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3.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,413 ratings  ·  336 reviews
She loves me. She loves me not.

Bo Luxton has it all – a loving family, a beautiful home in the Lake District, and a clutch of bestselling books to her name.
Enter Alice Dark, an aspiring writer who is drifting through life, with a series of dead-end jobs and a freeloading boyfriend.
When they meet at a writers’ retreat, the chemistry is instant, and a sinister relationshi
Paperback, 300 pages
Published October 1st 2017 by Orenda Books
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Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,413 ratings  ·  336 reviews

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Chelsea Humphrey
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Chelsea by: Orenda Books
Shelves: from-publisher
Do you see how short the blurb is for this book? There's a reason for that. Honestly, you shouldn't even be reading this review, so I'm going to do you a favor and keep it short. In fact, this might be the most brief, vague, and aggravating review you read in 2017. I'm not going to sit here and over-hype this book for you. I've had too many books ruined for myself in that way to do it to someone else, so I'll keep it simple. If you have any specific questions regarding triggers and content, plea ...more
First things first, if critical reviews rub you the wrong way, you might want to bypass this one—it's not pretty or exquisite. *wink*

I’m honestly dumbfounded that Exquisite was categorized as a psychological thriller—or described as “startlingly original”—when there is a blatant lack of thrills, shock-and-awe or twists to get excited about. Personally, I would consider this to be more of a darker women’s fiction novel with a been-there, done-that narrative. I think we’ve all read some version of
When love becomes an obsession...when promises turn to lies...and when hearts shatter.

Bo is a well-known author that hosts a writers’ workshop. A refreshing week away from the city for a group of aspiring writers to collaborate and learn from someone successful in the field.

Alice is among the fortunate few to be included. Only in her mid-twenties, Alice already feels trapped in a life of dead-end jobs and boyfriends when she wins an opportunity to attend the workshop, all expenses paid.

Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
4.5 stars

Craziness at its best!

Exquisite is a psychological thriller fueled by madness, obsession, and darkness.

When famous novelist Bo Luxton takes aspiring writer Alice Dark under her wing, their relationship grows from friendship into an illicit and dangerous love affair. Things become so intense that one of them winds up in jail.

Both Alice and Bo share their POVs. A masterful game of cat and mouse plays out between the two women. Who is telling the truth and who is lying?

I thoroughly e
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Dear Sarah Stovell,
Thank you immensely for getting me out of my book slump and finally giving me an amazing gem of a psychological thriller!! Ugh! Did I so need this book!!

This was such a creative and unique book. We meet Bo Luxton who basically has it all.. a beautiful family with 2 little girls and huge success as an author. Bo meets Alice Dark who is a young aspiring writer that hasn't quite found herself in life yet. Bo and Alice meet one another at a writers retreat and the chemistry right
Susanne  Strong
2.75 Stars* (rounded up)

Well, this one was a let-down ladies and gents and it was a book I went into having no idea what to expect. You are going to see lots of rave reviews for “Exquisite” by Sarah Stovell but you are not going to get one from me. And I’m not going to talk about the plot because I went into this blind and so should you. That being said, WTH? The characters in this book and the plot itself? Well, it was a little whack, I’ll say that - but it just didn’t work. Things moved way to
DNF @ 42%

I went into this book completely blind so I had no idea what to expect. I have seen some really good reviews and high praises for this book but at 42% in I have decided that I am not going to finish this book. It simply just didn't work for me and I was more annoyed with it more than anything. Even though my mom loved this one and encouraged me to finish it....I’ll try again.....I will! 🤠

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Sarah Stovell, and Trafalgar Square Publishing for providing me an A
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Opening up with a character talking to you from a woman's prison? You realize that maybe she isn't quite right? I got so excited I about peed my pants.
I've been on a total worship of Netflixing Wentworth and was hoping for some good evil woman stuff going on.

(Kelly, I will shut up one day about this show so get your finger off that unfriend button)

I shoulda realized that NO ONE tops Ferguson.

Anyways, this story is about an author who is teaching a writer's retreat. On the retreat she meets
Miriam Smith
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: orenda
“Exquisite” by name “Exquisite” by nature!
I found this brilliant book to be utterly outstanding and so aptly named!
I LOVED this compelling, addictive and totally gripping story and although I try not to use the word ‘unputdownable’, for me it truly was.
This dark story of obsessive, toxic and warped love is told from the alternating point of view of the two main female characters, Alice Dark, a twenty five year old aspiring writer and Bo Luxton, a forty year old and married established author wh
Diane S ☔
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was a sisters read and the group was entrenched in to polar camps. Those of us, such as myself, who were having trouble relating to the book, did much eye rolling as we were reading. I mentioned at one point that the constant, I love you, I adore you, was curdling my stomach. I mean really, who talks like this in real life? If they did,couldn't you be tempted to run the other way. I would. Of course, for the story to progress, the other involved person answered in kind. Rather nauseating.

Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
4 stars! This was a highly addictive, fast paced and thrilling read. I could not put this book down!

This disturbing and creepy story revolves around secrets, lies, obsession and manipulation. Alice and Bo are the two main characters, one an aspiring author and the other a highly successful author. They meet at a writing course retreat. The story is told alternating between their two perspectives and I found myself equally intrigued within both storylines. Each chapter uncovers a new hidden secre
Oct 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, netgalley, arc
This is a beautifully written thriller from a very talented author. I honestly struggled with how to rate this one as the prose just flows off the page and is truly impressive, however the storyline fell short for me.

This is a thriller, yes, but I would not say it is of the psychological variety. It is extremely slow moving and character driven - the author did a beautiful job of getting into the mind of some very damaged individuals. However, without giving away plot points and spoilers, the st
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Any fan of psychological thrillers should put this on their must read list.
Recommended to Bren by: Chelsea Humphrey
“Unrequited love had been all I was capable of. It gave me all the emotional jolts of real love, without ever having to drown myself in intimacy. Now, I realised, that drama had been reversed. Now, I drew people in and then retreated. Their hearts broke and I watched from the sidelines, guilty and ashamed, but with all the satisfaction of knowing I was deeply loved, while never having to make any of it real.”
Sarah Stovell-Exquisite


It’s also: dark. Deliciously dark. And it’s myst
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
All of my reviews can be found on

Well hello my new favorite psych thriller of 2017, I’ve been waiting to find you! This book was so completely and totally absorbing, it consumed me while I was reading it and I found myself enraptured by it. I know that it’s been getting quite a bit of hype for several months now, but it’s well deserved here. I remember several months ago when the cover was revealed and I just knew this was going to be a special book. It not only lived up to m
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I’m not going to go into the plot too much in this review because I think the reader should go into it not knowing much.

The book starts out when a well-known author meets a young woman at a writer’s conference. From there, the story is one of obsession and manipulation. But who is lying and who is manipulating who? There were times I wasn't sure! This most definitely is not a romance or love story, not even a little bit. The chapters alternate between the two characters and an unnamed person in
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Chick-lit and women's fiction readers
2.75 stars

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Drama: 5/5
POVs: (view spoiler)
Pace: Steady

Alice dreams of being a professional author but the goal seems impossible. She regrets not finishing college, is financially in a rut, and her boyfriend's useless and equally as clueless. Alice is on the verge of wanting to turn her life around but needs more encouragement to do so. When she's befriended by the popular author, Bo Luxton, she embraces the relationship wholeheartedly an
I loved this book. It really is exquisite. I found it almost impossible to put down, and when I had to put it down, I was thinking about it, as I had an enduring urge to devour the rest of it. This book certainly had my full attention for the time I was reading it. In fact, a part of me didn’t want it to end.

Exquisite is a darkly compelling story of love, obsession and manipulation. I would say it’s a sort psychological domestic noir mystery thriller, and of a very high standard too. The main ch
Exquisite is a headfuck of a thriller that resembles a number of literary novels I've read* – and in some cases loved – if their most theatrical elements were ramped up, put in a blender, and distilled into the now-familiar formula: two narrators telling different versions of the same story, an obsessive relationship that goes too far, and more twists than a bag of fusilli.

Bo Luxton is a successful author, albeit one whose star is on the wane. In her early forties, she's married with two little
Holly  B (semi-hiatus until Jan)
Just a quick mini-review here....dissenting opinion...

I had high hopes for this book (which I own) and almost from the first few pages I was having problems with the author's style/writing. It lacked emotion, connections, and most importantly it failed to engage or capture my interest. It was too contrived and lacked spontaneity for me. I ultimately was just bored and just didn't care about the story or how it would end. The jail letters did interest me, but they were a very small portion of the
Liz Barnsley
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When you have been reading psychological thrillers for as long as I have you start to believe that nothing can surprise you, that you have read every nuance possible, there is nothing new to see just variations on a theme, some good, some dreadful – but it’s almost like you get into a zone, the next psychological thriller is a bit like a comfort blanket.

Then a book like “Exquisite” comes along and knocks your socks off, lights dynamite under your reading slumber and explodes your brain into a mi
Crime by the Book
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Couldn't wait til my blog tour date to talk about this one!!! Here's a little preview post: 3 reasons why EXQUISITE belongs on your TBR ;)

Brilliant. Just absolutely brilliant. Chilling, twisty, sexy, and tense - I LOVED this one. A must-read psychological thriller. Full review to come!!!
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I’ve been looking forward to reading this ever since I first saw the cover (which still gives me goosebumps) and oh my this didn’t disappoint.

The prologue did its job well – its intriguing and teasing premise made me desperate to read on. When I came to the end I had to go back and read this part again, with the knowledge that I now had putting it into context.

Bo Luxton, a successful author with a happy’ish family life meets younger Alice Dark whilst teaching on a writing retreat. Having been im
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, 4-star-liked
I loved it. A true psychological thriller. I can't say anything else without giving it away.
Janelle Janson
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
EXQUISITE by Sarah Stovell - Thank you so much to Orenda Books for providing my free copy - all opinions are my own.

"I looked at her. I’d been speaking to this woman for less than half an hour, and in that time, it felt as though she stripped off my skin and seen right to the very heart of me. It was exhilarating, in a way. And frightening.”

My Review:

This was our inaugural pick for Instagram's Black Heart Reads book club and I loved it! I really enjoyed Stovell's writing style as she seamlessly
Bill Kupersmith
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tho’ I’d intended Exquisite for my Audible travelling book, it took such a hold on me that I had to stay home to finish it on the kindle amidst the security of my couch. Alice Dark, a 20-something living in Brighton with a messy & unfocussed life goes on a week’s writing course in the wilds of Northumberland (Sarah Stovell lives in Hexham - after reading Paula Hawkins’ Into the Water, I’ve put that town on my to-visit list) with 40ish Bo Luxton, a successful novelist who lives in the Lake Distri ...more
Joanne Robertson
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I wanted to read this book before I had even read the blurb for it, that cover just blew me away!! It enticed me inside with it’s dark sensuality and once I was in there, it seduced me entirely with it’s unrelenting ambiguity until I was dizzy with self conflict. Who should I believe? Who did I WANT to believe? Both women confused me but they also enthralled me and I became slightly obsessed by their relationship as I watched it develop with an horrific fascination.

This has to be one of the best
Psychological thriller featuring an age-gap pairing of an established author with a flighty up and coming wannabe writer. Bring on the unreliable narrator and watch this story unfold. I was caught up in this read/listen until the dramatic twists failed to materialize and the book ended in a whimper and not a bang. Good effort but weak finale.
Tracy Fenton
May 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh My! Where do I begin? Firstly I apologise as I don't think my ramblings will give this book half the credit it deserves and as I am not a writer myself I am finding it difficult to put my emotions and thoughts down coherently. However I will give it a go.

Bo Luxton is a successful author, married with a two young daughters and living a life of harmony in the Lake District. Alice Dark is a young aspiring writer without much direction in her life and meets Bo on a Creative Writing course. Almos
⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

My reviews and (maybe) some other random thoughts can also be seen at



This is such a hard review for me to write. I wanted to love this book, oh how I wanted to, but alas that isn't what happened. I am also fully aware that I am in the minority here. Most people think this is one of THE books of 2017, but for me it didn't live up to the hype.

The blurb being short was a great choice, and
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“Unrequited love had been all I was capable of. It gave me all the emotional jolts of real love, without ever having to drown myself in intimacy. Now, I realised, that drama had been reversed. Now, I drew people in and then retreated. Their hearts broke and I watched from the sidelines, guilty and ashamed, but with all the satisfaction of knowing I was deeply loved, while never having to make any of it real.” 2 likes
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