Book Review: The Perfect Life by Nuala Ellwood


Set to be published on 5th August, The Perfect Life by Nuala Ellwood follows Vanessa who has always found it easy to pretend to be somebody different, somebody better. When things get tough in her real life, all she has to do is throw on some nicer clothes, adopt a new accent and she can escape. That’s how it started: looking around houses she couldn’t possibly afford. Harmless fun really. Until it wasn’t. Because a man who lived in one of those houses is dead, and everyone thinks Vanessa killed him…


Thank you to NetGalley for a free advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A fast-paced and entertaining read, The Perfect Life is a gripping psychological thriller that will have you questioning everything that you read.

Alternating between the Then and Now, the plot is really intriguing as you don’t know whether to trust Vanessa as the narrator or not. That being said, I warmed to the characters quickly and hoped that she would redeem herself, so it’s an easy story to engage with.

Ellwood addresses some important topics in her book and obviously has a message that she wants to share. I especially loved the focus on the different coping mechanisms that we can use when life gets tough, which is why I felt so close to Vanessa, whether she snapped in the end or not.

Sadly, the ending was too far-fetched for me. It definitely avoids being predictable, but it was just a little too detached for it to really shock or engage me emotionally, which is what I wanted after getting to know Vanessa. Some readers will love the bizarre twists that work their way in though, and I definitely still enjoyed this read.


The Perfect Life by Nuala Ellwood
Hardback Release Date: 5th August 2021
Print Length: 336 pages
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Penguin

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