'Superb-so heartbreaking that in comparison Jane Eyre seems to have got off lightly' ...
A gripping, provocative new novel by the acclaimed author of The Tall Man and A Child's Book of True Crime.
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Published: 24 January 2013
Genre: General & literary fiction
Two people. How many lies?Liese Campbell has an engagement for the weekend: Alexander Colquhoun, a handsome, well-mannered farmer, is paying for her to stay at his property in remote Australia. Liese, an English architect in flight from the financial crisis, has been working at her uncle’s estate agency in Melbourne, where Alexander is looking for a place to buy. The luxury apartments Liese shows him become sets for a relationship that satisfies their fantasies – and helps pay her debts. It’s a game. Both players understand the rules. Or so she thinks. Across the ancient landscape they drive at dusk to his grand decaying mansion. Here Liese senses a change in Alexander, and realises a new game has begun.Chloe Hooper's riveting and provocative new novel is a psychological thriller for the modern age, an exploration of the snares of money and love and the dark side of erotic imagination. A trap has been set, but how and why? And for whom?
A complex psychological thriller that draws on the rich literary history of madwomen in the attic, from Jane Eyre and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” to Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca... The Engagement is not Fifty Shades of Grey; its kicks, and kicks in the teeth, are much more subtle.
Lucy Scholes, Independent
The pages fly past so quickly you almost miss the sharp turn of phrase and imagery … Chloe Hooper’s novel engages us, like Liese in Colquhoun’s fantasy, in an S&M web for which we don’t know the safe word.
Fleur MacDonald, Literary Review
The novel has an affecting oddness all its own... I hope that some of E L James' seemingly insatiable fans chance upon The Engagement and find there is more satisfaction in its pages than in Christian Grey’s whipping room.
Alex Peake-Tomkinson, Daily Telegraph
The Engagement is Chloe Hooper’s second novel and comes almost a decade after her well-received debut, A Child’s Book of True Crime. It is a much tighter, more suspenseful work… The Engagement is compelling.
Stephanie Bishop, Times Literary Supplement
Hooper ably sustains the tension, carefully deploying surprises. The isolation of the farm and the “creeping shocks” of the wilderness create a potent unease.
The New Yorker
Chloe Hooper’s writing is singularly challenging and confrontational... For those who prefer their erotic literature less Fifty Shades of Grey and more Jane Eyre.
Catherine Taylor, Sunday Telegraph
Daphne du Maurier, Charlotte Brontë, Alfred Hitchcock, you hear them approving, a cackling cacophony to counterpoint Liese’s voices, so beautifully spun by Chloe Hooper it all sounds seamless. Polished gothic.
Tom Adair, Scotsman
Engagement reminds us too of the power of fiction, both within the story and outside it. Liese feels threatened by the stories she herself has told, and we in turn flip the pages breathlessly, suspending disbelief.
John Self, Guardian
In terms of myth, it is rather like Bluebeard’s castle...in film terms, it recalls Psycho.
David Grylls, Sunday Times
A gothic tale, filled with brilliantly creepy details.
Suzy Hansen, Financial Times
If Fifty Shades is your thing, you might just love The Engagement.
Wendy Holden, Daily Mail
Hooper serves up a chilling story of obsession, delusion, and the slippery nature of sexual identity.
Claire Allfree, Metro
There’s more than a shade of Fifty Shades in this erotic, psychological thriller...the unreliability of the narrator will have you guessing till the end of this dark and thought provoking tale.
This is a tense, elegant, psychological thriller about an emotional tug-of-war... This tale of self-willing entrapment keeps us guessing to the end... Compelling and memorable.
Viv Groskop, Red Magazine
Hooper has constructed a modern fairy tale of a kind, complete with Bluebeard and his castle, and using some of the fictional paraphernalia of Gothic horror and melodrama she delivers a compelling, at times disturbing, but always humorous and readable cautionary tale.
Brian McCabe, Herald
The difficulty with a thriller - even if it is literary - is not to fall into cliche and predictability. At the points where it seems as this may happen, Hooper wrong foots the reader without losing any credibility, leading to a very clever ending.
This beautifully crafted psychological thriller really got under my skin.
A.N. Wilson, Readers Digest
Hooper is a very clever writer. Her prose is uncluttered, but every phrase is packed with meaning.
A chilling, compulsive read.
Fanny Blake, Woman & Home
New, dark literary thriller...read it for its seductive plot.
A dark unsettling read which will appeal to fans of the gothic as well as those who enjoy tales of twisted relationships such as Gone Girl.
Literary thriller The Engagement by Chloe Hooper takes a Fifty-shades style plot about erotic games between estate agent Liesel and business man Alexander to a darker place.
Part gothic novel, part thriller, this will keep you guessing until the end.
Hooper has crafted a terrific tale full of dark corners and dead-ends that leave the reader wondering what to believe. The result is a collision between a psychological thriller and a very dark romance that has something for fans of either genre.
The Engagement has all the ingredients of a top psychological thriller with the bonus of literary style. I think it could be a huge hit. I hope so. I really want to see the film…
Literary Sofa Blog
Beautifully crafted and sleek psychological thriller… The Engagement, by one of Australia’s newest and brightest writers, explores mind control, power games and emotional abuse, so do not expect it to be a romance novel as it is, most definitely, not!
An unsettling thriller... A book which deftly explores the power of money and property, romance and sex
A dark, erotic and tense tale
Plain and lucid, with beautifully accurate word-choice, and plenty of grace-notes that one pauses to appreciate... A highly intelligent, unpredictable, very grown-up, and crazily readable novel
Brandon Robshaw, Independent on Sunday
A sleek and sly two-hander, a thriller almost, that sets everything out clearly for the reader and yet remains filled with uncertainty
John Self, Guardian
An intense psychological thriller, strewn with enough red herrings to satisfy the most demanding reader
Mail on Sunday
Hooper's writing is singularly challenging and confrontational... For those who prefer their erotic literature less Fifty Shades of Grey, more Jane Eyre
A fine, literary thriller; cold, at times almost nauseatingly disturbing
Alison Flood, Guardian
A fascinating, subtle, really original modern Gothic thriller
Rebecca Chance, Daily Record
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Chloe Hooper was born in 1973. Her highly praised first novel, A Child's Book of True Crime (2002), was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. Her Observer article about the Doomadgee case, 'Island of Lost ...