2020 Reviews · contemporary fiction · new release · suspense · thriller

New Release Book Review: Precious You by Helen Monks Takhar

Title: Precious Youprecious you small

Author: Helen Monks Takhar

Published: March 23rd 2020

Publisher: HQ Fiction – GB

Pages: 400

Genres:  Fiction, Contemporary, Suspense, Thriller

RRP: $29.99

Rating: 3 stars

She’s got your job. She wants your life…

When Katherine first meets her new intern Lily, she’s immediately captivated. Young, beautiful and confident, Lily reminds Katherine of everything she once was – and it’s not long before she develops a dark fascination with her new colleague.

But is Lily as perfect as she seems, or does she have a sinister hidden agenda? As Katherine is drawn into an obsessive power struggle with the intern, a disturbing picture emerges of two women hiding dark secrets – and who are desperate enough to do anything to come out on top…

Breathlessly addictive and deeply unsettling, Precious You is a thriller like no other. Taut, terrifying and with shocking twists at every turn, it will keep you guessing until the very last page.

Review:

An up to the minute novel, Precious You is the debut thriller from author Helen Monks Takhar. This dark and convoluted tale has already been optioned for a television adaptation, with the author set to produce the series. Precious You is a topical novel that delves into the pitfalls of a working relationship marred by rivalry, revenge, jealousy and above all, a generational divide.

When Katherine, an editor in chief returns to the workplace following a bout of extended leave, she faces up to a new intern. In her early twenties, Lily the intern represents everything Katherine is not. Lily is enterprising, overly sensitive, privileged and she has a social media obsession Katherine fails to understand. Katherine is envious of Lily’s youth and she immediately begins to fixate on the young woman’s beauty. As this complex rivalry escalates between a woman once in her prime and a young upstart, dark secrets, along with sinister plans come to light. Underneath, both these women are not who they appear to be in the public forum. As desperation pulses through each woman, the question remains as to which one will triumph over the over.

Drawing on her career as a journalist, copywriter and a magazine editor, British author Helen Monks Takhar has released her debut novel that features an editor in chief of a magazine as her lead. The years of experience and insight the author brings to her debut ensures that Precious You is an in touch novel.

Precious You is structured in the form of two alternating points of view. The book’s narration is divided equally between editor Katherine and intern Lily. The two women are completely different at first glance, but as the story progresses, their shared experiences and mode of thinking gradually allows the audience to see they are not so far removed. The narration is intimate and we get a strong sense of each individual’s thought patterns. We see their faults, as well as assets, their confidence levels and moments of plunging self-doubt. I really wasn’t sure what side to declare my allegiance to as I disliked both women! I also found that each woman seemed a tad unreliable, so this exacerbated my ire towards both ladies.

I respect the author’s willingness to confront a range of controversial issues in her debut release. Precious You explores modern feminism, the male gaze, power, status, career aspirations, sexuality, ageing, social media influences and self-image. Helen Monks Takhar tackles these tenuous themes with a fearless approach. However, my sheer distaste for both leads, along with some of the self-absorbed situations they were faced with got on my nerves. As a result, my reading of this novel was somewhat hampered by my distaste for the characters, which was unfortunate as I could appreciate the importance of the issues the book raised.

At times the style of narration in Precious You reminded me of Caroline Kepnes’ You, with a little of The Whisper Network thrown in. I tend to avoid book comparisons but in this case I did cast my mind back to the above mentioned novels while reading Precious You. Despite some problems I encountered, namely with the characters of Precious You, something about this novel did push me to persist until the end.

A searing, albeit shrewd look at the lengths some will go to in order to maintain their position of power and prestige is explored by first time novelist Helen Monks Takhar. Precious You may strike the interest of contemporary fiction readers.

Precious You by Helen Monks Takhar was published on 23rd March 2020 by HQ Fiction – GB. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of Precious You, Helen Monks Takhar, visit here.

*I wish to thank Harlequin Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.

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