The Ingenue

St. Martin’s. Dec. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9781250834560. $27.99. F
What happens when the very things that make you special are taken away? That is the dilemma facing Saskia Kreis when she returns home after the death of her mother to find her legacy has vanished. Saskia used to count on three things that made her special: being a piano prodigy, being heir to the gothic mansion Elf House, and being adored by a man named Patrick. Now she no longer plays piano, and her estranged mother has left Elf House to Patrick. These present events are complemented by the novel’s dual narratives of Saskia’s life as a child and as a teen. Growing up in a fairy-tale environment, raised by a mother who wrote a series of books titled Fairy Tales for Little Feminists, Saskia traveled the world playing piano and knew that one day Elf House would be hers. But the fairy tale turned dark when at 14 she fell under the spell of Patrick, a colleague of her mother’s. In the present, as Saskia begins to realize the truth of her relationship with Patrick, she becomes more determined to keep Elf House from him. It all leads to a shocking ending.
VERDICT Kapelke-Dale (The Ballerinas) crafts a twisted suspenseful tale of expectations and identity, of love and vengeance, that will leave readers breathless.
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