I received a free copy of Valentina by SE Lynes from Blackbird Digital Publishing and unfortunately due to annoying things like work getting in the way I have only just got around to reading it.
I can’t believe it took me so long as this was a fantastic read. Valentina is the debut novel from SE Lynes. The story starts with Shona and her boyfriend Mikey, moving with their new baby to Aberdeen. Mikey has got a job working on the oil rigs so sets his family up to a little cottage in the middle of nowhere. He then leaves Shona to starts getting used to life with the on off relationship created by his being on the rig. Having moved to a brand new area Shona quickly gets lonely and soon starts craving adult company. Previously she worked as a journalist so she hopes to find some work locally, while she puts her daughter Isla into nursery. This also gives her the chance to meet other Mums. Shona quickly makes a friend called Valentina and is so grateful for company she overlooks some of the bits about her new friend that seem slightly strange. As the story progresses, the reader starts to see where things are going, but Shona is in the dark.
This was a really interesting storyline, which showed just how easy it is to let people into your lives despite the fact you know nothing about them and don’t know whether to trust them. I found the character of Shona compelling from the start. You can feel her loneliness which translates into a neediness that is immediately jumped on by Valentina. Often this kind of needy character is really annoying to read, but Shona also has a certain steeliness that makes her likeable.
The story is written from the different points of view of the two friends which is perfect for this story as it gives you a real insight into the characters. Although it starts off a bit slowly you soon get swept along. It was obvious what was going to happen with Valentina, although I didn’t guess how far the twist would go, and the beauty of this story was that every time you thought you had guessed what was about to happen it would be subtly different.
I would definitely recommend Valentina especially if you are looking for a nice quick read to fit in around a busy few days.