By Jessie Burton
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!