Cover Image: The Island of Lost Girls

The Island of Lost Girls

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Member Reviews

Beach read with bite.
I really enjoyed this book.  It engaged my interest from the beginning and kept it to the very last page.
You have a small island community that a millionaire decides is going to be the next big tourist spot regardless of the community.   Mercedes, a local girl, is chosen to be the friend of the millionaires daughter.  Suddenly her eyes are opened to all this wealth.
The story is told in two timelines of the past with Mercedes childhood and the present where Mercedes is now the housekeeper to the, now, grown up daughter.   Into the present enters Robin a mother who believes her runaway 17 year old has come to the island.
It is told from multiple POV including Robin and Mercedes.
I loved the characters and the descriptions of the community with its history.
A fantastic read.
Thanks to Little, Brown Book UK and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review 
#NetGalley #TheIslandofLostGirls
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This is a great slow burning thriller which flicks between past and present set on an island only reachable by boat where girls have gone missing. The story is told from Mercedes - who's sister died many years ago and Robyn who's daughter is currently missing -  points of view where we begin to build up a picture that all is not quite as it seems with visiting girls coming to the island for rich and important men are they linked at all. This book is quite graphic and really digs deep in to the depraved world of prostitution and greed. I liked the authors story telling and found this to be a real page turner. I will be recommending to others.
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A clever, relevant psychological thriller from Alex Marwood - A beautiful island, a population that looks the other way, a rich man's paradise where darkness lurks

Through several viewpoints a deeply disturbing picture emerges, this author definitely has her finger on the pulse of this world that we live in and it shows.

The plot is utterly compelling and holds you in the setting with the characters from the first page right up until the hugely satisfying ending.

Really most excellent.
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Really well written, this is a creepy, shocking tale! I read quickly and would reccomend everyone to read it. Not read anything like this before!
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the arc of this book by Alex Marwood!

5 star read- Yet again she does it again! yet another book which is fantastic! If you have read he other books then i highly recommend this! such a great read- gripping had me on edge and the twists were a wowzer! Very dark secrets!!!
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Amazing book, what a terrible world we live in. This book brought out many emotions, anger, sadness, disbelief but OH! WHAT AN ENDING!!!
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I was certainly intrigued by the concept of the book,  and many elements I enjoyed.

Such as trying to work out just where in Europe the island was, while pretty much understanding the language which has French and Spanish roots.

I was intrigued to find out just what going on, on the island and really enjoyed Mercedes take on everything.

However I was also frequently confused by the timelines,  some chapters being clearer than others as to whether they were past, present or somewhere in between.

I was interested in Gemma and in discovering just what she was involved in, even if i found Robins chapters rather frustrating.

Although clearly a good book it just didn't quite mesh with me the way I would want it to. 

Thank you to Sphere and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
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The Mediterranean island of La Kastellana is an island locked in the past. The Duke controls the place. Traditions rule. For twelve year old Mercedes it is just home. Bit when multi-millionaire Matthew Meade arrives with his yacht & his spoilt daughter Tatiana her life changes forever. Tatiana decided Mercedes is going to be her friend. The excuse that she needs to work in the family restaurant is swept away when Matthew draws up a contract with Mercedes father. From then on her life is linked to the millionaire & his daughter. The narrative switches from Mercedes growing up & becoming more disillusioned to present day Robin- a woman whose daughter has disappeared. 

This is a hard hitting book showing how great wealth can corrupts & changes a place. La Kastellana was not a paradise before the Meades' arrival but it had definitely become hell for those who had fallen into their hands. It was a five star read & one I won't forget for a while. Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for letting me read & review this book.
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I have enjoyed a few of this authors other books but unfortunately I was slightly disappointed with this one. I found it quite hard to get into and confusing at times.
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This book is heart-breaking and full of loathsome things that will have your stomach heaving. It is also strong, affirmative and bloody brilliant. It completely blew me out the water.

I’m a massive fan of Alex Marwood’s writing and here she brings her subjects alive, every single repugnant wart glistening on the face of sheer, loathsome evil. Set on a sunny Greek Island, Marwood takes us deep into shadows and crevasses of the rocks where sharp and rough edges lie ready to pierce the skin with every mis-step.

The Island of Lost Girls will unquestionably remind you of one family and one recent series of criminal revelations, but readers should be in no doubt that this is behaviour that is replicated throughout the world, wherever money talks and men wield it as a weapon of power.

Set over two timelines on the island of La Kastellana, a beautiful, unspoilt island where the inhabitants follow their religion and fealty and deference are due to the old Duke whose family has ruled the island for generations.

But things are changing. A new Duke, the crapulous Matthew Meade, has radical ideas about the Island and he and his daughter Tatiana are determined that their super yacht, globe-trotting lifestyle will now encompass La Kastellana and they bring with them a host of rich and powerful men whose appetites are varied and all too easily jaded. So Tatiana and her father supply what others cannot.

Robin is on La Kastellana, desperately looking for her teenage daughter, Gemma. Gemma has run away from home and her mother, increasingly anxious for her welfare, has been following snippets of her whereabouts from Gemma’s friends’ social media accounts and has seen that Gemma talked of attending a party on La Kastellana.

Mercedes works in her family’s local restaurant and she and her parents, together with her beautiful sister Donatella, work morning, noon and night to make it a success. When Tatiana and her father arrive in on their super yacht and Tatiana spots Mercedes, she decides that Mercedes will be her friend for the duration of their stay. And what Tatiana wants, she gets, courtesy of Daddy’s dosh.

The Island of Lost Girls follows Gemma’s story alongside that of Robin and Mercedes, with a pretty big cast of characters along the way. Marwood shows us all too clearly how well money talks and how easy it is to wield the power that it brings and in so doing, to bring more power and influence into the orbit of the wielder.

Marwood shows us the corruption of an entire island as the old feudal system kicks in hard and when bad things start to happen it is always the women who are blamed, even by those who would see themselves as the most religious. A free spirit in a woman is a thing to be crushed and bowed to the will of men. That attitude of complicity plays well into Matthew Meade’s agenda and both Mercedes and Donatella will soon find themselves being unwillingly crushed under the pressure.

This is, however, a nuanced story and though it is hard to find compassion for Tatiana, nevertheless we can come to see this spoiled and vicious socialite as a very distinct product of her upbringing and horrendous parenting. It is very hard not to draw parallels with contemporary cases and to shudder as you realise exactly what has gone on at some of Tatiana’s parties where would be young ‘models’ are paraded in the modern day equivalent of a slave auction.

It’s a painful and deeply abhorrent story made bearable by the strength and tenacity of some of the women who feature. Mercedes may change a great deal throughout this book but she never loses her capacity for real love, nor her absolute determination to set things as right as they can be.

Verdict: This is riveting, fearsome fare that should and does make you flinch. It is disturbing and involving and it is heart-breaking. It also, I believe, makes you review what you think you know about recent events and that makes it incredibly challenging and thought –provoking, too…

As ever, Marwood’s writing is brilliant and intense and her plotting is immaculate. A first class must read novel of our times.
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This story is set in both 1985 and 2016 - which, at the beginning, was a bit confusing. However, when I was a few chapters in, I got the hang of it and found it to be incredibly intriguing.

I found the characters to be well-developed and captivating, whilst also being incredibly believable. Just like real life, some were likeable, others were completely horrific. It had a dark and threatening atmosphere, that left you wanting to go back for more.

I did think it required a lot of concentration so not the easiest read, but well worth it.
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In light of some of the things coming out recently, this book struck a nerve. Money can buy you a lot, and the contempt I felt for some of these characters was visceral. It was too easy to see how some of these predators engineered situations to exploit the vulnerable, and I really hope people who pick this up will stick with it.
Mercedes is a young girl living on a beautiful island and she, like many in her hometown, is rather taken aback when multi-millionaire Matthew Meade arrives with his daughter. The glamour and wealth they bring has its allure…and we soon see how certain people are prepared to look the other way if they can benefit from their association. Mercedes is one of the first victims, when her father takes a huge payout in order to encourage his daughter to befriend Tatiana Meade.
While Tatiana has some redeeming qualities as a child, we also see her as an adult exploiting her relationship with Mercedes. There are hints of behaviour that sets alarm bells ringing, but the true horror is not revealed quickly.
As we follow Mercedes going about her work, we also follow the story of seventeen year old Gemma and the mother seeking her runaway daughter. Their stories inevitably link, and when they do we see the full horror hidden beneath the glamorous surface.
A mesmerising read, and one which feels unsettlingly relevant. I’m grateful to NetGalley for giving me the chance to read this prior to publication.
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The Island of Lost Girls is a bit of a slow burner with a very dark storyline. Unfortunately I did not enjoy it as it wasn't to my taste.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my ARC.
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I'm coming to this as a fan of Alex Marwood, having read all of and really enjoyed most of her previous books. Always original stories, angles and deep, dark undercurrents.

Set on the fictional Mediterranean island of La Kastellana, an island untouched by the outside world, with centuries old traditions and a deeply rooted patriarchy.

Spanning the decades from from 1985 to 2016, there are major changes as Matthew Meade, a multimillionaire is determined to transform to island into an exclusive party destination for the ultra-rich and famous.

Mercedes’ family proudly run the village restaurant, but their lives will change forever when Matthew Meade's daughter Tatiana (a lonely 'poor little rich girl’) decides she wants to have Tatiana as a friend.

2016 and Robin is mother searching for her runaway teenage daughter, Gemma, and arrives on the island desperately hoping to find her.

It is a bold, bold and sprawling story, spanning the decades, the changes that come with the big money and super yachts, and the changes in Mercedes' family and her connections to Tatiana.

It flits about between characters and time, and you need to pay attention. There is a growing sense of dread as the thriller elements emerge, revealing a deep and dark world of super rich men abusing their power. There are echoes of Jeffrey Epstein and Silvio Berlusconi's bunga bunga parties.

It ends strongly and I found it to be a consistently very involving book rather being a gripping thriller, recommended, and definitely recommended if you've enjoyed any of Alex Marwood's previous books.

Thanks to Netgalley and Little, Brown Book Group UK
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It's 1985.

Twelve-year-old Mercedes has known nothing but La Kastellana. This island is home, untouched by the modern world beyond.

That is until multi-millionaire Matthew Meade shows up with his spoiled, thirteen-year-old daughter, Tatiana.

It isn't long before Mercedes and her family are tied to the Meades and Matthew's influence runs deep. 


Robin finds herself on La Kastellana in her search for her missing seventeen-year-old daughter, Gemma. 

Surrounded by the rich, little help is given to Robin and she has a feeling she's running out of time. 

But someone is waiting to expose the truth about the Meades, however dark. 

This was my introduction to Alex Marwood and from page one, I was hooked.   Spilt across multiple points of view, the story goes between 1985 and 2016.

In 1985, Mercedes is a very sheltered girl who is used to growing up amongst her island's traditions. So, when she meets self-assured Tatiana, she is thrown into a whole different world, one she is not prepared for.

From the moment Tatiana appears, there was something about her I didn’t trust and as the book progresses, it’s clear that she, and her father are used to getting their own way.

I felt for Mercedes, Larissa and Donatella. This is an island where men are still the head of the household.

In 2016, Robin is both a tragic and frustrating character. I did really feel for her as she searches for her daughter. 

Gemma is a typical teenager who is looking for adventure, excitement and something in her life that doesn’t involve fighting with her mother and facing apathy from her father. Unfortunately, her quest for these things catapults her into Julia and Tatiana’s orbit; women who seem to good to be true.

There are many thought provoking, triggering and hard themes running through this novel.

Tradition verses modern living, as well as looking at the role a woman has in the world. How sometimes, people are seen as objects - something that world history is unfortunately familiar with.

Alex Marwood has certainly drawn from recent events when looking at the plot of this novel and it had me so angry in many parts - which shows how powerful this story is. I don’t think I’ve ever been so angry at characters in a novel before. 

It certainly is a rollercoaster of a psychological thriller that had me go through so many emotions. At the beginning, I was unsure of how it would all tie together and I really couldn't stop reading or predict how it would end. 

I am not going to say anymore. I don't want to spoil this book for you. 

If you’re looking for something that has you wanting to turn the page and not want to put down, this novel is for you.

This is one powerful novel that I will not forget in a hurry. Bravo, Alex Marwood. 

(Thank you to Sphere and Netgalley for the advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review.)
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The story begins in 1985, twelve year old Mercedes and her family live on the Mediterranean island of La Kastellana, a place with long held traditions but that summer everything changes with the arrival of Matthew Meade and his daughter Tatiana, who bring untold wealth to the island, but the hold they will end up having over Mercedes means her life will never be the same again. Fast forward to 2016 and Robin arrives on the island looking for her missing seventeen year old daughter Gemma, but nobody wants to help her and she fears she'll never see her again.

The Island of Lost Girls is a dual narrative told from the perspectives of Mercedes and Robin, across a dual timeline switching constantly between 1985 and 2015. It's a complex and dark read with some very undesirable characters and covers some distressing subjects which the author handles with integrity and compassion. This is a long drawn out tale which requires full concentration to follow the plot, as it switches so frequently, and I have to admit to getting confused quite a few times throughout, but I had to know how it ended and was determined to finish it and I'm pleased that I did, as it was a really enjoyable read. 

I'd like to thank Little Brown Book Group UK and Netgalley for the auto approval, I will post my review on Goodreads now and Amazon on publication day.
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I found this a bit of a slow burner and a bit confusing in the beginning but once i was a few chapters in it was a captivating read.  The story is set in two timeframes 1985 and 2016, it’s a story of wealth, sex trafficking, and small island life.  Although this wasn’t my favourite Alex Marwood book overall its a good read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC of this book in return for my honest review.
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Loved this book! Really interesting storyline and definitely a serious page-turner! I I found the main character relatable and I love a good twist! I also really enjoyed the way you can sense something sinister throughout the whole book, but you never quite grasp it until it's spelled out for you. Great!
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4.5 stars
This is a slow burn pretty much all the way through as layer upon layer is built up until the whole, sad, shocking, truth is finally revealed.
We start in 1985 when Mercedes in 12, living with her family on the small island of La Kastellana, leading a simply life and helping out in the family restaurant. Life ticks along nicely for her and her family until the arrival of multimillionaire Matthew Meade and his daughter Tatiana. Tatiana singles out Mercedes to be her friend her father duly opens his wallet to make it so.
Back in the present, in 2016, and Robin is desperately looking for her missing daughter. She has followed a clue that Gemma could be on La Kastellana. We also follow Mercedes, still tied to Tatiana.
Quite how these timelines fit with each other, well, I really don't want to spoil anything so I am going to say nothing more. Suffice to say that the can of worms the author opens is shocking and all things horrible...
I said it was a slow burn. It is, but that doesn't mean that the book dragged. Far from it. It is just one of those books that doesn't seem like as much when you are reading but, when you put it down for a bit, you realise how much has actually happened... There is definitely a lot going on - both in the past and the present.
The plotting is excellent and the timing of the reveals in both past and present is perfect. Each complements the other all the way through.
Characters are well described and all play their parts well. Main and supporting cast alike. There was definitely a lot of emotion surrounding certain characters along the way - not all of it positive, I hasten to add!
And the ending, when it was delivered. Perfect...
All in all another winner from an author I have had my eye on a while now. Roll on next time. My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
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Alex Marwood writes excellent thrillers and this one surpasses them all. Set on the fictional island of La Kastellana the story focuses on two families of very different backgrounds. The main narrator Mercedes Delia is from a poor family and there are several strands to this novel, concentrating on what happened to her sister in the past, plus we have Robin seeking her missing daughter in the present. 

The glorious setting provides a powerful backdrop to the sinister goings on aboard the Princess Tatiana, luxury boat belonging to the Meades and a heartbreaking story unfolds focusing on the way women and how money and power can make people behave and the hypocrisy behind it all. And family ties, revenge and love. Mercedes is a character you hold in your heart. Utterly brilliant.
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