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The Engagement by Chloe Hooper
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The Engagement (original 2012; edition 2013)

by Chloe Hooper

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562210,933 (2.81)1
Member:seadog
Title:The Engagement
Authors:Chloe Hooper
Info:Scribner (2013), Kindle Edition, 208 pages
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The Engagement by Chloe Hooper (2012)

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With all the complaining I did in my status updates reading this book, you'd think I'd have given it a star and half and been done with it.

No. This book gets four painstakingly earned stars from me. Never had a book worked so hard for my four stars.

Put together... the book is pretty awesome. You will never know how much it actually pains me to say this, because yes, at times I was shaking my head and screaming This is ridiculous! at my Kindle.

But there you have it.

I won't repeat the blurb, but I'll just say that you have no idea whatsoever what is going on for the most part of this book. The book was trying so hard to be creepy in the beginning and I just didn't feel it. Halfway through, it did start to frighten me a bit - it's not that there was anything scary about it, but you get this no-way-out feeling, Alexander's niceties just adding to it rather than soothing it. Liese's paranoia intensifying with every next sentence. Toward the end, she grips you with it so tight you are holding your breath, waiting for what will happen next, and you feel just as trapped as she does.
He humiliates her in very subtle ways - blink and you'll miss it - and she tries to pretend none of it happened. A battle of wills of some sort, and she loses every time. Unintentionally? Deliberately? I just don't know.

Liese is one messed up lady. I hated her and I loved her. Mostly I hated her. Read the book, I promise that you'll feel the same.
Now, the worst part about her, the narrator of this book, is that she lies to you. EVERY. WORD. SHE. SAYS. IS. A. LIE.
Never have I felt so betrayed after reading a book. So manipulated by someone I thought I could trust. But this is why in the end, I felt this book was so awesome.

What was the truth? What was the reality?
The only thing I thought was real? The beginning and the end. Literally, the very last sentence, and you figure it out. Actually, that's a lie, too. You'll see - you don't know if this whole thing was her idea, a farewell gift to Alexander, if they were in on it together, carefully planning it out, or maybe it was all some sort of a twisted fantasy of Alexander's and she was just another pawn.

The only thing you're sure of is the last sentence.

Okay, now I'm confusing myself. Don't trust my review, either.
Anyways, I had many theories, but yep. Failed again.

I'd have loved to know if everything about her past in the letters was made up, or was it all some sort of a very elaborate, very thought out fantasy. You never find out. This book needed an epilogue. Although I'm sure the author intentionally left it off like that. Me = not a happy camper right now. I like my resolution.

The writing was... why I took a star off. I know Miss Hooper is brilliant. I haven't read [b:Tall Man|3901371|Tall Man The Death of Doomadgee|Chloe Hooper|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347581995s/3901371.jpg|3946686], but it's been recommended to me time and time again (I just don't like non-fiction so much).
But some of the things she wrote in this - they just didn't sit right with me. Apparently, (and this wasn't the only thing, but it really stood out to me) Alexander's skin tasted gamey. That's just kind of gross. Am I losing something in translation here? Please, correct me, native speakers.
It's also very flowery, but I can't fault her for that. I'd think she was going for atmospheric, and she pulled it off fairly well in the end.

No graphic sex scenes in this, but yes, Liese talks about sex they had. That was just graphic enough to get the picture of what went on before the farm.

I'm surprised at myself for rating this book so high. While I was reading it, I thought it wouldn't be more than a two-star. And I might have even been swayed by the low average rating of it, and my expectations were low as it is.

But now I totally recommend this book. It's very good, disturbing, messing with your head, and in the end you feel played. Good stuff.

edit: I just read another review and apparently the book was compared to 50SoG. WHAT? It's nothing like a shadey book. Don't expect that from this. ( )
  AriBookzilla | Sep 21, 2013 |
2.5/5 You would think I liked this more since I raced through it in a day but as I closed the book all I could think was "what the fuck?". ( )
  rhiannong | May 15, 2013 |
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It started with a letter he wrote, sent that April care of my uncle's estate agency.
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Book description
This gripping, provocative new novel by one of Australia's finest writers is a psychological thriller for the modern age, one which explores the snares of money and love, and the dark side of erotic imagination. A trap has been set, but how and why? And for whom?
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Englishwoman Liese Campbell visits the Melbourne country mansion of heir Alexander Colquhoun, with whom she shares a no-strings-attached affair until discovering deeper, more erotic aspects of his character.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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