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Alys, Always: A Novel by Harriet Lane

Alys, Always: A Novel by Harriet Lane

Ratings:

3.78

(57)
|Views: 5,661|Likes:
Published by Simon and Schuster
A SUSPENSEFUL, ASSURED L ITERARY DEBUT THAT EXPLORES THE DARK SIDE OF DESIRE AND AMBITION THROUGH ONE WOMAN’ S UNLIKELY ENTRY INTO A N ELITE WORLD AND A DESTINY OF HER OWN DESIGN
A SUSPENSEFUL, ASSURED L ITERARY DEBUT THAT EXPLORES THE DARK SIDE OF DESIRE AND AMBITION THROUGH ONE WOMAN’ S UNLIKELY ENTRY INTO A N ELITE WORLD AND A DESTINY OF HER OWN DESIGN

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Publish date: Jun 12, 2012
Added to Scribd: Jul 17, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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08/21/2013

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 Acclaim or
 Alys, Always 
“I gobbled it up in one urtive sitting.... A page-turner.... Unorgettable.”
– USA TODAY
“Mesmerizing. . . a slow-burning psychologicalnovel that unsettles and satisfes in equal,tantalizing measure—a literary 
 All About Eve 
 that stands testament to the old saying that itsthe quiet ones you have to watch out or.”
– The DAilY beAST
“[A] highly entertaining and squirm-inducingshort novel. . .
Howards End 
meets
 All About  Eve 
. . . A breezy, lacerating frst novel.” 
- new YOrk TimeS bOOk review
“A det and lively brain-twist o a thriller or which the only word that seems apropos is‘spellbinding.’”
–chicAgO TribUne
 
 Alys, Always
 A Novel by Harriet Lane
 A SUSPENSEFUL, ASSURED LIERARY DEBU HAEXPLORES HE DARK SIDE OF DESIRE AND AMBIION HROUGH ONE WOMAN’S UNLIKELY ENRY INO ANELIE WORLD AND A DESINY OF HER OWN DESIGN
ON A BIER WINER’ S NIGH, Frances Torpe comesupon the atermath o a car crash and, while comorting the dyingdriver, Alys Kyte, hears her fnal words. Te wie o a celebratednovelist, Alys moved in rarefed circles, and when Frances agreesto meet the bereaved amily, she glimpses a world entirely oreignto her: cultured, wealthy, and privileged. While slowly orginga riendship with Alys’s carelessly charismatic daughter, Francesfnds her own lie takes a dramatic turn, propelling her rom ananonymous existence as an assistant editor or the books sectiono a newspaper to the dizzying heights o literary society. With her unorgettable protagonist, author Harriet Lane drawsreaders into a tightly paced tale that careens towards an auda-cious ending. ransfxing, insightul, and unsettling, Alys, Alwaysdrops us into the mind o an enigmatic young woman whose per-spective on a glamorous world also shines a light on those on theoutside who would risk all to become part o it.

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melanielgarrett reviewed this
Rated 4/5
I found this extremely compelling. In fact I read it in one evening, well into the wee hours. It's a simple premise, which actually helps enormously with the plausibility, as you can really see every stage happening. The whole thing is carried off with SUCH aplomb and atmosphere that it's unputdownable. Very much looking forward to whatever Harriet Lane does next.
christine_gail_2 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
This book started off strongly. The accident scene and the interaction between Alys and Frances was dramatic and immediately caught my attention. From then onward it failed to live up to my expectations. I wanted more from Frances. I wanted empathy and compassion. I wanted to like her but found her to be not very likeable. It’s hard to get into a book fully when you dislike the main character.Sometimes honest and deep friendships are formed over tragic circumstances. That was not the case here. Frances happened to be in the right place at the right time to take advantage of a family during their time of grieving. Originally she wanted to put the accident behind her and have nothing to do with the victim’s family. Only after learning the identity of the family did she agree to meet them. Once she realized who they were and what they could do for her she seized this opportunity and used it to her advantage.I kept reading because I wanted to find out what would happen to the Kytes and to Frances, how long would her new found status as part of the literary elite of England last? Would the Kytes grow tired of her or see through her act? The book kept me interested but there was something lacking. There was no connection between reader and the characters. None of the characters made any impact. I found them bland.The book was written well. The language was very descriptive but lacking in emotional dept. It was a good time filler book but I was not the right audience for this book. If you are into books about women willing to use people and seize opportunities to further their career and social status then you’ll enjoy this book.I received a complimentary copy of this book through the Goodreads First Reads program.
yogiboo_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
This book took me completely by surprise. I thought it was going to be some soppy love story from the cover but it ended up being slightly single white female and really quite good. Francis went from becoming a bland personality into some one quite complex and manipulative. There are glimpses that make you think you understand why she is the way she is, her mother is quite controlling but uninterested in her and there is one scene when she is at the beach and has a flash back of something unpleasant. A very unusual book! Great read!
teresa1953_1 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
Driving home from a visit to her parents one night, Frances Thorpe notices something "not quite right" as she passes a field. On investigation, she discovers a crashed car lying on it's side with it's headlights pointing up to the sky. Inside the mangled wreck, is a badly injured female driver. The woman is the Alys of the book title. This event is not only traumatic, it alters the course of, not only Alys's life, but that of her family and, more strikingly, that of Frances.Frances Thorpe is a mesmerising character who is not all she seems. In fact, she is downright evil and a prize manipulator! I read the unfolding story with my mouth open! Harriet Lane's writing is wonderful and her observations of human behaviour is magical. The machinations of the upper classes and the marked contrast with those of more humble origins are intricately drawn and, unbelievably, Frances manages to deceive the reader over and over again. More than that, it is a fine illustration of grief and bereavement and the lies people tell.....sometimes to advance themselves and sometimes to cover their shortcomings. Every character is vividly brought to life and each one is quirky and damaged in some way. One reviewer quoted "I wish I was you. I wish I hadn't read it and had that pleasure to come." That sums up how I feel about this book too.I can't praise this novel highly enough and recommend it without reservation. It is Ms Lane's debut novel...more please!
nicx27 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
One night, Frances Thorpe, a sub-editor on the books page of a newspaper, is driving home from her parents' house when she comes across the scene of an RTA. In the car is Alys Kyte, and Frances ends up hearing her last words before she dies. Later, Frances is put in touch with the grieving Kyte family, widower Laurence, and adult children, Teddy and Polly. and she starts to get closer to them. Frances can see how different their life is to hers and she has a glimpse of what her life could be.This is a short book, and therefore a quick read, but it's also a riveting read, and one which I was eager to pick up. Frances turns out to be a complex character, one who is more manipulative than perhaps even she realises. In a way I could sympathise with her as she was somebody always in the background, on the sidelines, and I could understand why she wanted to be with the Kyte family. On occasion I cringed at her behaviour, but somehow I could still take to her and didn't find her to be an unpleasant character.I loved this first book by Harriet Lane, and I look forward to her next one. Alys, Always has a quote on the cover that refers to it being a psychological thriller. It's not a thriller but it's definitely a book which is all about the psyche and Frances being able to insinuate her way into other people's lives to find herself a new life of her own.Great stuff, highly recommended.
sapphirewire reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Man, this was just such a strange, strange book. Frances is thoroughly manipulative and evil (I will disagree with a previous reviewer). I started to feel uneasy a few chapters in and then halfway through, I was convinced of her evilness. And such a strange evil, too. It's one of those books you just have to read to understand what I'm talking about. Perhaps one of the most difficult questions is -- why? Why would she channel all of her energy into doing what she did?
katiekrug reviewed this
Rated 5/5
I almost gave this book 5 stars because I found it so compelling, but I removed half a star out of some sense of spite for the main character, not wanting to give her the satisfaction of starring in a 5-star read. I know that makes no sense, but you might understand my thinking a little better if you read this book.Frances Thorpe is an average 30-something single woman in London, working in a low-level position in a failing newspaper. Through a strange twist of fate, her life becomes entwined with that of the Kyte family, whose patriarch is a famous author. She slowly insinuates herself into the life of the family. The tone of the book is tense and slightly creepy and the pay-off to the reader is almost anti-climactic at first. I closed it thinking, "Is that all? That's not so bad." But as I thought about it and went back and re-read some passages, I saw the manipulative genius of Frances. And the lingering feelings of unease I had were hard to pin down. Frances is not an evil character in the traditional sense; she really doesn't do anything terribly wrong. She's loathsome and sad and brilliant and awful, and you feel for her. But at the end of the day, one wonders whether the fragile construct of a life she has built for herself can survive given that it is not really her own...
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