Set mostly in Aberdeen in Scotland, Valentina by SE Lynes is a psychological drama about two young mothers who develop a friendship.
Shona McGilvery is a journalist, living with her partner Mikey and their new baby, Isla. Mikey works in the oil industry and when his job takes him to Aberdeen, the young family moves north. They settle into a rural cottage and life looks set to be idyllic. But, Mikey’s job means he has to spend weeks offshore and Shona finds herself spending a lot of time alone in a new locality. It’s lonely and their cottage is remote. So, when she meets another young mother, Valentina, Shona is pleased to have a friend.
But, before long the reader suspects that Valentina isn’t all that she seems. Her behaviour is troubling and her backstory doesn’t really add up. At the same time, Mikey’s offshore/onshore arrangements begin to look sketchy and, from early on, it’s fairly clear how the plot will unfold. But that is not to take away from what is an interesting and readable story. And Valentina does have a surprising twist or two along the way.
I would describe Valentina as a psychological drama more than thriller. In part, at least, it’s a story about a woman who prefers ignore signs of trouble in favour of a quiet life. Shona has plenty of reasons to be suspicious yet although she’s a journalist, she is slow to investigate. Perhaps, as a new mother, there are signs she prefers not to see in order to protect her relationship with Mikey. In the end, though, the truth will out. And when it outs, it’s not entirely as Shona, or indeed the reader, expects.
Valentina by SE Lynes is published by Blackbird Digital Books. An ARC was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.