BOOK CLUB: The Favour

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The Favour by internationally bestselling British writing duo, Nicci French is a stand-alone psychological thriller fiction with an interesting plot.

Jude Winter has worked hard for her career as a doctor, engaged to Nat she was happy, and she felt settled…that was until her ex-boyfriend Liam Birch turned up unexpectedly at her work.  Eleven years had passed since they parted ways, he was a big part of her younger years and they had shared a lot, but life for both had moved on. 

Liam, now a father to Alfie asks Jude for a favour. She is shocked he would ask for such a thing after not seeing him for such a long time. But, when she remembered the car crash they were both involved in she feels as though she needs to help.  He asks her to pick him up from a country train station and he will explain all when he sees her later, Liam gives her strict instructions not to tell anyone.  

Uncomfortable about lying to her fiancé, Jude makes her way to Norfolk and waits for Liam’s arrival but he never shows. When the police turn up and announce Liam has been found murdered, Jude finds herself caught in an entanglement of secrets and lies. Feared of being a suspect she must find the truth especially after finding out Liam had made her an executor of his will.

Nicci is skilled at letting characters reveal themselves through dialogue and reflection, and never slows down the pace of the action through too much description. It was also very authentic, had depth, and did not embellish the flawed nature of human beings.

Jude’s character is well-developed, robust, and easy to relate to although I did question her actions at times. Her situation did remind me not to push away people that you care about, past or present. When you have been through something so significant it would be impossible to say no. 

Liam’s character was very mysterious and there was an oddity in his actions, the supporting cast of housemates, Liam’s girlfriend and detective, Leila Fox were very unconventional but somehow, they all fit. I find these quirks in characters help connect readers to the story. 

The Favour is far from straightforward, with plenty of twists and turns in a unique plot that keeps you interested and firmly invested in the outcome. This is not one of those stories where you can guess the ending early on. The author has done a wonderful job of building up the story and hooking the reader – it’s packed with suspense, and it keeps you reading as you delve into what happened.

This is the first time I have read a Nicci French novel, a pseudonym used by husband-and-wife Sean French and Nicci Gerrard. Together they conceive and write together psychological thrillers. I will definitely invest in more of their books.

If you like a good psychological mystery, then this one is for you.

Thank you, Beauty and Lace and Simon & Schuster Australia for the opportunity to read and review. 

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club members are reading The Favour by Nicci French. Read their comments below, or add your own review.

9 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Favour

  1. I struggled to get into this book to begin with (probably because I was distracted with life).
    Reading this book did make me realise why I tend to avoid doing favours for people as it leads down the wrong route and the outcome isn’t always good.
    I didn’t agree with the way Jude lied to Nat about where she was going but I can see why she did it. She felt torn. But she also needed to trust her fiance and he needed to be more honest as well. Lots of twists and the end was a suprise
    Overall this book was a great read. I look forward to reading more of Nicci French’s books.
    Thankyou to Beauty and Lace and Simon and Schuster for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  2. The Favour by Nicci French (Simon & Schuster) is an intriguing book – who could possibly have imagined that doing a favour for an ex-high school boyfriend would create such havoc!! And really why agree to do it in the first place?

    Dr Jude’s Winter’s agreement to do a favour for an ex she hasnt seen for 10 years, seems completely at odds with her persona as an about to be married, straight-laced geriatric doctor… but Jude can’t bring herself to say no to Liam. As a result, and out of the blue Jude’s clean, quiet, conservative and ordered life is turned on its head. She finds herself immersed in a grimy world of suspicious circumstances, casual hook-ups and a bohemian lifestyle filled with avant-garde and offbeat creative people…

    The book is well written, the storyline compelling and the characters are well depicted, however whilst I did enjoy it, I ultimately found it anti-climactic. There was so much tension and build up I kept expecting a big plot twist, or development that would tie things together but sadly that didn’t really happen. Nevertheless an enjoyable read.

  3. Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Simon & Schuster for my copy of The Favour to read and review.

    I have heard many things about Nicci French books but have never read any. This was a great introduction. It was a real page turner. I look forward to many more.

    Eighteen and in love, Jude and Liam fall apart after a car accident. Jude goes on to become a doctor, engaged, due to be married the next year. Everything in place for her future.
    Eleven years later Liam casually walks back into Jude’s life to ask a favour. She agrees but little did she know this one favour will turn her world upside down.

    Suspenseful until the end, this book grips you. The characters are described so well it is easy to follow who is who.

  4. This storyline grabs you from the first chapter and you just want to keep reading but also not too fast as you want to savour every page and every character.

    Seriously Nicci has perfected this kind of thriller crime storyline to definitely keep you on the edge of your seat. It actually captivates you immediately.

    The cover of the book is haunting especially seeing the sentence “A good deed can turn deadly.” Makes you want to start reading straight away.

    Jude’s life is happily being the doctor she always wanted to be since a young age and she was going to be married to her soul mate in a few weeks until her past catches up with her and an old flame comes into her life not to whisk her away for love but just wanting a simple favour.

    Jude thought it would be okay but kept what and where she was doing from her fiancé Nat thinking it’s only an overnight thing and all will be explained that night from Liam on what the favour was. Just a little lie that perhaps wouldn’t hurt even though she said she and Nat had never lied to each other.

    Now the storyline really grips you and you learn about all the other characters in the story.

    I was scratching my head on how it would turn out and never guessed it till the end.
    It makes me think about if anyone asked me to do a favour now…would I?

    Nicci has captured the antics of all the characters so well in that I could actually visualise the places and the people in the book. That’s when I know I have a book that I will enjoy. The suspense in her writing really grabbed me.

    I couldn’t put the book down but I did read it in two days so that I could enjoy it. Highly recommend this book and I have not read any of her other books either so might have to look into that now.

    Thank you to Beauty & Lace and Simon & Schuster for sending me the book to read. Honestly loved the book. To Nicci French you certainly keep the reader engaged in every nook and corner of the book.

  5. Thank-you Beauty & Lace for giving me the chance to read & review ‘The Favour’ by Nicci French.
    This psychological thriller has you in its grip from the first pages talking about an accident long ago. Years later Dr Jude Winter grants a favour to her teenage sweetheart, I found her decision to agree to all details of the favour very strange, it was not until later it was revealed as to why Jude would act this way and how Liam knew she would do so.
    The granted favour leads to further unexpected events, twists and turns with suspicious actions occurring by many of the characters. Jude’ nice, safe, and happy world is turned upside-down and inside out. The ending of the book clears up so many questions but still leaves some unanswered.
    This was a great book to read, and I found it very hard to put down. Thank you ‘Beauty & Lace Bookclub’ for the opportunity to read ‘The Favour’ by Nicci French.

  6. Not having read any books previously by Nicci French (the married duo authors Nicci Gerrard and Sean French) I was hooked by the blurb and was keen to read what was the favour that Liam asked Jude to do for him, after turning up out of the blue one morning as Jude’s knocking off work after night shift.

    Putting myself in Jude’s shoes, as an intelligent doctor specialising in Geriatrics, I would have asked a heap of questions of Liam her first love, who she hadn’t seen or heard from in years, the favour seems simple enough, yeah, she can do that for Liam, why not, what could go wrong.

    Jude does just as Liam asks, and then everything becomes way more complicated for Jude, much more complicated than having simply said ‘No’ at the outset.

    I enjoyed Jude’s character albeit, she is far too trusting, as the story unfolds and an eclectic group of Liam’s house mates are introduced, I kept trying to convince Jude to walk away, walk away now.

    Couple that with Jude and her fiancée Nat, who have trust issues of their own, their story takes an unseen development all of its own.

    There are plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader invested through-out, with an ending I did not see coming. Thank you, so much Beauty and Lace and Simon and Schuster Australia for the opportunity to read and review ‘The Favour’.

  7. “The Favour” is the sort of thriller that starts fast, and only builds momentum from there. The pace never slows, keeping readers engaged until the very last page.

    Jude is in a pretty good place in life. She enjoys her work as a doctor to geriatric patients. She’s got a fun group of good friends. She’s engaged to a nice guy. She’s looking forward not only to their wedding, but to buying a nice place together, having kids, and everything that might follow.

    Then, completely out of the blue, Liam greets her as she exits the hospital where she works. A teenage boyfriend, she hasn’t seen or heard from him for a decade. His life hasn’t turned out anything like so well, and Jude feels guilty. So when Liam asks her to do a favour – a favour he won’t properly explain – Jude says yes.

    Which is, of course, a big mistake. Although Liam promised Jude he wouldn’t ask her to do anything illegal, she’s quickly thrown into a world characterised by lies and criminality. It soon becomes obvious that a simple favour has changed her life, and not for the better.

    The biggest problem with this book is getting the reader to believe in Jude’s actions. It’s surprising that she agrees to the initial request; it’s difficult to believe that she doesn’t extricate herself from what follows. However, French does a good job of showing Jude’s sense of obligation to Liam, and the connection that still exists. This gets you past the initial disbelief, and then it’s relatively easy for French to have you believing in the way Jude keeps getting pulled back in.

    There’s a strong plot underpinning the story – a fairly standard “who’s done what to who and why” question. It’s well worked out and not particularly obvious till French chooses to reveal the answers. It’s also believable for the group of characters French has assembled.

    The characters and the pacing are the two biggest strengths of this novel. The pacing is pretty much non-stop, and helps to pull readers over any initial difficulty in suspending their disbelief. There are no slow spots in this novel.

    The characters are a motley bunch, many of them standing in stark contrast to Jude’s relatively staid trajectory. They will repel you, even as you completely understand Jude’s horrified fascination. They’re vivid and believably real.

    I enjoyed this thriller. It’s highly readable and very engaging. I completely understood Jude’s initial reckless decision to agree to the favour, but did find it a little harder to believe in her failure to disengage after things went wrong. However, the pacing left me with little opportunity to worry about that. This may not be French’s absolute best, as it stretches credibility more than average. However, many readers will simply enjoy the unrelenting pace, strong characters, and twisty plot.

  8. Thankyou to Beautyandlace Nikki French and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read and review The Favour.
    This book took hold of me from the first page and just would not let go. A favour asked by a lost teenage lover took Dr Jude deep into a nightmare that ruined life as she knew it.
    A tangle of very strange characters and even stranger circumstances make a great tale of mystery which Jude seems to get deeper and deeper involved in.
    This is the first Nikki French book I have read but I have already chosen my next read by the same author.

  9. This is my first time reading a book by Nicci French and The Favour was so different to what I normally read but so good to try a different genre. I am usually more of a romance reader but have been trying different types of books of late and enjoying the experience.

    The Favour certainly was a great read and not at all what I expected, it was intriguing and made me wonder why would anyone think of doing a favour for an old school boyfriend and what could happen doing this favour, not even asking at the start what it is. Nothing but havoc follows!

    Deciding to do this favour changed Dr Jude’s Winters life. She was about to be married to Nat and this is when the lies started. Followed by finding herself also wound up in a world of revenge and criminal events and people she would never have known and not knowing what was going to happen next and if her life would ever be as it was before saying yes to doing the favour.

    There are plenty of twists and turns in the story and the ending wasn’t as I had expected.

    A great read, I would highly recommend.

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