She Was The Quiet One
by Michele Campbell
St. Martin's Press
Publication Date : July 31, 2018
Pages : 342
Synopsis From Publisher:
For Rose Enright, enrolling in a prestigious New England boarding school is the opportunity of a lifetime. But for Rose’s vulnerable twin sister Bel, Odell Academy is a place of temptation and danger. When Bel falls in with a crowd of wild rich kids who pressure her into hazing Rose, the sisters’ relationship is shattered. Rose turns to her dorm mother, Sarah Donovan, for advice. But Bel turns to Sarah’s husband Heath, a charismatic and ambitious teacher. Is Heath trying to help Bel or take advantage of her? In a world of privilege, seduction, and manipulation, only one sister will live to tell the truth.
I absolutely love crime fiction books which take place in the world of academia, especially a boarding school. There is something about the isolation, the limited amount of freedom the students have and the implied loneliness I assume they must feel. To me a boarding school is the ideal setting for closed door mystery. She Was The Quiet One plays perfectly upon the gloomy and underlined sadness of a boarding school; giving readers a gripping, crafty, and murky read.
Despite being fraternal twins Bel and Rose Enright could not be more different. Whereas Rose is studious and responsible, Bel is reckless and selfish. Due to these differences their relationship is often distant and strained. After losing their parents they move in with their wealthy grandmother. Shortly after moving in with their grandmother, they are sent off to the exclusive and privileged Odell Academy. Upon their arrival at Odell their relationship begins to spiral downwards once again. When Bel and Rose’s worlds collide with the new co-dormheads Sarah and Heath Donavan, things begin to take sinister turn.
I am sure it is not unusual for twins to have a difficult relationship but I have always assumed if you have a twin you have a sort of “built in “ best friend. Bel and Rose’s inability to connect with each other forms an almost fortress of loneliness around them both. Both Bel and Rose have difficulty bonding with their fellow students at Odell Academy. Instead they both gravitate towards the co-heads of their dormitory, Bel to Heath and Rose to Sarah. I believe it was this loneliness that pulled them to Heath and Sarah, they saw the Donavans as parental figures. This makes their stories even sadder. Even though they both had flaws and at times I found them hard to like, I still felt sorry for Bel and Rose. Most of their actions were driven by sadness and feelings of abandonment.
The villain in this story is driven by one thing - ambition. In my usual crime fiction reads the villain has multiple motives, money, rejection and sometimes with a bit of ambition. Reading a book with a villain driven solely by ambition was a change. I was able to figure out who the villain was pretty early on, but for me their motive was the mystery. When I discovered the motive, at first I was a little disappointed, I thought it was a bit unrealistic. However the draw of She Was The Quiet One are the means the villain is willing to go to in order to reach their goal. What kept me on the edge of my seat was not the central mystery but trying to figure out the villain's next move.
Overall I enjoyed She Was The Quiet One. The backdrop of a New England boarding school set the scene for a tragic yet gripping story. Readers will want to hug the twins and wish they could find someone who truly cares for them. Readers who enjoyed The Lying Game by Ruth Ware should add She Was The Quiet One to their list of must reads.
** Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for my free copy of She Was The Quiet One**
Murder and Moore Rating :
4.5 out of 5 Stars