out writing passionately but then struggled to find the inspiration to connect the dots and finish the novel because that’s definitely how it read. If Harding doesn’t care about one of her characters how are we supposed to? Not to say Her Pretty Face wasn’t good, it was perfectly fine, but you could see it had the potential to get somewhere better and just didn’t quite make it there.

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