Cover Image: The Leaving Party

The Leaving Party

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Member Reviews

A good twisty, turny thriller.  Dark and gripping.  Two girls, best friends recount their story now and back to when they were teenagers. A leaving party is being held for Ava by Lena.  There is a big secret here along with lots of lies. Someone wants this secret outed and revenge sought. A good thriller with a great ending.
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Every year on the same day, on the anniversary, I receive a single black rose. Thirteen years of dark petals, jagged thorns, dredging up memories I’ve tried to forget…
I’ve packed up my life. All my belongings are carefully sealed in labelled boxes, my suitcases ready for my big move. I’m just days away from a new life abroad with my boyfriend, Ben.
No one knows the real reason I’m desperate to leave.
My best friend, Lena, is throwing me a leaving party. A celebration, to say goodbye. Champagne to toast my farewell. Speeches, full of fond memories.
No one knows what I’m running from.
Then another black rose appears, dragging up thirteen years of buried memories. My passport goes missing. The very people I am trying to escape from turn up to our house.
Someone knows my secret. They’re in my home, at my party, and they’re making me pay for it.

This is a brilliant read.
Wonderful well written plot and story line that had me engaged from the start.
Love the well fleshed out characters and found them believeable.
Great suspense and action with wonderful world building that adds so much to the story.
Had me gripped throughout and couldn't put it down.
Can't wait to see what the author brings us next.
Recommend reading.

I was provided an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher.  This is my own honest voluntary review.
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Told from two viewpoints this book goes back and forth from 2005 to present day

Both Ava and Lena were hard to like and the more I read the more I disliked them. I pretty much had some things worked out quite early on. This was a good read but didn’t have me eagerly turning pages to see what happened next. 

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the ARC in return for an honest and unbiased opinion.
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This thriller focuses on two women, Ava and Lena, who seem to have a strong link stemming from their childhood. The story is told from both their perspectives and also alternates between the present day and events in 2005. This means that you glimpse more and more about the girls' connection. This is one of those stories which has plenty of twists and turns and where you are never quite sure which of the characters is going to turn out to be unreliable. You really can't trust any part of it.

The format of The Leaving Party which sees a gathering to celebrate Ava's imminent departure for New York lends itself to the slightly claustrophobic atmosphere, as does the limited cast of characters who emerge. You aren't sure who can be trusted, of course, and there are some great little cameo characters who are vividly written. Ava is at pains to escape from her past and it is ironic that the party seems to be filled with all that she is trying to escape from. Underneath this is the question as to where is her, fiance, Ben?

Thanks to the author for a copy of the book.
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What a great thriller. Twisty, dark and a bit creepy, just how I like them. Thank you publisher and netgalley for this arc in exchange of an honest review.
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#NetGalley #The Leaving Party #Bookoutore

The story is told in the past and present by Ava and her best friend Lena.
Something happened at a party thirteen years ago that has deeply affected Ava. Every year on the anniversary of the party someone sends Ava a single black rose to make sure that Ava never forgets. Ava is about to move to New York to live with her fiancé Ben, so Lena throws her a Leaving Party. The day of the party another black rose is sent and things just get creepier from there. Who is the mysterious person that does not want Ava to forget what happened thirteen years ago? Is this person or persons someone Ava knows? Are they at the party? Do they mean to harm Ava?

The Leaving Party is about obsession and secrets and the consequences that happen when the truth is revealed. It was a bit slow at times, but did hold my attention.
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Ava is meant to be leaving for New York. Newly engaged to Ben, but keeping it a secret, Ava can't wait to leave her past behind and move on. Her best friend, Lena, is throwing her a fabulous leaving party and all their friends are coming. But there are things happening behind the scenes that will make this a night to remember. Lies have been told, truths withheld. The night will bring drama and revelation. NO SPOILERS.

Told in the alternating viewpoints of Ava and Lena, the story also shifts back and forth between 2005 and present day. Illuminating the things that friends do for love, however misguided, it was a quick read with events recounted from each girl's perspective. I didn't care for either Ava or Lena and anticipated the outcome easily, but it was easy to get through in a single sitting. If you enjoy friendship psychodrama, this is one for you.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for this e-book ARC to read and review.
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The Leaving Party by Lesley Sanderson is a simply told story with many layers underneath, twists and turns you won’t see coming, and a finale that will leave you totally stunned.

Ava is making a huge move to America to be with her boyfriend, Ben. But, before she goes, her best friend Lena is throwing her a going away party. They have been friends since their school days and while Lena is sad Ava is moving, she wants the party to be the perfect celebration to say goodbye. Only, not everything is as it seems and when a black rose shows up at their front door, reminding Ava of a tragic event that happened thirteen years prior. Who is leaving her roses and is someone at her party intent on making her pay for the events that have happened in the past?

I really loved the opening of this story and how it easily sucked me in with a teaser of what happened in the past with Ava. It left just enough of a hint of what is going to come. I was drawn in to the events leading up to the part and the reflection on both Ava and Lena’s voices as they both set up the scene to draw you in even further. The story is really easy to follow between both Lena and Ava as well as when the story switches back and forth from the present to the past. The buildup is very slow and tantalizing to where I just needed to keep reading and try to figure out what happened in the past and who might be behind the black roses.

I really love the characterization of the Ava and Lena as well as the party attendees. No one was really trustworthy and the culprit could have been anyone. I kept going back and forth with my ideas on who was behind it all, but Sanderson did a fantastic job really kept you guessing until the big reveal. I love when a story can keep me in suspense until the end.

If you enjoy slow burn type of thrillers with an intense and twisted story then you will certainly enjoy reading The Leaving Party.
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With an intriguing plot that juxtaposes the claustrophobic trope (all action takes place in one location) with a going-away party, this book helped me pass the time quickly on a long bus ride. The plot unfolds over both current time events and in flashback chapters that detail a past event. It also contains a fascinating look at the depths of friendship. One of the things I liked most, however, was the red herrings that kept me guessing. A recommended page-turner. For a full review, please visit my blog at Fireflies and Free Kicks. Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for a digital ARC of the book.
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This was an engrossing book written with multiple timelines from two points of views. The chapters were short and I found myself constantly reading on thinking “just one more chapter!”

I was able to guess the culprit before the end of the book however I wouldn’t say that this ruined the book for me. If you like a good thriller, give this one a go.
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Chilling dark creepy a wild ride of a read.Drew me right in so many twists and turns with an ending I didn’t see coming. #netgalley#bookoutture.
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The Leaving Party by Lesley Sanderson has a pleasing premise and this lured me into picking up a copy. I was thrilled with it and I am glad that I gave it a go!

Ava and Lena are best friends and are inseparable, especially following a significant event that happened thirteen years ago. Now, Ava is moving to New York to live with her boyfriend Ben in two days time, when she will finally leave behind the terrible thing she did that's been haunting her for ages. 

Lena has decided that Ava cannot leave without a party - a celebration to say goodbye and farewell. There will be Champagne, speeches and the sharing of fond memories.

Ava has tried hard to move on with her life in London but so far the past has followed wherever she goes, with the appearance of a single black rose on the same day every year. She's never told anyone this, not even her best friend Lena who saved her life that terrible, fateful night. But then one rose appears out of sequence, terrifying Ava and convincing her that her tormentor will be at the party and might just be planning their revenge.

The Leaving Party is told over two different timelines, from the past dating back to 2005 and now, through the eyes of Ava and Lena. I really enjoyed the story-line, the succinct chapters, the fast pacing and all of the many twists and turns. Full of mystery, it is a book about friendship and love but also lies, deceit, dependency, obsession and revenge. There is a general air of tension, though it never reached a level where I was on the edge of my seat. I had my hunches as to the culprit's identity and Lesley Sanderson kept me on my toes with a number of possible suspects, all of whom had equal validity as the perpetrator. Although most of the characters were not particularly personable, including Ava and Lena, this did not interfere with my appreciation of this delightful psychological thriller. 

Overall, a riveting novel, with a stunning ending that I'm delighted to recommend.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my request from Bookouture via NetGalley, and this review is my own unbiased opinion.
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What an intense read. Full of twists and turns. I really didn't expect that ending!

Thank you NetGalley, Bookouture and Mrs. Sanderson for this ARC.
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Ava is all set to start a new life in New York with her boyfriend Ben. She is all packed up & ready to go. She has been friends with Lena since they were at school. They have shared a house for years & now it is the parting of the ways. Lena, who is devastated that she is leaving, has still arranged an elaborate leaving party for her & although she would rather she hadn't Eva makes up her mind to enjoy it. On the day of the party one black rose is delivered. These roses have appeared every year & have always given her the creeps.

The story switches from present day to a time when they were teenagers & told by both Lena & Ava. As the day & the party goes on the suspense build up. The reader wonders exactly what is going to happen. I guessed some of it but was blindsided by the rest.

All in all this was a good read. Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for letting me read & review this book.
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EXCERPT: I'm too late. It happens right in front of my eyes. Tyres screech, followed by a bang, a gasp. 'Oh no, she's dead!'a woman says, and a deathly quiet descends. My heart thuds in my ears. Figures stand like lamp posts around us, and all eyes are on the road. Music pumps out from the house, lights blazing behind the shutters, but nobody is dancing any more. The front door is open, a gaping hole from which horror has spilled into the early hours of the morning.

The woman is right. She's dead. Her broken body lies in the road, her face frozen with shock, her lifeless eyes staring towards the car that hit her. A streak of blood is laced across the bonnet, the driver staring ahead, hands still gripping the steering wheel. Someone screams, and suddenly I unfreeze.

She gets to her first, and I'm close behind, so close the sticky pool of blood on the tarmac is right in front of my face, the smell of petrol making me gag. She feels for a pulse, but after an interminable wait she shakes her head.

The driver leaps out of the car and stares at the lifeless body of my best friend. Then suddenly she laughs, and claps her hands in slow motion, the sound echoing around the street. It's only then that I realise I'm still holding the knife, and the blade is smeared dark red.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Every year on the same day, on the anniversary, I receive a single black rose. Thirteen years of dark petals, jagged thorns, dredging up memories I’ve tried to forget…

I’ve packed up my life. All my belongings are carefully sealed in labelled boxes, my suitcases ready for my big move. I’m just days away from a new life abroad with my boyfriend, Ben.

No one knows the real reason I’m desperate to leave.

My best friend, Lena, is throwing me a leaving party. A celebration, to say goodbye. Champagne to toast my farewell. Speeches, full of fond memories.

No one knows what I’m running from.

Then another black rose appears, dragging up thirteen years of buried memories. My passport goes missing. The very people I am trying to escape from turn up at our house.

Someone knows what I did.

This party was meant to be the first night of the rest of my life – but now I don’t know if I’ll see tomorrow.

Someone knows my secret. They’re in my home, they're at my party, and they’re making me pay for it.

MY THOUGHTS: Mediocre and anticlimactic.

There were too many holes and inconsistencies (one major that I won't reveal as it would be a spoiler) for me to get fully immersed in The Leaving Party by Lesley Sanderson. And yet I loved The Woman at 46 Heath Street. This felt like it was written by a completely different author.

The Leaving Party is told over two different timelines, 2005 and now, and from the points of view of Ava and her best friend Lena.

For a story centred around obsession, deceit, jealousy and revenge, it has very little in the way of suspense and tension. The characters are very one dimensional and unconvincing, and the plot leaves a lot to be desired. There is a lot of repetition, both of conversations and events. The writing doesn't flow at all, and at times is clumsy and forced.

On the plus side, this was a quick and easy read that required little in the way of thought. And the cover is beautiful.

Yes, I will read more by this author as I loved The Woman at 46 Heath Street. I also have The Orchid Girls lurking somewhere on my library shelves to read.

😐😐.5

#TheLeavingParty #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: Lesley spends her days writing in coffee shops in Kings Cross where she lives and also works as a librarian in a multicultural school. She loves the atmosphere and eclectic mix of people in the area. She has lived and worked in Paris and speaks four languages.

She attended the Curtis Brown Creative novel writing course in 2015/6, and in 2017 was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish fiction prize.

Lesley discovered Patricia Highsmith as a teenager and has since been hooked on psychological thrillers. She is particularly interested in the psychology of female relationships.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Leaving Party by Lesley Sanderson for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and my webpage
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What a book. I really enjoyed this. I love thrillers that keep me guessing or have me on the edge of my seat and this book did just that. I didn't know what expect from this story but I'm glad I read it. So good.

Thank you Netgalley, the author and publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Wowser! Excellent, dark, compelling, unsettling, creepy... there’s a dark secret that’s holding Ava back - thank heavens she’s got her best friend on her side. A creepy psychological thriller that makes you question what’s going on in almost every scene. 

Read this in almost one sitting... really great read. A big five stars from me!!
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The Leaving Party is a book that builds up and up throughout until the end making this a quick read for me.
Lena and Ava are friends and have been since school, the book is told in before and now and is done well so there is no confusion. The book is building up to the reveal of something that happened thirteen years ago and as Ava is leaving for America everything comes to a head at her leaving party. Twists and turns, who is behind all the strange goings on, there is definitely someone at the party who wants some form of payback for the incident thirteen years ago.
This was a book I enjoyed, I liked that I was close to getting who it was, they were in my two, I liked the short chapters and although it bounced between timelines and characters it was easily followed.
I would like to thank Netgalley and Bookouture for this ARC I received in exchange for an honest review.
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This was a.pretty good thriller although it didn't quite work for me. I think I have read too many thrillers lately and this one just didn't have a good enough twist to keep the momentum going. I did like the way the author had the two storylines going, I felt like it really built up the storytelling, which some authors just can't do successfully.
Overall, not my favourite but I will still try another of Lesley's in the future!
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WOW what a read! Just give me a minute I need to catch my breath!…Ok, I’m good now… I have literally as I write this just finished reading The Leaving Party. Normally I take a couple of days to write my review after finishing a book to let it fully sink in, but in this case I need to get everything down now while it is still pumping through my veins! It is that good!

Sometimes, as less is more when talking about the plot, allow me to take the liberty of using Lesley’s description outlined in her letter at the end of the book where she says:

“I hoped to create an evocative novel about obsession, secrets and the blurred lines between love and lies”.

This is the perfect précis for this story. I couldn’t have described it better myself. Each word is used to perfection to capture the true essence of the story and Lesley nails it in every sense of these words!

Told from the perspective of the two main protagonist’s Ava and Lena over dual timelines, from the present then back to the past, we are given a great insight into who each of them are. A close bond is shared between the two which is threatened to be broken once Ava moves across the country. Ava is running away from a tragic event from her past and Lena is struggling to come to terms with Ava leaving. Both are not without their complexities which just enhances the story more. They have both brought to life beautifully and I enjoyed what each one brought to the story.

I really loved the ease of Lesley’s writing style. It is so engaging and she was able to keep my attention throughout. Right from the start I was hooked and I couldn’t flip the pages on my kindle fast enough to see how it was all going to unfold. I also really enjoyed how Lesley slowly built up the tension along the way, creating suspense in the lead up to the explosive finale. Lesley has done a great job with this story and her writing embodies everything that makes a psychological thriller great.

I throughly enjoyed this book. It is my first by Lesley and it definitely won’t be my last! From the striking cover, that is so significant to the story, a prologue that leaves you on a cliffhanger, a chilling addictive plot, well developed characters that is all told through engaging writing, The Leaving Party is one book that you need to add to your reading list for 2020. It was an absolute pleasure to read and review The Leaving Party which I can’t recommend highly enough!

Thank-you to NetGalley, Bookouture and Lesley Sanderson for allowing me to read an advanced copy of The Leaving Party which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
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