BOOK CLUB: The Confession

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By Jessie Burton
ISBN: 9781509886159
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia

The Confession is the third novel and fourth published book by Jessie Burton and the first of her works I have read.

Those who are offended by explicit language should be aware that, although only occasionally used, some of the language in this book goes beyond what is generally considered acceptable.

The book focuses on two women, Elise Morceau in the 1980s and her daughter Rose from 2017. Rose has no memory of her mother, who left when she was a tiny baby, and she has been raised by her father since then. Due to her father’s reluctance to provide any information about her mother, why or how she disappeared, Rose spent much of her childhood making up fanciful stories about her mother’s absence.

Then one day Rose’s father hands her two books, Wax Heart and Green Rabbit, both written by Constance Holden. He reluctantly advises that Elise and Connie were lovers before he and Elise entered into a relationship and that Connie was the last person to see Elise before she disappeared. If anyone knows what happened to Elise, it would be Connie.

Connie has been a recluse for most of the last thirty years and although Rose wishes to contact her to find out more she is unsure how to. On a whim, she makes contact with Connie’s old publishing agent. The harried assistant who answers the phone assumes Rose is the recruitment agency calling back to say they have a suitable applicant for the position with Constance Holden. And so the character Laura Brown is born and Rose (AKA Laura) is sent to meet Constance to determine if she is suitable for the position (despite having no idea what the requirements of the position are).

The tale moves between Elise’s story which begins in 1980 when she is 22 and Connie is 36 and Rose/Laura’s story beginning in 2017 when Rose is 34 and Connie 73. Leading us through the meeting and burgeoning relationship of Elise and Connie, their tumultuous relationship and what led to the birth of Rose three years later. While at the same time a relationship of a different kind is developing between Rose/Laura and Connie.

But what will happen when the reclusive and very private Connie discovers that Laura is actually Rose, and the real reason she has infiltrated her way into Connie’s home. Will Rose get the answers she so desperately wants about what happened with her parents and where her mother is now, or will her world come crashing down?

I find myself in two minds about this book. I found the first half or more of the book to be quite tedious and hard to immerse myself in. The characters didn’t appear quite real and to me were quite two dimensional. However, I am glad I persevered because the second half or so of the book was more enjoyable and a much more immersive experience.
I absolutely loved the cover of the book with the outline of the woman inside the green rabbit and the trailing roses with embossed foil leaves.

Many thanks to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Pan Macmillan Australia for the opportunity to read and review this book, although the writing style was not to my taste I have no doubt that others would thoroughly enjoy Burton’s latest offering.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club members have been reading The Confession by Jessie Burton. You can read their reviews in the comments section below. Read it? We would love to hear your thoughts!

13 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Confession

  1. Loved your review Marcia. I enjoy dual timelines and i’m Looking forward to reading this one. The cover is amazing it draws me to the book every time I see it.

  2. This book is about two women: Elise in the early 1980s and her daughter Rose in the present day.

    Elise meets and falls in love with Connie Holden who is a successful writer. Connie’s novel is being turned into a big Hollywood movie, so they both travel to Los Angeles to oversee the adaptation while it is being made. Elise does not feel comfortable in LA and finds it hard to adapt as their relationship becomes strained.

    Rose Simmons mother, Elise Morceau disappeared when she was a baby and she has spent her life not knowing who her mother is, she is in a job she doesn’t like and her relationship is falling apart. Rose father gives her a book Connie has written and tells Rose she knew her mother and might know what had happened to her.

    Rose tracks down Connie and changes her name to “Laura Brown” to secures a position as her assistant. As she learns about her mother she becomes to feel whole with her identity.

    The Confession is a story about secrets, love, loss, friendship, heartache, motherhood, belonging and mystery.

    It is such a lovely and enjoyable read in which I recommend

    I would like to thank B&L and Pan Macmillan Australia for the opportunity to read and review.

  3. Thank you to B&L for allowing me to read and review this book, The Confession.
    I must admit that I did find this a little difficult to dive in to, however, I am glad that I perservered.
    The dual timeline I do like, as each reveals little by little the storyline. I found the second half of the book more exciting as the characters really come to life.

  4. Thank you for the opportunity to read The Confession.

    From the little I had read about the book I was expecting something different.

    It started in London with Elise meeting Connie in the 80’s and them having a good relationship. Connie is a writer and when her book becomes a movie they go to LA for filming. This is when their relationship runs into problems and life changes for them both.

    Fast forward to current day and Elise’s daughter Rose is handed two books by Connie and told this may be a way to find her mother, as Connie was the last person to see her. These came from her father reluctantly. Rose has been having a hard time finding her way in life and her current relationship and feels this may help her.

    Through a series of accidents Rose becomes Laura and ends up working for Connie. They get along quite well, especially considering Connie has been a recluse for many years. This makes it hard to bring up the subject of Elise.

    The story goes back and forward between the two times and we get to see more of what happens to everyone and how they make their decisions. I found it a little hard to connect with the characters as their experiences were so different to mine – all of them. The story gets more intriguing and interesting as it goes on and I want to find out more all the time. I connected to some of the characters more by the end of the book, as they became more flawed and real.

  5. “The Confession” by Jessie Burton is not the sort of book that I usually read but it pulled me in very quickly. The language was very poetic which made it difficult to skim but that helped me absorb the words. Told in 2 timelines but focused on 3 very different women, all with relatable flaws. They were all fascinating characters even though they were not particularly likeable. This was well written and thought provoking with a beautiful cover.
    Thanks to Beauty & Lace and Pan Macmillan Australia for my copy for review.

  6. I was excited to have the opportunity to read this novel as in 1980 (when the story starts) I was living pretty close to Hampstead Heath and I think if you have a connection to place it can help to draw you into a story.
    Rosie is the main character, she’s a young woman who lost her mother when she was a baby, and she doesn’t know if her mother is dead or alive and was brought up lovingly by her father. This has had a huge effect on her life, as she grew up she used to make up fantasies of what happened to her mother and why she left. She has always wanted to know the truth but her father has said very little and she struggled to ask him for answers.
    Then her father gives her two books and tells her the author was one of the last people to see her mother Elise before she disappeared. Rosie tries to make contact with the author and manages (and I found this a little farfetched) to get a job as her assistant. The author, Connie Holden, is now in her 70s and has health issues hence the need for an assistant. To get the job Rosie has to pretend to be someone else and re invents herself as Laura.
    She gradually gets to know Connie, becomes indispensable and is constantly gently probing to try and find out what happened to her mother. This new relationship (and persona) that Rosie takes on affects her relationship with her long-time partner and her friends. The novel jumps between Connie and Elise’s story and Rosie/Laura and Connie’s from the 1980s to 2017.
    This is a very readable novel, once I got into it I wanted to find out what happened to Elise and whether Connie and Rosie would stay friends once the truth came out. It’s a story of family, love, grief and regret. We can’t change the past but we can make decisions to improve our chances for a happier life in the future.
    Thank you to Beauty and Lace Book Club and PanMacmillan for the opportunity to read this novel. I will be looking out for future novels from Jessie Burton.

  7. Thank you to the Beauty and Lace Book Club for sending me this book to read and review.

    I was excited to have been chosen to read this book as I enjoyed Jessie Burton’s other book The Minituarist.

    I also enjoyed this book The Confession. I found it to be an interesting read. The story is about love, lost love and sadness.

    I would recommend this book to others.

  8. Jessie Burton’s The Confession has the most fabulous and appealing cover design, and I was hoping the story inside would match. At first I found it a little hard going and difficult to get into like some others above, but perseverance paid off as the storyline became more engaging and I felt compelled to find out how Connie would react and what had happened to Elise! The dual storylines giving you snippets at a time from each era were at first slightly frustrating but quickly became like trying to piece the puzzles together bit by bit. And I love a challenge like that! Overall I enjoyed The Confession and will recommend to friends and family! Thanks to Beauty and Lace and PanMacmillan for the opportunity to read and review.

  9. Thank you so much Beauty and Lace and Pan Macmillan, I was lucky enough to review ‘The Confession’ by Jessie Burton. To me this is one of the attractive benefits of being a Beauty and Lace book club member, you are exposed to authors and genres you are not familiar with, and as a result have a new favourite author, now I can’t wait to read Jesse’s back catalogue.

    I loved the dual timelines of the story, both young and old Connie and Elise, and then Rosie,
    Elise’s daughter. The taboo topic of same-sex relationships as alien then as it is common place now.
    From Connie’s troubled childhood, a father possibly suffering from P.T.S.D, her mother a voiceless bystander, to 1982 Elise an accessory, quiet often just in the way, jetted across the Atlantic from London to L.A.

    I really loved Jessie’s writing style, the trials and tribulations and complexity of their intertwined lives, flitting between dual timelines of 1982 and 2017. This book covers: – friendship, love, lust, betrayal, loss, motherhood, abandonment, identity, ambition, career, trust, deceit, the whole gamut of emotions.

    The 2017 story unfolds as Rosie tackles the role of secretary to Constance, together with cooking and cleaning, as well as attending to tasks an aged Connie can no longer manage herself with her crippled arthritic fingers, causing her pain and frustration. The novel crosses continents, covers all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, the outrageous parties, drug use, over indulgence, fake personas, the naive, the overly confident, triumph, domestic violence, beaches of Mexico, poverty, and couch surfing in New York City.

    I was invested in the main characters in this book, and was sad to leave them when I finished the last page, I can’t wait for Jessie’s next book.

  10. The Confession follows two timelines, Elise Morceau in the 1980’s and her daughter Rose in 2017. Rose has been raised by her father, her mother disappeared when she was a baby. Now in her thirties Rose is seeking out the truth, what happened to her mother? Where is she? The only information Rose has connecting to her mother are two books by Constance Holdern, the women her mother had a relationship with. Can Constance Holdern help Rose uncover the truth?

    I enjoyed reading the two timelines as information between the past and present began to link, the beginning of the novel is a little slow and it takes time to build a relationship with the characters due to the jumping timeline. The story covers many topics from parties, drug use, same sex relationships to love, grief and guilt. Personally I would have enjoyed more resolution from the books ending it left me with many questions. Jessie Burton’s style of writing was easy to read, I’m looking forward to reading her other two books.

    Thank you Beauty & Lace and Pan Macmillan Australia.

  11. I loved the way the novel shuttled between the two timelines. The weaving between the complex lines of the relationship of the young Elise Morceau and Constance during a time of great upheaval in their lives.
    It makes us dwell on the complexity of inspiration in artists and the winding paths towards creation. The books main characters are not easily likable but rather complex and enigmatic and interesting. I loved the winding journey of discovery Rose takes into finding her mother Elise through her experiences with Constance.. This book mirrors a lot of the slow and heavy intensity of the Miniaturist the other book I’ve read by Jessie Burton but is much more fresh and direct.
    Overall an interesting and complex read.

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