Book Review: The Finishing School
By: Joanna Goodman
Published By: Harper
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Page Count: 352
Source: Kindly Provided by Publisher
Adult - Mystery
The Finishing School was not at all what I expected. When I began reading it, I thought it to be a mystery about how Cressida Strauss died. However as the story began to unfold, I realized this was going to be a much more intricate novel. There were many more facets involved with the plot then just what happened to Cressida.
Kersti Kuusk‘s self awareness journey throughout the book was very interesting. I love the fact that she became a much stronger person by the end and that her detective work on Cressida's behalf helped her in so many different ways...especially in ways she never could have imagined. Kersti suffered from some serious self esteem issues, and had to find a way within herself to deal with that.
Cressida did seem to be very messed up emotionally given how she was put in boarding school at such a young age. However, I do appreciate her character, especially for the way she took Kersti in as a friend from the very beginning. Given Kersti’s background, I could see how she might not fit in at Lycee International. Cressida's friendship made a huge difference for Kersti, truly affecting the rest of her life.
One of my favorite parts of the story was how Cressida was able to be instrumental in Kersti‘s journey to becoming a mother. That was a plot angle that was easy to deduce, but one that was very endearing to me.
Although it took me a few chapters to get into this book, I really did enjoy it. There were a lot of plot twists that I was not expecting. The jumping back-and-forth in time from the past to the present did not bother me at all. I was a little frustrated with Kersti's actions at the end of the book, but sometimes the pregnant brain is not always thinking straight! In this case, it put her in quite a dangerous situation. But I guess you’ll have to read the book to find out how it ends.
Recommended for anyone who loves a good mystery!
Content: Language; sexuality
Spoiler Side Note - Don’t read if you don’t want spoilers!
I find it very interesting that this book is about sexual abuse. Given the current climate of numerous allegations of sexual abuse coming out against many well known people, it seems appropriate for this book to be written. I don’t know that the author had any inkling of how appropriate the timing of her book would be. But it certainly gave me something to think about as I reflected upon the brave women who have come forth to tell their stories of abuse.
In this suspenseful, provocative novel of friendship, secrets, and deceit, a successful writer returns to her elite Swiss boarding school to get to the bottom of a tragic accident that took place while she was a student twenty years earlier.
How far would you go to uncover the truth?
One spring night in 1998 the beautiful Cressida Strauss plunges from a fourth-floor balcony at the Lycée Internationale Suisse with catastrophic consequences. Loath to draw negative publicity to the school, a bastion of European wealth and glamour, officials quickly dismiss the incident as an accident, but questions remain: Was it a suicide attempt? Or was Cressida pushed? It was no secret that she had a selfish streak and had earned as many enemies as allies in her tenure at the school. For her best friend, scholarship student Kersti Kuusk, the lingering questions surrounding Cressida's fall continue to nag long after she leaves the Lycée.
Kersti marries and becomes a bestselling writer, but never stops wondering about Cressida's obsession with the Helvetian Society—a secret club banned years before their arrival at the school—and a pair of its members who were expelled. When Kersti is invited as a guest to the Lycée's 100th Anniversary, she begins probing the cover-up, unearthing a frightening underbelly of lies and abuse at the prestigious establishment. And in one portentous moment, Kersti makes a decision that will connect her to Cressida forever and raise the stakes dangerously high in her own desire to solve the mystery and redeem her past.
An unputdownable read as clever as it is compelling, The Finishing School offers a riveting glimpse into a privileged, rarefied world in which nothing is as it appears.