Cold Light by Jenn Ashworth

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Cold Light by Jenn Ashworth

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Category: Literary Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A dark, unsettling story which perfectly captures the cruelty of teenage girls and the way that adults will accept that things are as they want them to be. Great characterisations and a twisty plot. Highly recommended. Jenn Ashworth was kind enough to talk to Bookbag.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: May 2011
Publisher: Sceptre
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1444721447

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Cold Light is the story of three teenage girls who become involved in a predatory adult world. As the story opens we're looking back on what happened from a decade later and we know that one of the girls, Chloë, died in a Valentine's Day suicide pact. The town council has finally decided on a memorial to Chloë – it's to be a summerhouse at the side of the pond where she drowned, although it's difficult to understand quite why anyone would want to sit there. The ground-breaking ceremony is being televised when it becomes obvious that something has gone terribly wrong. But Lola, our narrator, knows that they've found a body. She also knows who it is.

It's not quite three months since I sat next to Jenn Ashworth at lunch. She was great company and I couldn't remember when I'd last laughed quite so much. I knew that when I got hold of her book there would be no way that I would be passing it on to anyone else. I was expecting great things, but, in the event, I was a little reluctant to open the book because it's unfair to have such high expectations. I picked it up early one evening – and finally put it down in the early hours of the following morning. It's absolutely superb.

The three girls – Chloë, Emma and Lola – are superb creations. Jenn Ashworth brings them off the page brilliantly. They're friends who're not really friends at all despite the fact that they share their most intimate secrets with each other. There's certainly a nasty streak in Chloë, but that's swept under the carpet after her death, along with a lot of other inconvenient facts. A gloss is being put on the death, along with a halo on Chloë's head.

The story of what happened when the girls were fourteen emerges piece by piece. Just when you think you've nearly got it sorted in your own mind everything changes. You never quite reach the point of feeling comfortable with the story and there are times when the suspense feels like a tourniquet. But Jenn Ashworth builds her story like a craftsman and just when you think that you can't take any more the black humour will surface.

BBC2's The Culture Show named Jenn Ashworth as one of their twelve best new British novelists. She's not yet thirty and her writing is brilliant. She is definitely one to watch.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

For another brilliant read we can recommend The Coffee Story by Peter Salmon.

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Buy Cold Light by Jenn Ashworth at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Cold Light by Jenn Ashworth at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Cold Light by Jenn Ashworth at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Cold Light by Jenn Ashworth at

Bookinterviews.jpg Jenn Ashworth was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.


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