I received The Furies in exchange for an honest review
I raced through this book in a kind of surreal haze, coming up for air at the end and questioning what the hell did I just read?! This is a dark, twisted whirlwind ride through adolescence filled with toxic friendships, a touch of witchcraft and murder. I loved it.
In a dilapidated British seaside town we meet 16-year-old Violet, only survivor of a car accident with her father and sister. With the settlement money, her mother elects to send Violet to elite private girl’s school Elm Hollow Academy on the edge of town. It’s there that Violet meets Robin, Alex and Grace, her first real friends, and is drawn into a decades old secret society; a history of myths and legends, powerful women and dark rituals.
“A centuries-long pattern of deaths, at the hand of those too young and innocent for any rational authority to suspect.”
Whilst there’s an element of this novel which focuses on the past; the creepy history of Elm Hollow as a place where witches were burnt at the stake and the society of women which has existed since the school’s inception, it also looks very contemporary issues in young friendships today. Violet is desperate for approval and quickly drawn into Robin’s wild lifestyle complete with drink, drugs, older boys – and witchcraft.
“We were close to the divine. we touched gods, felt them flow through our veins. Felt lust, envy, greed quicken our hearts – but for a while, we were truly, spectacularly alive.”
The book explores themes of obsession, feminism and revenge with the past providing a backdrop for history to repeat itself. This debut author is currently completing a thesis on female rage in literary modernism and the #MeToo era, and its clear she’s poured her passions and learnings into this novel, blending past and present, exploring how historical agendas and prejudices can still impact young girls today.
The writing is stunning; beautifully atmospheric and compelling as the author paints a vivid picture of the girls’ lives and environment; the derelict town juxtaposed with the grand, imposing school. It’s perhaps a little too flowery at times so it might not be for everyone – but for me it fits with our narrator, Violet’s voice and how she romanticises that period in her life.
“Though I have loved, and been loved, in the decades since we met, no infatuation could compare to the outrageous intensity of those first weeks with Robin.”
There’s a lot more I could say about this book and the issues it explores, but putting all that aside it’s also an excellent, compulsive thriller which had me racing through the pages. An great read; gripping, gothic, atmospheric and thought-provoking. I’m excited to see what this author does next.