I’m thrilled to be on the blog tour today for The Seduction by Joanna Briscoe. Many thanks to Anne Cater for my invite onto the tour and review copy of the book.
Beth lives in the tree-shrouded no-man’s land by Camden with her partner Sol and their daughter Fern. Life is peaceful, but Beth is troubled by increasing unease. It could be the uncertainty of her mother, who disappeared when Beth was a child. Or it could be the sense that Fern is keeping secrets from her.
So she goes to therapy. Dr Tamara Bywater is there to help her patients. But what if the very person who is meant to be the solution becomes the most dangerous problem of all? And why is what’s bad for us so enticing?
I have loved previous books by Joanna Briscoe (especially Sleep With Me which was successfully adapted by television) and so The Seduction was on my 2020 wish list. I was further seduced by the blurb once I read it plus that stunning cover that appears on the hardback version I have. It perfectly captures what waits within the pages for the reader as Joanna Briscoe develops her relationships with a cast of often unlikable but thoroughly mesmerising characters.
Beth has a comfortable lifestyle as an artist, married to Sol and with a 12 year old daughter who she has a good and open relationship with. But Beth has issues relating back to her own relationship with her mother deserting her when she was a similar age and this seems to be affecting her far more than she would like to believe. So when Sol guides her towards therapy, she decides to try it. This leads her to Dr Tamara Bywater-a woman who clicks with Beth straight away but their connection may not be the outcome that they were all expecting it to be…
The slow burn of this darkly seductive storyline meant that the tension between all the main characters gradually increased, captivating the reader and making it impossible to tear their eyes away from the car crash scenario we could see coming. It was like watching a car trying to climb an icy hill on a snowy day, you just know that eventually the plot going to slowly slide into danger threatening all involved or nearby. And here no one was untouched by the way Beth reacted to her therapist. Her relationship with her teenage daughter Fern was the biggest casualty which was probably to be expected due to the similarity in their ages when Beth was traumatised by her mother’s departure. I just wanted to shake them all so they could lose the blinkers they all seemed to be wearing and see the truth about the person standing in front of them. I especially disliked Tamara and you will see why if you read The Seduction.
This is one of those domestic dramas with a hint of erotic suspense that tv producers love and I’m convinced this will be snapped up for a television dramatisation. It’s very visual in its descriptive language and I think that helps the reader to feel part of the narrative, I certainly became captivated by the compelling relationship between Beth and Tamara whilst I awaited the eruptive explosion I knew was coming.
The Seduction is a uncomfortable read at times but utterly compelling. I loved it!
Joanna Briscoe is the author of five previous novels, including the bestselling Sleep With Me, which was adapted for ITV by Andrew Davies. She has been a columnist for the Independent and the Guardian, is a literary critic for the Guardian, and broadcasts regularly on Radio 4.