Today’s post will be all about Jessie Burton’s latest novel The Confession. I’d have to say that The Confession is one of the best books I’ve read recently – and probably my favourite read from this year so far – so of course I had to write a review about it! Read on to find out my thoughts!
One winter’s afternoon on Hampstead Heath in 1980, Elise Morceau meets Constance Holden and quickly falls under her spell. Connie is bold and alluring, a successful writer whose novel is being turned into a major Hollywood film. Elise follows Connie to LA, a city of strange dreams and swimming pools and late-night gatherings of glamorous people. But whilst Connie thrives on the heat and electricity of this new world where everyone is reaching for the stars and no one is telling the truth, Elise finds herself floundering. When she overhears a conversation at a party that turns everything on its head, Elise makes an impulsive decision that will change her life forever.
Three decades later, Rose Simmons is seeking answers about her mother, who disappeared when she was a baby. Having learned that the last person to see her was Constance Holden, a reclusive novelist who withdrew from public life at the peak of her fame, Rose is drawn to the door of Connie’s imposing house in search of a confession . . .
From the million-copy bestselling author of The Miniaturist and The Muse, this is a luminous, powerful and deeply moving novel about secrets and storytelling, motherhood and friendship, and how we lose and find ourselves.
The Confession is an engaging novel that weaves together friendship, motherhood, secrets, love, loss and identity. It’s set more recently than Jessie Burton’s previous two novels The Miniaturist and The Muse and is split into 2 timelines: the 1970s-1980s and the present day. The chapters that are set in the 1970s-1980s focus on the young Elise, who is drawn to an author called Constance Holden and accompanies her on a trip to America, where she is sucked into a world of glitz and glam in Los Angeles; in the other chapters, we are introduced to Elise’s daughter Rose, who feels that something is missing from her life and is eager to find out why her mother disappeared when she was a baby. It is through a job opening that Rose meets Constance, who was the last person to see Elise all those years ago and has been shut off from the rest of the world ever since. Although there is deception involved at first, Connie opens up to Rose and reveals why Elise vanished.
As with The Miniaturist and The Muse, The Confession is beautifully written. Despite being a relatively large novel of over 400 pages, Jessie Burton kept my attention the entire time and I didn’t want to put it down. The dual timeline is handled with ease and both storylines flow well together.
Women and their relationships are at the forefront of the novel. Elise and Constance seem to have a close bond at the beginning, until a couple of incidents make them question everything they knew about each other. Similarly, Rose has a rocky relationship with her boyfriend, which becomes even more unsteady after Rose starts working for Connie. Elise and Connie’s relationship was the most compelling aspect of The Confession, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading Rose’s uncovering of the mystery surrounding her mother’s disappearance. Rose is quite similar to Elise in that they are both lonely and fascinated by Constance – they lost their own mothers at a young age and see Constance as a maternal figure who provides comfort to them when they feel as though they have no one else.
The Confession will appeal to fans of Jessie Burton and anyone interested in books about female identity. I’d love to see a sequel, or perhaps a TV show, as I feel like there’s more to both Rose and Elise’s stories.
What have you been reading during lockdown? Have you read anything by Jessie Burton?