Review: The Accusation by Wendy James

 

Title: The Accusation

Author: Wendy James

Published: May 20th 2019, HarperCollins AU

Status: Read May 2019- courtesy HarperCollins/Netgalley

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My Thoughts:

The Accusation is author Wendy James’ contemporary take on the Canning Affair, an eighteenth-century criminal case that titillated the Victorian public, a compelling story of trust and betrayal, guilt and innocence.

Susannah Wells, a high school drama teacher, has been living with her mother in the small rural community of Enfield Wash for a just a few months. It’s a quiet life, her mothers dementia driven outbursts aside, in contrast with the years she spent as a young starlet on a popular TV soap.

Susannah, like the rest of the residents in Enfield Wash, expresses her shock when news breaks that a frail, bedraggled young woman has been found on the outskirts of town, claiming to have been abducted, drugged and chained to a bed for more than a month. When presented with the initial results of the police investigation, Ellie tearfully confirms the identity of her captors- Susannah Wells, and her mother, Mary.

Susannah vehemently denies the accusation, but with her arrest, her friends, even her closest friend, her colleagues, the townspeople, and the public at large, judge her guilty. Only her lover, Chip, is willing to believe in Susannah’s innocence, but even his faith begins to waiver as seemingly irrefutable evidence against Susannah builds.

If Susannah is innocent, why was evidence of Ellie’s ordeal found in her home? If Susannah is innocent, what possible motive could a stranger, especially a beautiful and bright young woman like Ellie, have to accuse her? If Susannah is innocent, who is guilty?

I raced through The Accusation, utterly engrossed by the question of Susannah’s guilt or innocence. James skilfully keeps the reader guessing, even while probing the possibilities of truth and deceit.

The story is structured in three parts, covering a period of about 12 months, for the most part progressing linearly, with the occasional slip backward and forward in time. Primarily the narrative unfolds from the perspectives of Susannah, and Honor, Ellie’s PR representative, with brief excerpts from a documentary produced about the case, after its resolution.

Of particular interest is the way in which James explores the role of ‘spin’ and social media in contributing to Ellie’s new found celebrity status, and Susannah’s public vilification. It’s an all too real scenario that demonstrates how easily the public can be manipulated, and how easily truth is dismissed.

The Accusation is provocative and gripping, a contemporary psychological thriller that should be moved to the top of your reading list.

Read an Excerpt

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Available to purchase from HarperCollins AU

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko

Also reviewed at Book’d Out by Wendy James

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Laurel-Rain Snow
    May 16, 2019 @ 09:34:54

    I love the sound of this one. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

    Reply

  2. butimbeautiful
    May 16, 2019 @ 10:52:16

    I vaguely remember a Victorian case like that.. without the contemporary overlay, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. Mia is mine
    May 16, 2019 @ 11:50:51

    Thank you so much for your review as well as your phrase, “I raced through it…” Very intriguing.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? | book'd out
  5. Jade @ Scatterbooker
    May 28, 2019 @ 11:12:21

    Great review! I have this on my list and I’m really looking forward to it! 📚❤📚

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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