So Pretty – Ronnie Turner

Fear blisters through this town like a fever…

When Teddy Colne arrives in the small town of Rye, he believes he will be able to settle down and leave his past behind him. Little does he know that fear blisters through the streets like a fever. The locals tell him to stay away from an establishment known only as Berry & Vincent, that those who rub too closely to its proprietor risk a bad end.

Despite their warnings, Teddy is desperate to understand why Rye has come to fear this one man, and to see what really hides behind the doors of his shop.

Ada moved to Rye with her young son to escape a damaged childhood and years of never fitting in, but she’s lonely, and ostracised by the community. Ada is ripe for affection and friendship, and everyone knows it.

As old secrets bleed out into this town, so too will a mystery about a family who vanished fifty years earlier, and a community living on a knife edge.

Teddy looks for answers, thinking he is safe, but some truths are better left undisturbed, and his past will find him here, just as it has always found him before. And before long, it will find Ada too.

Book Info: 331 pages. Publisher: Orenda Books. Publication date: 19 Jan 2023

Ronnie Turner grew up in Cornwall, the youngest in a large family. At an early age, she discovered a love of literature. She now works as a Senior Waterstones Bookseller and barista. Ronnie lives in the South West with her family and three dogs. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and taking long walks on the coast.

My Review:

I met Ronnie Turner a few years ago at a crime festival and she seemed absolutely lovely, a sweet young girl and a brilliant blogger. She had her first book published in 2018 and her latest book SO PRETTY is being published by the super powerhouse that is Orenda Books.

I was looking for a book to read as part of my 2023 reading challenge and a few people recommended this so I started it without even reading the blurb except for noticing the reference to “Gothic Thriller” on the cover.

Now I don’t really know what “Gothic” means so I asked Google and he reliably told me it means “Dark, atmospheric settings. Unsettling and often supernatural storylines. A sense of horrifying dread that leaves the reader wondering who they can trust.” and “Gothic novelists are not afraid of anything — they embed social criticism within the genre, they depict the dark side of human nature and they deal with the bigger issues of real life horrors

Now let’s discuss So Pretty – if you are looking for a light-hearted, laugh a minute story you really don’t want to read this book. I really don’t know how to describe this book without putting you off because it’s grim, it’s raw, it’s brutal, it’s emotionally draining, mentally exhausting, stomach-clenchingly terrifying, the overall feelings of fear and dread literally drip from each chapter. It’s unpleasant, sad, scary, distressing, disturbing and downright dark – but here’s what really matters… the writing is exquisite and what is unbelievable is that the author is only in her early 20’s…. in fact I have underwear older than Ronnie Turner. I can’t get my head around her talent. Her writing is so beautiful, it’s practically poetic.

The story centres around two lonely people who have recently moved to a small town called Rye. Both are treated as outsiders by the villagers and both have pasts they are trying to escape. Ada, a young single mum to 4 year old Albie have lived in Rye for 2 years and have yet to make any friends. Teddy is a young man who starts working at Berry & Vincent, the towns Antiques and Curiosity shop. Both characters are drawn to each other through their loneliness and a friendship starts to blossom.

Each character narrates their own story through short chapters and this is where Ronnie brings them to life – flaws and all. Both Ada and Teddy are so damaged from their pasts but can they learn from their parents and change their ways and find happiness?

This is a story that filled me with dread and disgust. It chilled my bones and shook me to the core. It got under my skin and into my head and left me feeling unclean. I can’t actually begin to express how dark this book is or how gifted Ronnie Turner is.. you will just have to buy the book on 19th January and see for yourself.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

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