Book Review: The Confession by Jessie Burton

It may be Jessie Burton's third novel, but it's the first one I've ever read.

Happy Wednesday! I can't believe we're already halfway through October - my brain is still in June somewhere.

I've spent this week working on my novel (written 7k words this month so far which isn't great, but it's better than nothing) and dealing with miscellaneous life stuff. Somewhere in the midst of it all though, I managed to visit the Book Barn in Dapdune Wharf, Guildford. It's only a wee place, packed higgledy-piggledy with secondhand books. There were some good finds there, though! I didn't come away with anything, but I'm glad I went; it closes for the winter next week.

So, I've just finished reading The Confession by Jessie Burton. People have been telling me for years to pick up one of her books, but for one reason or another I just never got around to it. But I couldn't resist buying a signed copy of The Confession - I know they say not to judge a book by its cover, but I couldn't help it this time around!

The book splits itself between the 1980s and present day, and tells the story of Elise and Rose, who are inextricably linked by the tough and often unreadable Constance Holden. There's plenty of intrigue and deception, and a good dollop of introspective suffering.

I'll say this first off: if you have a problem with characters you can't really empathise with, you might struggle with this book. Elise, Rose and Constance are all flawed characters, and not easily redeemable; they're each self-obsessed and stubborn, learning from their mistakes very slowly. This is probably what I loved most about the book. I like characters who feel real, and writers who aren't afraid to explore the unlikable traits we all share.

Jessie Burton is clearly a talented writer. Her prose is thoughtful and deliberate, and it's clear she understands the human condition so well. But I found there wasn't enough of a balance between plot and character study to keep me totally invested; the story seemed to meander at times, getting bogged down in the same rhetoric.

Although I didn't gel with the story, I was blown away by Burton's writing, and have a feeling I'll enjoy her other two books (The Miniaturist, The Muse) a little more. But if you're a big fan of family drama and Hollywood gossip, I think you're going to like The Confession.