Another Sunday, another book review. It’s currently quite gloomy outside and I’m drinking coffee while writing this post, so truly, it is the perfect time to blog. I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately, but I recently finished The Confession by Jessie Burton, which I was lucky enough to get an e-ARC of, so I thought I’d share my review of it with you all today!
Published on September 19th by Picador
Summary: 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.
MY THOUGHTS ON THE CONFESSION
I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All quotes used in this review may have changed upon publication.
You’re all so brilliant, and you’ve got so much going for you. And if you haven’t got to where you wanted to get by the time you’re twenty-five, you should probably thank your lucky stars. Seriously. Because if getting there is hard, holding on to your dream is possibly even harder. Nothing ever stays the same.
— Jessie Burton, The Confession, p. 345.
When I got approved for this e-ARC, I was absolutely thrilled, because I adored the author’s previous novel, The Muse, and I was so looking forward to reading more of her words.
The Confession is a historical fiction novel built on one of my favourite tropes of that genre: alternating between points of view from different eras, which will eventually come together to resolve a mystery, so I loved its storyline. It is a compelling narrative about family, love, loss, relationships, motherhood and embracing who you are, which I really enjoyed. Be warned that there is a trigger warning for abortion in this book, so be careful if it’s something that triggers you.
I know historical fiction can be a bit daunting for some readers, as it means going to a different time and place, it can be complicated to read, but I feel like historically speaking, The Confession was easy to get through. The historical setting is immersive and easy to picture, as it was set in 1980s Hollywood, which doesn’t feel that far away, so it could appeal to readers who aren’t used to reading historical fiction.
The Confession is mainly about three women: Elise, Connie and Rose, and their paths through life, which I really enjoyed reading about, though the characters weren’t always likeable. On one hand, my favourite to read about was Rose, a 35 years old woman, whose storyline was set in 2017. Her story was about self-discovery, as she is aching to know the truth about her mom who left her when she was littl, since she believes it will fill a void inside her. She was a relatable character and I could see a lot of myself in her, as she hadn’t figured herself out just yet.
On another hand, the book followed Elise, whose storyline was set in the 1980s, and I really didn’t like her, but was still curious about her story. While she was really flawed and I felt like her characterization wasn’t always as in-depth as Rose’s, the author managed to keep me interested in her story and secrets. To be honest, I didn’t always get her, I don’t really know what drove her nor what she wanted in life, so that was a shame.
Last but not least, this novel was about Constance, a writer whose book is about to be adapted into a movie in L.A. in the 1980s and a secluded writer in 2017. Connie wasn’t a very likeable character either, she was cold and heartless at times, but she was so authentic and she shone through way more than Elise did. I also adored reading about her as she was older, as well as reading about her writing.
The Confession‘s main romance is about Elise and Connie, which I loved reading about, though they definitely didn’t have an healthy relationship. I loved that it was about two women falling in love with each other in the 1980s, but it wasn’t about them realizing they loved women, nor coming out. They already knew they were queer, it wasn’t made a big deal and it went from there. I love reading about coming out stories, they’re so important, but love stories about queer people without this storyline are really important as well.
Just like in The Muse, Jessie Burton’s writing style was engaging and beautiful, making me highlight so many quotes and always being excited to get back to it. Every time I picked up The Confession, I couldn’t stop reading it, especially in the second half, when we were starting to get answers and so many chapters ended on cliffhangers. The novel finished on an open-ending, which I thought was fitting to the story, though I felt like the last chapter was unnecessary, as I don’t think it added much to the story.
Overall, I really enjoyed this, though not as much as Jessie Burton’s previous novel, The Muse. Most of the characters feel authentic and while they aren’t always likeable, the author kept me interested in them. I really enjoyed this story overall and I’m looking forward to reading more of Jessie Burton’s works in the future.Are you planning on reading this book? Have you read Jessie Burton’s other works?