ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – The Escape by Ruth Kelly

The Escape by Ruth Kelly is published by Pan Macmillan and available now in paperback, eBook and audiobook. It’s also just been announced as one of the Richard & Judy Book Club winter titles. My thanks to Chloe Davies for sending me a copy for review.

From bestselling author Ruth Kelly, The Escape is an electrifying thriller of influencers, secrets and lies set in a grand mansion in rural France for fans of Lisa Jewell and Sarah Pearse.


When struggling influencer couple Adele and Jack post a crowdfunding video online, they’re amazed when a mysterious benefactor offers to buy them a crumbling French chateau. It’s the lifeline they need to leave all their troubles behind.


For Adele, it’s a dream come true. She will post videos of the renovation as thousands of online subscribers follow their journey. But the chateau is not all it seems and the local community is far from welcoming.


Then Adele’s videos suddenly stop. Her sister Erin visits to make sure she’s OK, but the couple have vanished. Between the obsession of Adele’s fans and the claustrophobic secrecy of the nearby town, Erin must unravel the shocking truth behind the couple’s disappearance . . .

‘A deliciously dark look at the world of influencers set against the backdrop of a glamorous French chateau – tense and shocking’ Catherine Cooper

After reading Ruth Kelly’s previous novel, The Villa, I was really looking forward to reading The Escape and I’ve come to realise that this is an author who writes absolutely addictive stories.

The Escape follows Adele and Jack. Adele is an aspiring influencer but living on a housing estate and working in a hotel doesn’t quite do it for her. She wants more and on a whim posts a video asking for crowdfunding to buy a run-down French chateau. Not everyone is behind her but it only takes one enigmatic donor and she has her dream home. It’s when Erin, Adele’s sister, stops hearing from her and goes to France to find out what’s happened that it becomes apparent that all is not what it seems.

A small town enclosed community, a sprawling chateau, secrets, rules, mysterious gardeners. It’s all in The Escape and I found it hard to put down. It seemed pretty clear that nothing was quite what Adele and Jack were expecting but as the story unravelled it took me on a sinister and unexpected journey into depravation and affluence. It’s all very well being an influencer, but that often means laying your life wide open for all to see and that can be a very dangerous thing to do, as Adele soon finds out.

Ruth Kelly is now an author whose books I will pick up without knowing anything about them. She writes very twisty stories which enthral me and I’ve loved the focus on how social media and reality shows can bring anyone their fifteen minutes of fame. I’m excited for what comes next from this talented writer. In the meantime, I heartily recommend The Escape which is dark, original and totally gripping.

Ruth Kelly is a journalist who has ghosted a string of Sunday Times top ten bestsellers – most recently The Prison Doctor, which sold over 250,000 copies, and The Governor, which went straight in at number one on the Amazon charts and number five in the Sunday Times bestseller list.

Holiday destinations feature heavily in Ruth’s thriller writing having spent most of her life traveling and exploring the world. Her family relocated to Papua New Guinea when she was seven-years-old and the travel bug hasn’t let up since. The simmering threat of what lies beneath the surface, the dichotomy of how paradise can also be hell fascinates Ruth. Making a destination a character in its own right – both a friend and an enemy, not someone to be trusted – is a thread explored throughout her writing.

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