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Skin Deep (2017)

by Liz Nugent

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958289,222 (3.6)4
Cordelia Waldron has been living on the C te d'Azur for ten years, posing as an English heiress. Now her money is gone and her luck is running out. Desperate to escape her grotty flat and grim reality, Cordelia spends a decadent night at the Negresco. But surrounded by the young, beautiful and privileged she feels her age and her poverty. As dawn breaks she stumbles home through the back streets. Even before she opens her door she can hear the flies buzzing. It hasn't taken long for the corpse in her bedroom to commence decomposing . . . Liz Nugent's novel is the dark, twisted and shocking story of what takes Cordelia from an island childhood in Ireland to ruin in Nice.… (more)
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» See also 4 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Confronting I did not believe I could read about so much of a self centred, evil person. Her actions killed multiple people, shattered famlies, brothers, lovers and people trying to help her.
I thought her father caused the problem by focusing his love on her but I feel she was just born evil. What did she really want in life? To live by the sea. Whell she died by the sea.... ( )
  BryceV | Oct 13, 2022 |
“You were tied to wrong, wedded to it.” Cordelia Russell to a T. I don’t think I’ve ever disliked a main character quite so much. Evil, but wow, utterly compelling, Cordelia had me spellbound from the very start, right to the end. Shock, horror, disgust, disbelief, dislike…these are the emotions that roar around your head as you read about the life of a beautiful, beautiful young girl, orphaned at a very young age. At no point…even over the forty-plus-year span of the story… is it possible to feel any love, sympathy or even empathy for this character, who learnt manipulation (with tragic consequences) at a very young age and more or less set the course of her life by it. At no point do you find yourself actually wanting to like her…which makes this book all the more compelling.

This is a chilling psychological thriller about a girl, then a teenager, then a woman…at whatever stage of her life, her impact on those around her, those who loved her (there were, undeservedly, a few) was devastating and tragic. It’s hard to imagine anyone as cold, unfeeling and selfish as Cordelia, but Nugent does the job absolutely brilliantly. She hooks you in immediately when she sets the scene of Cordelia standing by a blood-soaked body, after which it’s almost impossible to put the book down until the last word.

Nugent is not an author I’ve read before, but she’s earned a place in my list of authors to explore further…and soon!

This was an excellent, well-written and truly memorable story. ( )
  Librogirl | Mar 13, 2022 |
Wow, I just LOVE Liz Nugent. The characters and stories she creates... They are so dark and compelling.

I have a lot of thoughts about this one, although I fail to put them into words, but the main thing that stays with me, and has been staying with me while I was reading, is 'women should have a right for abortion'. Seriously. That whole atrocity, that nightmare of a life, could have been avoided if a woman could just terminate an unwanted pregnancy. It's that fucking easy. ( )
  alissee | Dec 8, 2021 |
It took me a while to get through this because I had it on audio. I enjoyed it and loved the ending ( )
  karenshann | Dec 31, 2019 |
Is beauty only skin deep? In this case, yes!

This book is completely not what I expected and I mean that in the best possible way. It totally surprised me. The blurb doesn't even skim the surface of what this book is about. Where I was expecting some sort of psychological thriller, this is actually the story of the life of a woman who may or may not have been bad from birth, or maybe she was just a product of her upbringing. Either way, Delia O'Flaherty is one unpleasant, but utterly compelling, protagonist.

The book opens in the South of France where Cordelia, as she is now known, has a dead person in her flat. From there we go back to a childhood on a small Irish island where her father adored her at the expense of all others. She then tells her story to us in a most matter of fact way, despite some of the cruel and twisted things that she does.

I admit that when I started reading Skin Deep I wasn't at all sure it was going to be a book for me. The oddness of Delia's childhood, combined with the interspersion of folk tales, didn't seem like quite my thing and, as I said previously, not what I expected. But then this young girl's story drew me in, reeling me in bit by bit until I was utterly captivated by it. I couldn't help but be gripped by the way she lurched from life to life, wreaking havoc and reinventing herself along the way.

Delia has to be one of the most destructive, most uncaring, most inherently devious and twisted characters in a book that I have read. And yet, part of me still felt sorry for her at times, wanted her to have a better life, wanted to witness her redemption. This is testament to Nugent's writing that she was able to leave me with such divided feelings about this character.

I read Skin Deep with a kind of horrified awe. Delia has to be one of the most fascinating characters I have ever come across and this is certainly a character driven book. But the storyline is also inspired, clever, twisted and deliciously dark. It would make an amazing TV adaptation as I think it was very visual and the settings evocative, from the wilds of the barely inhabited island to the opulence of the French Riviera.

In short, read this book. It will delight and thrill you, sicken and shock you. It's fabulous! ( )
  nicx27 | Nov 16, 2018 |
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Cordelia Waldron has been living on the C te d'Azur for ten years, posing as an English heiress. Now her money is gone and her luck is running out. Desperate to escape her grotty flat and grim reality, Cordelia spends a decadent night at the Negresco. But surrounded by the young, beautiful and privileged she feels her age and her poverty. As dawn breaks she stumbles home through the back streets. Even before she opens her door she can hear the flies buzzing. It hasn't taken long for the corpse in her bedroom to commence decomposing . . . Liz Nugent's novel is the dark, twisted and shocking story of what takes Cordelia from an island childhood in Ireland to ruin in Nice.

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'Once I had cleared the bottles away and washed the blood off the floor, I needed to get out of the flat.'

Cordelia Russell has been living on the Côte d'Azur for ten years, posing as a posh English woman fallen on hard times. But her luck is running out. Desperate to escape her grotty flat and grim reality, Cordelia spends a night at a glittering party. Surrounded by the young, beautiful and privileged she feels her age and her poverty. As dawn breaks she stumbles home through the back streets. Even before she opens her door she can hear the flies buzzing. It hasn't taken long for the corpse in her bedroom to commence decomposing ...

Liz Nugent's novel is the dark, twisted and shocking story of what takes Cordelia from an island childhood in Ireland to ruins in Nice.
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