Ruth Ware ~ The It Girl
April Coutts-Cliveden was the first person Hannah Jones met at Oxford.
Vivacious, bright, occasionally vicious, and the ultimate It girl, she quickly pulled Hannah into her dazzling orbit. Together, they developed a group of devoted and inseparable friends—Will, Hugh, Ryan, and Emily—during their first term. By the end of the second, April was dead.
Now, a decade later, Hannah and Will are expecting their first child, and the man convicted of killing April, former Oxford porter John Neville, has died in prison. Relieved to have finally put the past behind her, Hannah’s world is rocked when a young journalist comes knocking and presents new evidence that Neville may have been innocent. As Hannah reconnects with old friends and delves deeper into the mystery of April’s death, she realizes that the friends she thought she knew all have something to hide…including a murder.
As an avid Inspector Morse fan, I can’t help but associate Oxford with murder. The minute I saw Ruth Ware had written a book set here, I was very excited.
The atmosphere of an Oxford College is perfectly captured, with the traditional way of the University contrasting sharply with the modern vibes of Instagram.
April and Hannah are wonderful characters and their love-hate relationship is fascinating to watch. They are both relatable: perfectionism, imposter syndrome and a will to prove one’s worth… not to mention that one is an actress and one a book lover!
The dual timeline provides several sides to the story, helping us to work out the mystery. While I did work out who it was and how, I wasn’t completely correct as to the why. The red herrings are suitably placed to provide doubt, which adds to the anticipation of the story.
The ending feels a little far fetched, which is a shame, and Hannah does start to become a little irritating as we hear more about her life, but overall it’s a great story and the best Ruth Ware book I have read so far.
I was provided with a proof copy by Simon & Schuster. Opinions my own.