The Engagement

The Engagement
Chloe Hooper
Reviewed by Rachel Sanderson
Random House
Thu, 24/01/2013

British property dealer Liese Campbell has decided that she wishes to leave her uncle's company in Australia, when a proposal from her rich 'client' Alexander Colquhoun prompts her decision to stay a little longer. 

Liese and Alexander's current situation involves her showing the wealthy farmer extravagently luxurious properties – and then sleeping with him inside them for money. Upon learning of her idea to move back to the UK, Alexander approaches Liese with an offer she can't refuse: a weekend in his country retreat, all expenses paid and a nice tidy sum for Liese to head back home with. Liese accepts, but once the weekend he has planned for them begins, she suddenly realises that she really doesn’t know the mysterious Alexander nearly as well as she thought she did.

A combination of the stark, harsh beauty of the Outback's landscape; the plush but fusty house; and the strange behaviour of her companion leave Liese not quite sure what to believe any more. The Engagement is a disturbing and unnerving insight into the psyche of two unusual characters (of course, there are conveniently no neighbours, nearby towns or even mobile phone reception).

Cleverly crafted, the book plays on the subconscious fears we all have and calls into question just how well we know ourselves or anyone else. It's an intriguing read with a strange twist and a conclusion that leaves the reader feeling as though they have reached the surface just before they ran out of breath.


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