The Confession
The sensational new novel from the million-copy bestselling author of The Miniaturist and The Muse.One winter's afternoon on Hampstead Heath in 1980, Elise Morceau meets Constance Holden and quickly falls under her spell. Connie is bold and alluring, a successful writer whose novel is being turned into a major Hollywood film. Elise follows Connie to LA, a city of strange dreams and swimming pools and late-night gatherings of glamorous people. But whilst Connie thrives on the heat and electricity of this new world where everyone is reaching for the stars and no one is telling the truth, Elise finds herself floundering. When she overhears a conversation at a party that turns everything on its head, Elise makes an impulsive decision that will change her life forever.Three decades later, Rose Simmons is seeking answers about her mother, who disappeared when she was a baby. Having learned that the last person to see her was Constance Holden, a reclusive novelist who withdrew from public life at the peak of her fame, Rose is drawn to the door of Connie's imposing house in search of a confession . . .From the million-copy bestselling author of The Miniaturist and The Muse, this is a luminous, powerful and deeply moving novel about secrets and storytelling, motherhood and friendship, and how we lose and find ourselves.

The Confession Details

TitleThe Confession
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 24th, 2019
PublisherPicador
ISBN-139781509886142
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Contemporary

The Confession Review

  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    Jessie Burton's latest offering is an intimate, intelligent exploration of the complexity of women's lives and the depth nature of relationships in a narrative that goes back and forth in time as the lives of the three central protagonists are laid bare. In the 1980s, a young, beautiful and naive Elise Morceau meets the much older Constance Holden on Hampstead Heath. She falls for the confident and charismatic Constance, a writer whose novel is being turned into a big Hollywood movie, and follow Jessie Burton's latest offering is an intimate, intelligent exploration of the complexity of women's lives and the depth nature of relationships in a narrative that goes back and forth in time as the lives of the three central protagonists are laid bare. In the 1980s, a young, beautiful and naive Elise Morceau meets the much older Constance Holden on Hampstead Heath. She falls for the confident and charismatic Constance, a writer whose novel is being turned into a big Hollywood movie, and follows her to Los Angeles. Whilst Constance feels comfortable and at home in the city of illusions, ambitions, glamour and lies, Elise finds herself out of her depth and finds it more problematic. Their relationship becomes increasingly fraught with conflict as it slowly begins to disintegrate. Decades later in 2017, Rose Simmons is in her mid 30s, plagued by doubts and wondering about where her life is at with her long term boyfriend, Joe, and his failing business, although her best friend, Kelly is an invaluable support and anchor.Rose has always felt a void in her life, her mother abandoned her as a baby, and she feels a abiding need to know more about her, convinced it will make her feel more whole as a human being and contribute to a greater sense of her identity. She finds out from her father that Elise had links with Constance, a woman who had withdrawn from public life at the height of her fame and lived a reclusive existence since then. Rose embarks on a quest to discover more about her elusive mother as she inveigles her way into Constance's life under false pretenses, securing a position as her carer. She goes on to develop a lively and critically important relationship with Constance that is to form the basis of her life changing decisions as she learns to become more of who she is. There are echoes of the past in the present as the ghost of Elise hangs over and haunts Constance and Rose.This is a beautifully written novel from Burton, the characterisations are wonderfully vibrant in a immersive narrative and there is a great sense of the differing locations of LA and London. The women that inhabit the novel, their lives and relationships are depicted with great skill and expertise, outlining the challenges they face in a manner that feels authentic. This is a fabulously compelling read about love, loss, friendship, being a mother, secrets and a search for identity that had me completely engaged and absorbed. What struck me most about it was that what it had to say about women had a universality about it that I think will make many readers love it. Many thanks to Pan Macmillan for an ARC.
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  • Emer (A Little Haze)
    January 1, 1970
    The Confession is such a powerful novel. Not only does it have an incredible plot and interesting story... But the women. Wow!These three main characters of Elise, Connie and Rose... I am floored!These women are so incredibly authentic. They are each so unique and so vital. Their stories are incredibly relatable to any reader. They speak to the spiritual autonomy of women. These women each in their own ways are on the same path, that of learning to trust yourself first and foremost. Learning to The Confession is such a powerful novel. Not only does it have an incredible plot and interesting story... But the women. Wow!These three main characters of Elise, Connie and Rose... I am floored!These women are so incredibly authentic. They are each so unique and so vital. Their stories are incredibly relatable to any reader. They speak to the spiritual autonomy of women. These women each in their own ways are on the same path, that of learning to trust yourself first and foremost. Learning to not deny yourself the agency over your own life's path. The story unfurls over two timelines:In the early 1980s we meet Elise. She starts the novel as a nineteen year old I believe, who meets and falls in love with an older woman Connie. Their individual life stories intermingle and blur together as we follow them to the glamorous Hollywood setting of that era. Connie, on the surface, seems more together. More confident. More sure of who she is. And we see how Elise develops in her shadow.Meanwhile in 2017 we meet Rose. Rose is a thirty-something who is barely treading the waters of her life. Her career never came to fruition, she's seemingly in a stagnant relationship with her boyfriend but mostly, she is just searching for her identity. Something to root her to the past and to the mother she never knew.She finds herself taking a job caring for the ageing Connie as her father has only just revealed to her that Connie was somehow linked to her mother and might understand the reasons behind her mother's disappearance. Both timelines are incredible. I really can't praise this book enough. The book perfectly alternates between the two and I never was sure where this book would end up. I was both gripped and surprised by the unraveling stories of these women and my heart was 100% invested in what happened to each of them.I absolutely adored how unapologetically this book was written. What I mean is that no character was ever too perfect. Each character had beautiful flaws which only added to the feeling that these were living, breathing people. As ever with a Jessie Burton novel the research was on point! She truly knows how to create authentic feeling set ups for her stories. I loved the bright, brashness of Hollywood in the 1980s and how that contrasted brilliantly with the quieter, suburban London setting of the modern era. And because it's Jessie Burton you are guaranteed a beautifully written book. Her prose is simply perfection. Her pacing glorious. Her writing is neither under- nor over-done. She just seems to be a natural at making narratives ebb and flow in a way that truly makes reading a delight. But above all else, the reason I love this book is its honesty to women. And the message that women's voices and women's lives belong to no one other than to each woman herself. Highly recommended. *An e-copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher, Pan Macmillan, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* For more reviews and book related chat check out my blog
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  • Blair
    January 1, 1970
    I was glued to this. At over 400 pages, it's not quite a 'read it in one sitting' book, but I tore through it within a day. (Lovers of reading cliches will be delighted to hear I actually burned something I was cooking on the hob because I couldn't tear myself away from it.) The Confession is utterly engrossing; it took me on an emotional journey; at the end, I was sorry to leave its characters behind – but I also felt entirely satisfied with the endings they were given.It's about two women: Eli I was glued to this. At over 400 pages, it's not quite a 'read it in one sitting' book, but I tore through it within a day. (Lovers of reading cliches will be delighted to hear I actually burned something I was cooking on the hob because I couldn't tear myself away from it.) The Confession is utterly engrossing; it took me on an emotional journey; at the end, I was sorry to leave its characters behind – but I also felt entirely satisfied with the endings they were given.It's about two women: Elise in the early 1980s, and her daughter Rose in (approximately) the present day. In 1980, Elise meets and falls in love with Connie Holden, a successful writer. The two of them travel to LA to oversee the film adaptation of Connie's first novel; their relationship begins to falter. 30+ years later, Rose is at a crossroads – unsure whether to stay with her boyfriend, what to do about her career, and whether she wants children. Having been raised by her dad, she knows very little about her mother, who disappeared when she was still a baby. When she finds out about Elise's relationship with Connie, Rose is determined to track the writer down. And because of a series of flukes, she ends up... faking a new identity and becoming Connie's assistant.Such an implausible situation could only arise in fiction, but I loved the book because of, not in spite of, this sort of thing. It's just so fun to read. The characters are so alive. I loved Connie; I defy anyone not to love Connie. I rooted for Rose all the way, and particularly liked the little world of friends and colleagues around her: her ineffectual boyfriend Joe and his doomed-to-fail burrito van business (saddled with the tragic name 'Joerritos'); her best friend Kelly, an Instagram influencer and mum-of-one who couldn't be more different from Rose but acts as a loving, stabilising presence. I disliked Elise, but that's partly because Burton is so successful at capturing the infuriating naivety of a 23-year-old who wonders: 'What was it that happened to a woman in the intervening decade between twenty and thirty – and did it happen to all women?'This book has everything, really. It's about love, parenthood, friendship, art, freedom; it's entertaining, it asks big questions, it offers tension, mystery, pathos, and touches of comedy (again, 'Joerritos'). 1980s LA and late-2010s London are different enough that switching between them keeps the narrative fresh. Rose's journey is a joy (without being cloying), and I was both surprised and delighted by the conclusion of her story. I really didn't expect it to go in that direction, and I was so happy it did.Although I thought The Miniaturist was okay, I got so sick of the hype around it a few years ago that, at one point, I thought I'd never read anything else by Burton. I'm so glad I took a chance on this. It's the perfect combination of smart/slick and cosy/reassuring, the perfect 'curl up on your sofa and read it long into the night' book. A treat.I received an advance review copy of The Confession from the publisher through NetGalley.TinyLetter | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr
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  • Louise Wilson
    January 1, 1970
    Rose Simmons has a dead end job and a relationship that's floundering. She's never k own her mother, Elise Morceau s she had disappeared when Rose was just a baby. He father gives her a book and tells Rose that the author knew her mother and might have some knowledge about what had happened to her. Intrigued, Rose secures herself as a companion to the now famous author, Constance Holden. Rose changes her name to "Laura Brown". She is desperate to find answers and she hope that Constance will hel Rose Simmons has a dead end job and a relationship that's floundering. She's never k own her mother, Elise Morceau s she had disappeared when Rose was just a baby. He father gives her a book and tells Rose that the author knew her mother and might have some knowledge about what had happened to her. Intrigued, Rose secures herself as a companion to the now famous author, Constance Holden. Rose changes her name to "Laura Brown". She is desperate to find answers and she hope that Constance will help her achieve this.Rose had spent her whole life wondering what had happened to her mother. The last person to have seen her mother was Constance Holden. The story is told through two timelines, 1980's Los Angeles and London 2018. The two stories weave seamlessly in and out of each other. We get descriptions of the places and the people. The main characters are strong and independent women. The story is well written with a steady pace. I did feel that the last chapter was a bit rushed. Did Rose find her mother? You will need to read this book to find out.I would like to thank Netgalley, Pan Macmillan and the author Jessie Burton for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • karen
    January 1, 1970
    how am i just hearing about this now? i feel very out of the loop, people!
  • Ceecee
    January 1, 1970
    This is an absolutely superb book which is so well written. This story is told from the perspectives of Elise, Connie and Rosie and goes backwards and forwards fluidly from 1980-83 and 2017. Elise and Connie meet in London in 1980 and begin a relationship which is a very deep one. Elise believes that Connie ‘lured her in’ but thinks she doesn’t give her as much back as she gives to Connie. Connie can be silent and dismissive, perhaps partly due to age difference (Elise is much younger) and partl This is an absolutely superb book which is so well written. This story is told from the perspectives of Elise, Connie and Rosie and goes backwards and forwards fluidly from 1980-83 and 2017. Elise and Connie meet in London in 1980 and begin a relationship which is a very deep one. Elise believes that Connie ‘lured her in’ but thinks she doesn’t give her as much back as she gives to Connie. Connie can be silent and dismissive, perhaps partly due to age difference (Elise is much younger) and partly due to personality. Connie is a writer of two books that are very successful and one is turned into a Hollywood movie and it is while they are in LA that their relationship starts to flounder and the two separate acrimoniously. Rosie is Elise’s daughter but she is not present in her life and when she was little Rosie created myths around her mother to make up for her loss. When she was 12 she decided she was dead and the loss of Elise to nearly teenage Rosie is beautifully and creatively described. As a thirty something Rosie decides to try to trace her mother and by a sort of comedy of errors she ends up working for Connie as her assistant. Connie and Rosie develop a wonderful relationship although initially Rosie hides her identity giving a false name. Connie is a terrific character- independent, clever, acerbic and some of their lively discussions are like verbal tennis and both of them realise that they are in love with the ghost of Elise. Through Connie, Rose is able to become whole, she sheds her vulnerability, becomes free and independent, accepts she will probably never find her mother, gains a huge amount of courage and instead of living a life anchored to inertia she is able to move forward and make something of her life. One of the most positive things that she did was to end the going nowhere relationship with a man who was going nowhere - she had been with Joe for 9 years but their relationship is stale. This is a wonderfully crafted story of female and male relationships, of love and loss, the price of success especially in Connie’s case, abandonment and vulnerability but also of acceptance and moving forwards to a life not as shackled to the past. There are some well crafted characters some of whom are immensely likeable such as Rosie, Connie, Kelly and Zoe and even though Joe is not especially admirable he is easy to imagine. There are lovely descriptions of places - London, California, Mexico and NY. The author made me feel like I went on a journey with Rosie so I desperately wanted her to find what she was seeking. I love the fact that at the end of the story Rosie needed Connie as much as Connie needed Rosie so there is a growing equality in their blooming friendship. I loved this book from start to finish and I would like to express my thanks for the privilege of reading this ARC.
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  • Emily B
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to netgalley, the author and the publishers for an advanced copy of this book.I’ve read another book by the author and found this one very different. So don’t expect it to be similar. I really enjoyed the characters, and felt my feelings towards them change all the time.Yes some parts weren’t as interesting as others and it’s not a short book but the story is an interesting one without being too complicated. The ending was a little frustrating as I like clear answers but that doesn’t a Thank you to netgalley, the author and the publishers for an advanced copy of this book.I’ve read another book by the author and found this one very different. So don’t expect it to be similar. I really enjoyed the characters, and felt my feelings towards them change all the time.Yes some parts weren’t as interesting as others and it’s not a short book but the story is an interesting one without being too complicated. The ending was a little frustrating as I like clear answers but that doesn’t always make a good book so I respect the authors decision to leave it as it is. Also I realise that the point of the novel is probably Rose’s journey and self discovery and not what actually happened to certain characters.
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  • SueLucie
    January 1, 1970
    This is the most emotionally engaging book I’ve read for a long time, chock full with strong female characters, not all particularly likeable, told in parallel timelines between the 1980s and the present day. I did like Rose and hoped throughout that she would come through and find resolution to her lifelong yearning for her mother. (view spoiler)[That she finds a mother figure of sorts in Connie came as a surprise and meant that I began to forgive Connie for her earlier cruelties and selfishnes This is the most emotionally engaging book I’ve read for a long time, chock full with strong female characters, not all particularly likeable, told in parallel timelines between the 1980s and the present day. I did like Rose and hoped throughout that she would come through and find resolution to her lifelong yearning for her mother. (view spoiler)[That she finds a mother figure of sorts in Connie came as a surprise and meant that I began to forgive Connie for her earlier cruelties and selfishness. (hide spoiler)]I found it a little slow in the middle and began to wish for the inevitable to just get on and happen, but overall I was riveted. These women’s stories cover a wide range of female experience in a thoughtful, non-judgemental way, self-determination being common to them all, how to live as truly to oneself as possible and whether that is possible without inflicting damage on others. The ending was not as I predicted but I thought it fitting, not too neat and tidy, leaving some tantalising loose ends for the reader to mull over after the last page. Highly recommended.With thanks to Pan Macmillan/Picador via NetGalley for the opportunity to read an ARC.
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  • Caroline Middleton
    January 1, 1970
    I feel really icky about this book. The things I liked: the writing is absolutely gorgeous, very distinctive and evocative. Burton has a visual writing style that showcases her drama background and I loved how easy it was to read. She also writes very convincing characters - it felt real.The things I didn’t: the characters are not likeable at all and the bad choices they made really triggered me because Burton is THAT GOOD with creating characters, but also, I wasn’t rooting for any of them. Eli I feel really icky about this book. The things I liked: the writing is absolutely gorgeous, very distinctive and evocative. Burton has a visual writing style that showcases her drama background and I loved how easy it was to read. She also writes very convincing characters - it felt real.The things I didn’t: the characters are not likeable at all and the bad choices they made really triggered me because Burton is THAT GOOD with creating characters, but also, I wasn’t rooting for any of them. Elise was boring, apart from her ‘good looks’, Connie was arrogant and soulless and Rose was the most aimless 30-something I’ve read in a long time - and not in a good way. I just didn’t care.Also the story itself was lacking. I think we were meant to be really curious about Elise and what happened to her, but it just didn’t work out like that. It was mulch. And the plot twists were pretty cliched.My final gripe is how pretentious this novel felt - almost lecturing the reader at points with over-intellectualised, and what is set up to be, ‘groundbreaking’ conversations between characters. God it felt preachy and indulgent.And that last chapter? Totally pointless apart from the author deciding to show off how she can write pretty sentences about nothing.
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  • ♥ Jx PinkLady Reviews ♥
    January 1, 1970
    Not entirely sure what I think right now.... definitely a well written evocative story, one that I will be thinking about as my day progresses. Review thoughts and rating to come later today Advance copy kindly provided by the publisher via Netgalley *
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  • Pauliina (The Bookaholic Dreamer)
    January 1, 1970
    Dear glorious, eternally powerful ARC Gods, I pray thee to descend an ARC of The Confession upon me. I would forever cherish it, and no one loved the Miniaturist more than I. I would tattoo this bunny on my body if you would rather have a serious token of my devotion.
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  • DebsD
    January 1, 1970
    I requested this ARC from Netgalley because I had read the author's two previous adult novels - The Miniaturist (which I enjoyed) and The Muse (which I loved).Like her previous novels, this is written skilfully, but in a way that seems effortless. Burton's prose is often beautiful and her observations are spot-on. Themes such as family, friendship, decisions, mistakes, consequences and responsibility are handled well, with sympathy and understanding.The pacing is generally good, if occasionally I requested this ARC from Netgalley because I had read the author's two previous adult novels - The Miniaturist (which I enjoyed) and The Muse (which I loved).Like her previous novels, this is written skilfully, but in a way that seems effortless. Burton's prose is often beautiful and her observations are spot-on. Themes such as family, friendship, decisions, mistakes, consequences and responsibility are handled well, with sympathy and understanding.The pacing is generally good, if occasionally a little slow, and the writing is complex and immersive. The tale is driven more by character than by plot (which is not to say it is lacking in plot, rather tha the characterisation is excellent). I found it took me a while to become engaged but then I realised that I had begun to care very much about what happened next for at least some of the characters. There is a dual timeline; one story is set in the 1980s and told in the third-person, and the other is contemporary and told in the first-person from Rose's perspective. This is perhaps why I identified most with Rose, even though she and I have little in common. I found Constance to be more appealing in the later timeline (and she is, really, the only major character who appears in both). For the most part, Elise irritated me - I wanted her to take control of something rather than allowing her life to be decided by the surrounding events. All of the characters are convincing - I'd have liked to know more about Matt's motivations for his later actions, and to find out more about Yola. The book delves artfully into the complexities of the decisions taken by the characters.The event which seems to give the book its title happens relatively late in the story, and I feel that the ending felt a little rushed - it is not the book's strongest point.I enjoyed this more than The Miniaturist, but less than The Muse - which means that for me, this author's books, in the order they were written, come in at 3*, 5* and 4* - which is a) consistently good, and b) means I will look forward to the next one!
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  • Rina
    January 1, 1970
    Oh. My. God. How did I not know this is coming out next month?! I loved The Muse and this basically sounds like its gonna be at least equally amazing I can‘t wait!!
  • Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum
    January 1, 1970
    Published 24 September 2019. Received unsolicited copy for review on 5 September 2019 from Allie Schotte - Pan Macmillan Australia.
  • Helen White
    January 1, 1970
    Rose has been looking for her missing mother all her life. Her life feels incomplete or permanently on hold. When her father gives her a clue - the name of an author who was the last person to see her mother she decides to insert herself in this authors life to find traces of her mother. Elise is a young woman in live with Connie a successful author. She will follow Connie anywhere - even to L.A when Connie's book becomes a Hollywood film. Life starts to unravel though for Elise and her lack of Rose has been looking for her missing mother all her life. Her life feels incomplete or permanently on hold. When her father gives her a clue - the name of an author who was the last person to see her mother she decides to insert herself in this authors life to find traces of her mother. Elise is a young woman in live with Connie a successful author. She will follow Connie anywhere - even to L.A when Connie's book becomes a Hollywood film. Life starts to unravel though for Elise and her lack of awareness of her own identity makes her self destructive. I really enjoyed this. The way the story is revealed in alternating chapters (I always like that) but for once both stories were equally interesting. Elise is a captivating character at the start and you want to know what happens to her. Whereas her daughter Rose is pretending to be someone else and seems to have lost her self and her mother. It all weaves together brilliantly.Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the review copy.
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  • Ruth Brookes
    January 1, 1970
    Morally questionable, complex, flawed characters and a story of selfhood, female autonomy, desire, loss and finding the truth of oneself. Richly descriptive, perceptive & full of ambiguity, this is very much a Jessie Burton novel. I didn’t completely love it, but there were points which really resonated & left me with lots to ponder. Beautiful writing.
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  • Kaja
    January 1, 1970
    i still can't stop thinking about The Muse and it's been more than a year since i read it. You don't even know how excited i'm for this, it looks so good and i can't believe i'm only now finding out that this is coming out THIS SOON.
  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    *With thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own*I was so, so excited to be approved to read ‘The Confession’ as I’m a massive fan of Jessie Burton’s writing and have had the pleasure of meeting her through Library work. Burton’s characterisation in this book was fantastic as it has been in her other works, although I would say that her writing style has matured a lot with this book; the text flows really well and the narr *With thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own*I was so, so excited to be approved to read ‘The Confession’ as I’m a massive fan of Jessie Burton’s writing and have had the pleasure of meeting her through Library work. Burton’s characterisation in this book was fantastic as it has been in her other works, although I would say that her writing style has matured a lot with this book; the text flows really well and the narrative split into two separate timelines was a nice touch as it allowed snippets of information to feed through to the reader.Unlike in her previous novels, I found the characters to be fairly unlikable, although at the same time realistic as they all had flaws and talents as people generally do. I found that the further into the plot I delved, the further I began to dislike some characters and like others. The characters stories and histories interwove perfectly, even across the two timelines, set in the 1980s and 2010s. The main characters especially felt very real, with real emotions of friendship, relationships and sexuality. Both timelines were equally interesting and held my attention well; the differences between America and London were well executed, as was the pace of the storyline; there were a lot of twists and turns, although at times the twists were fairly predictable (to me), the book was enjoyable anyway.One of my favourite things was the dynamic between Kelly, Instagram star and super mum, and Rose, the main character. Rose is believable as a thirty-something woman who isn’t quite sure where her life has gone or where it’s going and Kelly is the woman to keeps her going when life starts to fall apart. Overall I loved how the characters in this book weaved in and around each other; everyone was connected and that was ultimately, what helped the novel flow. I found the ending frustrating as it was too open ended for my liking, although on the other hand it isn’t a bad thing to be able to use your imagination to continue the story in the mind. A beautifully written piece of prose, from the beginning to the end.
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  • Laura Newsholme
    January 1, 1970
    This was a really hard book for me to review because I recognise the quality of the story and the writing, but I just really didn't enjoy it. It tells the story of Rose, a 30 something woman in a bit of a life rut, who undertakes a search for her mother who left when she was a baby. This search takes her into the house of Connie, a reclusive novelist with a haunted past. Firstly, the good points. This is a very well constructed book. Told in duel perspectives, we follow Rose in the present day a This was a really hard book for me to review because I recognise the quality of the story and the writing, but I just really didn't enjoy it. It tells the story of Rose, a 30 something woman in a bit of a life rut, who undertakes a search for her mother who left when she was a baby. This search takes her into the house of Connie, a reclusive novelist with a haunted past. Firstly, the good points. This is a very well constructed book. Told in duel perspectives, we follow Rose in the present day and also follow her mother, Elise in the early 80's. Burton knows exactly when to switch perspective to keep the tension high within the narrative. Also, line by line, the prose is excellent. Descriptions are crisp and clear without ever becoming too flowery and each character is immaculately drawn in all of their, often highly unpleasant, detail. Everyone in the narrative is deeply flawed and this is discussed with an honesty that is often raw and uncomfortable to deal with. For me personally, I found some of the content pretty objectionable, particularly some of the discussion around motherhood and the way in which women are portrayed in the narrative. There were points when I was incredibly angry at the tone chosen as I felt that the women came off as very unsympathetic, which I felt was too obvious. This did lessen towards the end of the novel and I must confess that the mystery aspect did keep my interest throughout, but for a lot of this book, I was just frustrated and disappointed. With all that being said, this is a really well written story that explores relationships in all of their beauty and ugliness and there are many many people who will love it - it just didn't work for me.I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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  • wearethecuriousbookclub
    January 1, 1970
    I've just finished this beautiful novel, and had to share my thoughts straight away, as I absolutely loved it!The novel follows Rosie in the present day, as she tries to discover what happened to her mother Elise, who disappeared one day when she was a baby. Her father gifts her the only two possessions she left behind, two novels written by a reclusive author who her father tells her was the last person to see her mother.The novel shifts between the past and present day, as we slowly discover w I've just finished this beautiful novel, and had to share my thoughts straight away, as I absolutely loved it!The novel follows Rosie in the present day, as she tries to discover what happened to her mother Elise, who disappeared one day when she was a baby. Her father gifts her the only two possessions she left behind, two novels written by a reclusive author who her father tells her was the last person to see her mother.The novel shifts between the past and present day, as we slowly discover what happened, and we travel to some amazing locations along the way! I don't want to ruin anything for you, but I will say that the writing is seamless, and beautiful, and breathtaking, and elusive, and so profoundly thought provoking, that I know I'm going to be thinking about it for a long time.The author writes female relationships SO well! The strength in relationships where we support, nurture and hold each others hands, through all of the challenges life throws our way. And the power we hold to also destroy the delicate fragility of each others experiences.I love the way the author views and portrays the world, and she has in my mind captured the perfect analogy in her writing, by comparing becoming a mother, to being like Icarus. Before, standing tall and reaching for the sun. But after, using the wax and feathers to line a nest!It will help you to believe. To remember yourself. That you're writing your own story. Highly highly recommend!Thank you to the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    Jessie Burton’s writing seems to be becoming more mature and more complex with every novel; I felt lukewarm about The Miniaturist but was gripped by The Muse. Her latest, The Confession, is even more compelling. The book switches between two timelines, both equally interesting: in the early 1980s, Elise Morceau, in her early twenties, falls swiftly in love with the older novelist Connie Holden after a chance meeting on Hampstead Heath, and goes with her to LA. Meanwhile, in present-day London, E Jessie Burton’s writing seems to be becoming more mature and more complex with every novel; I felt lukewarm about The Miniaturist but was gripped by The Muse. Her latest, The Confession, is even more compelling. The book switches between two timelines, both equally interesting: in the early 1980s, Elise Morceau, in her early twenties, falls swiftly in love with the older novelist Connie Holden after a chance meeting on Hampstead Heath, and goes with her to LA. Meanwhile, in present-day London, Elise’s daughter, Rose, wants to know more about the mother she can’t remember – Elise disappeared when Rose was a baby – and devises a plan to make contact with Connie after she discovers that Connie was the last person to see her mother before she went missing. Burton writes so intelligently about choosing whether or not to have a child (there’s precious little fiction, especially in this mainstream literary vein, that allows women to choose to remain childless, but The Confession made me realise that we also hear little about why women actively choose to have children. (view spoiler)[It also lets one of its main characters get pregnant accidentally and choose to have an abortion rather than to keep the baby, which should not be surprising in 2019 but is still barely talked about in novels. (hide spoiler)] Burton’s concern with the conditions under which women can make art, which preoccupied The Muse, is also an important sub-theme in this novel, and there’s something of Clarissa Pinkola Estes’s classic Women Who Run With the Wolves in her depiction of women who feel compelled to drop out of their everyday lives. As with the ending of The Muse, Burton gives into the temptation to spell out the themes of the novel a little too neatly in its last few pages, but this is still a smart, thought-provoking take on how women negotiate emotional ties. Thematically, it chimes beautifully with Tracy Chevalier's A Single Thread, which I also read recently; both novels consider women who choose to be single, who choose to be with other women, and who choose or do not choose motherhood.I received a free proof copy of this novel from the publisher for review.
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  • Maria Spillane
    January 1, 1970
    Jessie Burton's words can really mesmerise you, I read this book at the start of my holiday and flew through it in the first two days.. She slowly draws you into the characters lives and it can be hard to step away from them, so by the time the pace picks up you are invested, and the characters feel like old acquaintances. The story is told through two characters, Elsie & Rose, at different time-points, and the chapters alternate between them. Elsie is young and beautiful, but has a directio Jessie Burton's words can really mesmerise you, I read this book at the start of my holiday and flew through it in the first two days.. She slowly draws you into the characters lives and it can be hard to step away from them, so by the time the pace picks up you are invested, and the characters feel like old acquaintances. The story is told through two characters, Elsie & Rose, at different time-points, and the chapters alternate between them. Elsie is young and beautiful, but has a directionless life until a chance meeting leads her to love and adventure in L.A. Rose is a woman in her mid-thirties, trying to figure out her future, and looking for answers about a mother she never knew. Their stories link through Constance Holden, a captivating novelist who is rising to fame in Elsie's storyline (1980's), and who has withdrawn from it in Roses' time (present day). Constance is a more elusive character, and even though the majority of the story revolves around her, it can be hard to understand her motives fully, which draws you in even more...I gave this book 4 stars because I wasn't satisfied with the ending - I don't generally mind when there are loose threads at the end of a story, however in this instance, I felt that the conclusion didn't meld with the rest of the novel in a satisfying manner.Otherwise, this was a fantastic read. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Ellis (whatellisreadnext)
    January 1, 1970
    'When you walk away from someone you used to love, you're stepping closer to the person you really are.'.The book flits back and forth between the 80's and the present day. In 1980, Elise has fallen head over heels in love with Connie, a famous Author about to make her first movie adaptation. In 2017, Rosie has always wondered who her mother is, when he father gives her two books, saying they were written by her mother's lover, she decides to hunt her down. .I can't recommend this book enough. B 'When you walk away from someone you used to love, you're stepping closer to the person you really are.'.The book flits back and forth between the 80's and the present day. In 1980, Elise has fallen head over heels in love with Connie, a famous Author about to make her first movie adaptation. In 2017, Rosie has always wondered who her mother is, when he father gives her two books, saying they were written by her mother's lover, she decides to hunt her down. .I can't recommend this book enough. Burton's writing is incredibly beautiful and moving, she has created a book that I believe all women will see themselves within. I felt like she had written this book just for me. The three main women were all equal parts beautiful, strong and flawed; their characters rose from the pages as if they were real. Once I hit the halfway mark, I couldn't help but devour the rest of it. This is a book about looking out for yourself and never compromising for anyone. One must find themself before they can love anybody else. .Thanks so much to Picador for the advanced copy, I loved every second of it. This one is out on September 19th and you should buy it.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    A lot more literary than her other novels, I tore through The Confession. It's brilliant and so addictive, I truly needed to know what happened in the end. The characters are all wonderfully, realistically complicated and fully realised creations. A total triumph.
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  • Louise
    January 1, 1970
    SPOILERSIt took me a very long time to get into this book,to the point I almost gave up.Non of the characters endeared themselves to me,so I struggled to care what happened to themAs the book went on,and the mystery of how Elise became pregnant with Matt's child,I was drawn in more,but ultimately we knew how it ended,and nothing in the book changed that.We started off looking for Elise,and as the book finished,she's still not found.I feel it's all still too unresolved.
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  • Ali
    January 1, 1970
    I have read Jessie Burton’s The Miniaturist and The Muse and loved them but can’t say the same about this one. It just didn’t work for me. I felt the story was lacking and I really disliked the characters. A marmite book I feel. I received a free copy of this book, a favourable review was not required and all opinions expressed here are my own.
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  • Lucille
    January 1, 1970
    I loved The Miniaturist but gave up on The Muse. I was excited to be able to review The Confession but feel it is very much a Marmite book: I suspect readers will either love it or hate it.An intriguing story beckons after Rose's father hands her two novels written by Connie, the woman her mother Elise fell in love with. Elise disappeared shortly after Rose's birth leaving her father to bring her up and Rose is determined to track Connie down in order to find out the reason why her mother desert I loved The Miniaturist but gave up on The Muse. I was excited to be able to review The Confession but feel it is very much a Marmite book: I suspect readers will either love it or hate it.An intriguing story beckons after Rose's father hands her two novels written by Connie, the woman her mother Elise fell in love with. Elise disappeared shortly after Rose's birth leaving her father to bring her up and Rose is determined to track Connie down in order to find out the reason why her mother deserted her.I wish the novel had begun with Rose being given Connie's novels instead of how Elise and Connie met. It was difficult to get gripped by the backstory and I was unable to engage with the characters, not because they were dislikeable, which they were, but because they did not hold my attention. No matter how good the writing, and in many places it is very good, if the characters do not engage my sympathy or empathy the story of their journey falls down. Sadly this happened here.I'm sure many of Jessie Burton's fans will not be as disappointed but I don't think her books are for me. The Miniaturist remains her best book imo. Many thanks to PanMacmillan/Picador and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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  • Nikki
    January 1, 1970
    I love her writing. And it felt so relevant, fresh and emotional.
  • Nicki Markus
    January 1, 1970
    The Confession was an interesting read. In some ways, it wasn't quite what I expected, as it is rather different from The Miniaturist. However, once I accepted that, I came to enjoy the story and the characters. The book is perfectly paced, and Burton's prose is a pleasure to read. Nonetheless, while undoubtedly a well-crafted story, it never completely hooked me in the way The Miniaturist did. I enjoyed it, but I didn't fall in love with it. That said, I do not consider that a fault with the bo The Confession was an interesting read. In some ways, it wasn't quite what I expected, as it is rather different from The Miniaturist. However, once I accepted that, I came to enjoy the story and the characters. The book is perfectly paced, and Burton's prose is a pleasure to read. Nonetheless, while undoubtedly a well-crafted story, it never completely hooked me in the way The Miniaturist did. I enjoyed it, but I didn't fall in love with it. That said, I do not consider that a fault with the book so much as the simple fact it is not a story I would have picked up had it not been for the author; it's not my favourite genre, so while I liked it and appreciated it as a work of literature, but that was my limit. Therefore I am giving it four stars and would say in conclusion: The Confession is a well-written literary work, but one that didn't completely match my personal tastes. Others who are keen on contemporary women's fiction will doubtless want to give it full marks.I received this book as a free ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Mary Picken
    January 1, 1970
    Let’s start with the headline. This book is an awesome read. Beautiful writing combined with a completely immersive story arc, The Confession just blew me away with the quality of the writing and the strength of the characterisation. Once I had started to read, I literally could not stop until I got to the end.A dual timeline narrative, The Confession is a captivating, bold story about relationships, love, motherhood and what it is to be a creative artist.We begin in 1980. Elise is a young woman Let’s start with the headline. This book is an awesome read. Beautiful writing combined with a completely immersive story arc, The Confession just blew me away with the quality of the writing and the strength of the characterisation. Once I had started to read, I literally could not stop until I got to the end.A dual timeline narrative, The Confession is a captivating, bold story about relationships, love, motherhood and what it is to be a creative artist.We begin in 1980. Elise is a young woman living a fairly aimless life. She works in a café and does some modelling work for art students. She finds it easy to stay unmoving for hours on end. Her life is like this, static, going nowhere fast. On a walk one day on Hampstead Heath, she meets Connie, a woman whose personality dominates everything, including Elise. Connie is a novelist and she is currently enjoying a period of high profile esteem.Connie is older than Elise, by Elise is captivated by this powerful, forceful woman and it is not long before she is under her spell and the two begin a relationship that is all-encompassing. It is not long before Elise is living with Connie and basking in the adoration that is typical of consuming passion.At the height of her fame, Connie’s most recent book is to be made into a movie and Connie and Elise travel to L.A. where the film is to be made. Once they are there, though, Elise begins to realise that her role as Connie’s consort is one that somehow diminishes her and as Connie’s focus shifts to the new movie crowd that she is moving with, Elise feels increasingly pushed to the edge of Connie’s world.In London, in 2017, Rose Simmons is living with Joe, a man whose ambitions are limited but who, nevertheless is incapable of realising them. She is drifting along, believing herself to be in love, but is yet strangely unsatisfied with life, though she refuses to acknowledge it. Rose was brought up by her father, who now lives in France, but is haunted by the fact that she never knew her mother, and her father has never talked about her, or what happened to her, and that has left Rose with a whole host of questions to which there are seemingly no answers.Finally, she manages to pin her father down to divulging something about her mother and Elise learns about Connie Holden and that Connie was the last person to see her mother. Connie is now in her 70’s and living a reclusive life. Armed only with Connie’s two published novels, Rose blags her way into Connie’s life, adopting a new name and taking on a position as Connie’s aide. For Connie, now riddled with arthritis needs help to complete her new manuscript, her first book for decades.Rose finds, as she makes herself indispensable to the fractious and overwhelmingly selfish Connie, that she is coming to like and admire her, even as she struggles to find out more about her mother, without knowing how to reveal her own deception and tell Connie the truth about who she is and why she is there.Burton slowly peels back the layers of deception that have pervaded these women’s lives and the reader watches open-mouthed as we learn what transpired between Connie and Elise, and at the same time, see Rose’s life changing as she discovers her own sense of self, as she falls a little under Connie’s spell.The lives of these three women are inextricably intertwined and it is their personalities, foibles and ultimately their betrayals that define their lives.Burton’s writing is wholly immersive and her characters are true and bold. The nature of mothers and children; childlessness and love are all explored through these lives and the consequences of a series of betrayals are emotional and revealing.Connie is a brilliant character; driven by her creativity to the exclusion of everything and everyone, she is incapable of setting aside time to pledge herself to anything but her art; her relationships are all predicated on that behaviour. Both Elise and Rose have more submissive personalities that initially play well into Connie’s life, but which ultimately cannot withstand her single mindedness.For Elise, the revelations that the hole in her life creates are devastating; for Rose they reveal a character that becomes more fully formed as she discovers her own sense of self through an examination of her life and motivation.Verdict: The Confession is a devastating narrative about friendships, secrets, love and what it means to be a successful woman on your own terms. As such it is complex, coruscating, enveloping and completely mesmerising. I loved it.
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