Watch out Sweetpea (CJ Skuse), I think you’ve met your match! Gloria is as messed up and awful a character as you are!
How often do you come across people you dislike; people who you feel have done you wrong and who you’d like to get your revenge over on? And how often do you sit and plot what you’d like to do to them? How often do you actually do it? Not very often, right? Probably never! In fact, if you’re like most of us (relatively normal) humans, you probably only think of that clever retort, hours after an argument, don’t you?
Well meet Gloria … if you even look at her sideways, you might end up dead! She’s a master manipulator, an evil, twisted sociopath, and yes … a murderer. And every time she kills someone, she treats herself to a doll that bears a resemblance to her victim.
She wheedles her way into the life of poor, naive Maurice whose mother has died and who’s being bullied by his horrible landlord, Ian. To be honest, Maurice does need a bit of a woman’s touch – but not really a woman like Gloria. He really has no clue what’s about to hit him.
This book has the potential to be a lot more thrilling than it actually is … but what is it about dolls that just gives us the chills? There’s just something about them and the people that buy them that is just that little bit unnerving. While I expected more of an explanation and focus on the dolls, there isn’t as much as much as I’d have liked. The author also seems to lose focus at times and when I was expecting more tension, it wasn’t there.
However, Gloria herself is a well developed, complex and thoroughly intricately explored character. She’s also utterly unlikeable. But I’ve said before – these are the characters that are often the most intriguing, and the ones that I want to delve into and find out the most about! So from that respect, I wasn’t at all disappointed. I give this one 3.5 stars.
Joanna Stephen-Ward was born in the Australian outback, and grew up in Melbourne. Her school days were spent dreaming about being an opera singer or a writer. To the exasperation of her parents and teachers she spent her final year sitting at the back of the classroom writing a novel set in WW2.
When she left school she went to an opera school where she was taught drama, movement and language pronunciation and had small roles in the workshop productions. She was not good enough to become a professional opera singer, but the seeds of her novel Vissi d’arte were sown.
She left Australia and spent a year travelling around Europe and the UK. While working in outpatients for the NHS she met Peter and they married in 1985. They lived in Richmond Surrey and she worked at The National Archives, an enthralling place for anyone interested in history or crime.
Having been brought up as a lonely only child, she was astonished to discover in 2010 that she was one of eight children. She and her sister had last been together on a verandah in the outback when they were babies. They had a joyous reunion in Cornwall in 2012.
Joanna has written seven novels and is working on her eighth.
Joanna’s Social Media Links:
Twitter https://twitter.com/OperaLover12 @ OperaLover12
Thank you to the lovely Emma Welton and Bloodhound Books for inviting me to tour with them!