Prather’s Pick: A fascinating novel
“The Perfect Girl” is a novel written by Gilly Macmillan who lives in Bristol, England. It’s a suspense novel, and as with other thrillers, there’s a twist. The leading character of the novel is Zoe Maisey, a teenage girl.
The novel begins on a Sunday evening at Holy Trinity Church at Westbury-on-Trym in Bristol, England. That’s where Zoe and Lucas Kennedy are getting ready to make their debut, playing pianos in synchrony. The proceeds will aid the Family Bereavement Society. Who could have known that six hours later Zoe’s mother Maria will be found dead? This first chapter is narrated by Zoe. Chapters are told by various points of view.
The novel moves to Monday morning. It’s narrated by Sam, a criminal solicitor. It’s 8:00 A.M. and Tessa is there with Sam. Tessa is married to Richard, an alcoholic. Tessa is also Maria’s sister. The phone rings. It’s an office worker who tells Sam that a teenage girl has shown up at the office. It’s Zoe, but Sam knows her as Zoe Guerin.
Sam knows Zoe because he represented her in a previous case. The office worker says that Zoe’s mother was found dead last night.
Then the novel switches back to Sunday night. Tessa is working the camera at the concert. From her the reader learns that Maria was married to Philip Guerin, a farmer. Zoe was born shortly after. Maria put all of energies into Zoe who was able to pick out a tune on the piano at age three.
Just as the concert begins, a man appears in the center of the aisle. It’s Tom Barlow, and he knows Zoe because she killed his daughter Amelia in a traffic accident while under the influence. Two other teens were killed, too. Zoe served her time, changed her last name, and started life again. Now Tom Barlow has found her and is having a meltdown.
Chris Kennedy is at the concert, too. He’s Maria’s second husband. Zoe calls it her “Second Chance Family.” He and Maria had baby Grace. Lucas lives with them as Chris is his father. The problem is that Chris doesn’t know about Zoe’s past. Now he will have to know.
When Barlow causes the scene, Zoe quits playing and Maria takes her home. They talk about what to say to Chris when he arrives. However, later that night, Maria is found dead. Sam has to tell Tessa about her sister’s death.
The first part of the novel alternates between Sunday night and Monday, but halfway through the novel the focus is on Monday as police and family investigate Maria’s death.
The beginning of the novel is somewhat confusing because the time frame changes so much, but the storyline and characters are fascinating. I could not have guessed the ending.
“The Perfect Girl” is published by William Morrow (2019). The paperback costs $9.99.
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