Fortune favours the fraud…
When she was thirteen years old, Ada Howell lost not just her father, but the life she felt she was destined to lead. Now, at eighteen, Ada is given a second chance when her wealthy godmother gifts her with an extravagant art history trip to Italy.
In the palazzos of Venice, the cathedrals of Florence and the villas of Rome, she finally finds herself among the kind of people she aspires to be: sophisticated, cultured, privileged. Ada does everything in her power to prove she is one of them. And when a member of the group dies in suspicious circumstances, she seizes the opportunity to permanently bind herself to this gilded set.
But everything hidden must eventually surface, and when it does, Ada discovers she’s been keeping a far darker secret than she could ever have imagined…
Following the death of her beloved step-father, thirteen-year-old Ada’s life is torn apart. She is forced to leave her home of Garreg Las, a historic mansion tucked away in the Welsh hills, and watch her mother auction off her father’s possessions, leaving nothing but fading memories. Ada feels stripped, of her life, her status, her identity and home. And she wants it all back.
Now, at eighteen, Ada is offered an opportunity of a lifetime. Her god-mother gifts her a luxurious art history trip round Italy. She will tour some of the country’s most inspiring and revered locations, soak up the history and prestige. She will also be in very good, very ‘useful’ company – wealthy, influential, well-connected fellow students.
On her arrival, Ada is indeed met with a clutch of moneyed, gilded youths flush with their own privilege and pedigree. They are everything she could have hoped for. These are her people. This is her place. She belongs. She will reclaim her old identity. They will help her rise through the ranks and secure her own ‘elite’ status once more.
Then disaster strikes amid the muddy waterways and stretching spires of Venice. Ada is drawn into a tangled web of lies and deception. But in this there is an opportunity. To bind herself to the Dilettanti students for ever.
Ada is a complex character, a fascinating and addictive person to read about. All at once she is selfish, manipulative, intelligent and furiously ambitious – a true ‘unreliable narrator’. She is always observing, searching for chinks in armour, cracks in facades, secrets to gather and utilise for her own rise in superiority. She is almost parasitic. But at the nexus of her motivations, I think lie feelings of insecurity, inferiority and loss. She’s a very complex character. I enjoyed reading about her immensely.
With intelligent writing, sharp observational prowess and rich, striking characterisation, the author plumbs the depths of privilege, prejudice, injustice and identity. I adored her descriptions of Italy – I was continuously googling the places and names featured as I’ve always wanted to go. And even more now after reading this book. I think you can sense a passion for the country in the prose, and it’s clear that this book has been thoroughly researched. I really enjoyed it!
The Favour is a slow-burning, beautifully-written book which gripped me from the start. Grab yourself a copy and escape to Italy this Spring.
Happy Publication Day to Laura!!
The Favour is available to purchase now in gorgeous hardback!
To grab your copy, you can follow the links below:
Meet the Author:
“I’m the author of “The Favour”, which I like to think of as ‘gilded youth noir ‘ – i.e. it’s about bright young things behaving very badly! It’s inspired by the gorgeousness of Italy but also Wales: I grew up on the edges of the Brecon Beacons, which has given me a life-long love of wild landscapes and ancient myths. As a teenager, I studied Art History in Italy, then Classics at Bristol and Oxford. After five years working in publishing I left to focus on my own writing career, publishing eleven books for children and teenagers under the name Laura Powell. “The Favour” is my first novel for adults and although the murder and mystery aspect is obviously not autobiographical, some of the art history course hi-jinks just *might* be… I live in South London with my husband and two young children, and escape to Wales as often as I can.
Find me on Twitter @LVaughanwrites or visit http://www.lauravaughanauthor.com”
With huge thanks to Amiee, Kirsty and Corvus for my gifted ARC, which I received in exchange for an honest review!