The Blog-Tour for The Birthday Girl by Sue Fortin has been a whirlwind so far and I am stoked to be a part of it. It is a an excellent read with a spectacular plot. Fortin has a wicked imagination with an eye for the unusual and the courage to put it to good use.
About the Author
Published by Harper Collins’ imprint Harper Impulse, Sue Fortin writes mystery, suspense and romance. Sue is a member of both the Crime Writers’ Association and The Romantic Novelists’ Association.
Sue is a USA Today and an Amazon UK #1 best selling author, with The Girl Who Lied and Sister Sister both reaching #1 in the Amazon UK Kindle chart in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Translation rights for both novels have been sold worldwide.
Lover of cake, Dragonflies and France. Hater of calories, maths and snakes. Sue was born in Hertfordshire but had a nomadic childhood, moving often with her family, before eventually settling in West Sussex.
Sue is married with four children, all of whom patiently give her time to write but, when not behind the keyboard, she likes to spend her time with them, enjoying both the coast and the South Downs, between which they are nestled.
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About the book
Dear Carys, Zoe and Andrea,
Come and join me for my fortieth birthday adventure weekend, full of mysteries and surprises the like of which you can’t imagine.
When Joanne’s friends reluctantly accept an invitation to her birthday party, it quickly becomes clear that there is more to this weekend than they are expecting. One of them is hiding a secret. And Joanne is planning to reveal it…
A weekend away in a cottage in the woods sounds like fun – until no one can hear your cries for help.
A party to die for.
Who will survive?
Can you please tell us a bit about The Birthday Girl? The Birthday Girl is about four women who have been friends for some time, but recently things have been strained between them for one reason and another. One of the women, Joanne, decides to throw a surprise birthday weekend away for the four of them but it soon becomes apparent that clearing the air is not on the birthday wish list. In fact, Joanne has something rather more unsettling planned.
The Birthday Girl is gripping, and also quite scary at times, despite being set in an idyllic cottage in the country. What do you think it is about the countryside that creates such a sense of fear? Town and city life is very much man-made, the infrastructure has been thought out carefully so people can benefit the most, it’s organised and there are lots of rules. In the countryside this is much less apparent, especially somewhere like the Scottish countryside where nature is the dominant force and outside our control.
The Birthday Girl also deals with secrets and the effect they have on friendship, what made you want to exploit those themes? Friendships are complicated and have many, many layers to them. My family moved around quite a lot as I was growing up, so every 3 years or so, I had establish new friendships. As I got older and hit my teens, I found this to be quite a challenge. As an adult and since having children, I’ve found that friendships come in tranches, depending on your circumstances, what you’re doing, what your priority is at that particular time. Some are quite transient whilst others can be lasting. Some friendships are rock solid and others, when you scratch the surface, have underlying tensions. It’s a totally fascinating theme to explore.
What’s currently on your reading list? Hundreds! I wish I could read faster. I’m actually reading a proof copy of ‘White Bodies’ by Jane Robins at the moment. I’m only a few chapters in but it’s got my attention already. Then I’ve promised myself ‘A Stranger’s House’ by Clare Chase and then ‘The Dry’ by Jane Harper. After that it will be around Christmas time, so I’ll treat myself to a few Christmas feel-good reads, Sue Moorcroft’s ‘The Little Village Christmas’ being one of them.
What would be your ideal birthday party? Going to someone else’s! I can honestly say, I’ve never had a birthday party of my own in my life and the thought of being the centre of attention makes me shudder. So, I suppose, my ideal party would be just my husband and children at home or in our cottage in France.
My first thought when I finished this book was oh wow that’s so messed up, but in a this author has a knack for the twisted psychological fast-paced compelling read I really enjoy way.
Carys, Zoe and Andrea are invited by their friend Joanne to celebrate her birthday. Nothing strange about that until you take a closer look. The truth is each one of the invited girls seems to have some underlying issues with Joanne, so the invitation is a bit of a surprise. Her behaviour has been passive-aggressive and her running commentary quite snarky. The kind of snarky that makes you wonder if the woman is having a laugh or having a go.
One of them is hiding a secret from the others and Joanne plans to reveal it in a way they will least expect it. Perhaps Joanne has underestimated the lengths some people will go to, to keep their secrets hidden from the rest of the world. She feels like the cat that got the cream and is acting as if she has the power to do anything she wants, especially in the bizarre location she has chosen to celebrate her birthday.
Needless to say the best laid plans go completely awry and set a sequence of events in motion that are both bizarre and often inexplicable. Behind every door hides a different danger and behind each supposedly friendly face a potential threat.
Within the plot there is a focus on Carys and her personal story. It takes a peculiar and menacing turn a la being chased by an inner madness, and hearing whispers on par with the devil himself sitting on top of her shoulder. What is she hiding and why?
If there is anything you can expect from The Birthday Girl then it is to expect the unexpected. It has a subtle sinister feel to it. Just when you think you have it figured out Fortin throws a wrench in the middle of your theory. There is an intentional or perhaps completely unintentional clue smack bang in the middle of the book, which points towards the guilty party, but hey my lips are sealed.
It’s a compelling rule-breaker of a story. Fortin will make you question every detail you think you know and leave you with more unanswered questions than you started with. If you’re looking for a rollercoaster read then you have picked the right book, just keep in mind that it might send you full throttle into a cloud of doubt. Exactly the way I like it, I might add.