Sunday, September 3, 2017

Review - The Finishing School by Joanna Goodman

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.

My Thoughts 
Wow!  What a great read!  Goodman leads you through the crazy, twisted, sexy, turbulent mindset of those individuals that attended that elite boarding school - from students to teachers to administrators.  A tragic event - Cressida's plunge from a fourth floor balcony - takes place and it shapes the lives of all involved or thought to be involved.  Kersti has let the events of that night be pushed to the back of her mind for many years, but now she has been asked to come back as a speaker at the 100 year anniversary of Lycee and it has brought all of those events and suspicions to the surface.

Was Cressida's death a suicide or was she pushed?  What would bother her enough to make her want to take her own life?  Were there signs that Kersti missed?

Little by little Kersti puts the pieces together into an ending you may or may not have seen coming.  Can Kersti save Cressida's reputation and bring the right individual(s) to justice?

Drink Selection
The Finishing School would pair perfectly with a pinot noir Swiss wine. Delish!
Cheers to Joanna for an amazing read that really pulls the reader in from beginning to end.  Excellent story worth a 5 wine glass rating!

About the Author
JOANNA GOODMAN is the author of three previous novels. Her stories have appeared in The Fiddlehead, The Ottawa Citizen, B & A Fiction, Event, The New Quarterly, and White Wall Review, as well as excerpted in Elisabeth Harvor’s fiction anthology A Room at the Heart of Things.
Originally from Montreal, Joanna now lives in Toronto with her husband and two kids, and is the owner of the Canadian linen company Au Lit Fine Linens.    

Link to Purchase

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