Read Under the Influence by Jacqueline Lunn Online

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The past is never history.Eve Hardy is exactly where she wants to be in life. She is a successful concert cellist for the Royal Opera, living with her handsome partner in his London apartment. Everything is possible. Sarah lives in Sydney with her husband and two young children. She thrives on being the centre of their world. When the sudden death of their old school frienThe past is never history.Eve Hardy is exactly where she wants to be in life. She is a successful concert cellist for the Royal Opera, living with her handsome partner in his London apartment. Everything is possible. Sarah lives in Sydney with her husband and two young children. She thrives on being the centre of their world. When the sudden death of their old school friend Meg brings them back together for her funeral in country New South Wales, it is time to face the past and the secret they all shared. A secret that began at boarding school with that girl, Rebecca Thornton - beautiful, wanted, gifted at maths, English and spotting losers who didn't know they were losers yet. A schoolgirl secret that changed the women they became. Sometimes, you can bury your past. Sometimes, the past tries to bury you....

Title : Under the Influence
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781864710052
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 382 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Under the Influence Reviews

  • Simone
    2019-03-22 08:54

    Under the Influence is the story of three women who meet at a Sydney boarding school as twelve years olds. Fast forward about twenty years and Eve is now a cellist for the Royal Opera in London and has lived away from Australia for the past decade. Sarah is a stay at home mum who lives in Sydney with her husband and two young children. And Meg is a doctor who has moved all over the country, unable to settle down. Ironically just when she does choose a place to call home in outback New South Wales, she is killed in a car accident. When Eve and Sarah are reunited for the funeral, the friends are forced to face the past and deal with the secret they all shared as teenagers.The story begins with Eve (from whose point of view the story is mainly told) in London and then weaves between present and past as she travels back to Australia (and the small town of Tallow) and attends the funeral of her (once) best friend Meg. The author manages to flick backwards and forwards fairly seamlessly, without the reader getting lost as to where and when the storyline is focusing on. The only small complaint I would have is when the story changes point of view within the same paragraph (which it does occasionally) – but this is only a minor point.As the story progresses, there is an element of mystery as to what exactly did happen all those years ago, which keeps you intrigued and guessing as to what it might be. The author also illustrates graphically the cruelty of teenage bullying and the accompanying issue of consent of bystanders, who are too scared to stand up for the victim, lest they become the next target. These darker themes give the story a gritty edge and provide food for thought.There are unmistakable elements of Australia woven right throughout the story – in place, characters, expressions and dialogue – without resorting to clichés or ocker expressions. From the cityscape of Sydney, to rural New South Wales, you have a very strong sense of where the characters are.I really enjoyed this book. It had me hooked right from the start and kept me there until the very end. A great debut novel from a promising new Australian author.

  • Helen McKenna
    2019-03-15 13:06

    When they meet at a Sydney boarding school as twelve year olds, Eve, Meg and Sarah have no idea that their lives will remain linked by a nasty secret they all share. Now in their early thirties and separated by geography and vastly different lifestyles, the story begins when Eve (who is living in London) hears the news of Meg’s death. Travelling back to outback New South Wales for the funeral and meeting up with Sarah again, the women soon realise their past can no longer be banished to the further recesses of their minds, but must be dealt with before they can move on with their lives.I really liked the way the story wove easily between present and past, illustrating clearly the background of the three friends and what has driven them to become the women they are. The depiction of a girls’ boarding school in Sydney comes across very accurately as does the incessant bullying that Eve suffers at the hands of “it” girl Rebecca Thornton. Tied in with this is the theme of consensus by silence – if you stand by and watch someone be bullied are you just as guilty? Yet it also acknowledges how powerless teenagers can feel when confronted by it – at that age your own survival and acceptance can sometimes mean putting aside personal ethics just to fit in.As well as getting the feel of Sydney spot on, the author also portrays country New South Wales fantastically, with the mention of several regional towns throughout the story, and the setting of Tallow, where Meg’s funeral is held. You can picture the small community easily – from the shops, to the pub to the town “doer”, who has her finger on the pulse of all that is happening in the community.The pace of the story was good, with the suspense building towards the end and relatively short chapters keeping all the elements fresh in your mind. Each snippet of the past provides a further piece of the puzzle, which keeps you guessing right until the secret is revealed. As Eve is the main protagonist, you really come to understand her character more as the whole story unfolds but all the minor characters are well drawn also.Overall a fantastic story, with fairly deep underlying themes that really made you think. I really enjoyed it and as the story built up momentum I couldn’t put it down. I look forward to Jacqueline Lunn’s next novel.

  • Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
    2019-03-04 10:59

    The narrative of Under The Influence spans almost twenty years and weaves in and out of time and place. The tragic death of Meghan reunites old school friends Evie and Sarah in the dusty outback for her funeral. The three girls had met at a small exclusive boarding school in Sydney as 12 year olds and formed a friendship, with Meghan at it's center. Under the Influence is a interesting novel exploring the themes of friendship, guilt and the inescapable spectre of the past.As the story unwinds we learn the history of the girls friendship, their experiences at boarding school, the shocking secret that they have kept hidden and the insidious effects their past has had on their life. Though the viewpoint is omniscient, it is Eve who becomes the central figure of the novel. As adults Eve, Sarah and Meghan have drifted apart. Eve has been living in London, a cellist in the Royal Orchestra. Sarah is settled in the suburbs of Sydney with her husband and young children while Meghan, a doctor, rarely stayed long in any one place. Reuniting at the funeral brings long buried memories to the fore. For Eve, boarding school was both wonderful and hellish. Quiet and lacking in confidence, her close friendship with Meghan, who also came from a small country town, meant everything to her but when Meghan won a scholarship to study abroad for a year Eve's life was made hellish by Rebecca Thornton, a 'day' girl who relentlessly bullies Eve. Lunn captures the torment Eve experiences in brutal detail, and shows how those experiences influences Eve even decades later. Sarah's home was only streets away from the school yet she boarded because of her parent's claim that their careers didn't offer the stability Sarah needed. Sarah was part of, but always peripheral, to Meghan and Eve's friendship and secretly resented Eve. Sarah's characterisation is the most subtle, her role in events is never made explicit but slowly awareness creeps in as the story progresses.While Under The Influence is novel of contemporary drama, there are glimmers of humour and mystery. The plot is revealed in fragments of time and character that urge you to keep turning the pages and though it is a little slow in parts, patience is rewarded with a shocking revelation. It is the complex characters who will ensnare you though, provoking a range of emotions, they are not easy to forget.Under the Influence is an absorbing novel in which Lunn unravels the past to make sense of the present. Beautifully crafted and thought provoking this is a strong debut novel from a new Australian author.

  • Jane Odgers
    2019-02-26 17:10

    Light holiday readingWhen they meet at a Sydney boarding school as twelve year olds, Eve, Meg and Sarah have no idea that their lives will remain linked by a nasty secret they all share. Now in their early thirties and separated by geography and vastly different lifestyles, the story begins when Eve (who is living in London) hears the news of Meg’s death. Travelling back to outback New South Wales for the funeral and meeting up with Sarah again, the women soon realise their past can no longer be banished to the further recesses of their minds, but must be dealt with before they can move on with their lives. I really liked the way the story wove easily between present and past, illustrating clearly the background of the three friends and what has driven them to become the women they are. The depiction of a girls’ boarding school in Sydney comes across very accurately as does the incessant bullying that Eve suffers at the hands of “it” girl Rebecca Thornton. Tied in with this is the theme of consensus by silence – if you stand by and watch someone be bullied are you just as guilty? Yet it also acknowledges how powerless teenagers can feel when confronted by it – at that age your own survival and acceptance can sometimes mean putting aside personal ethics just to fit in.As well as getting the feel of Sydney spot on, the author also portrays country New South Wales fantastically, with the mention of several regional towns throughout the story, and the setting of Tallow, where Meg’s funeral is held. You can picture the small community easily – from the shops, to the pub to the town “doer”, who has her finger on the pulse of all that is happening in the community.The pace of the story was good, with the suspense building towards the end and relatively short chapters keeping all the elements fresh in your mind. Each snippet of the past provides a further piece of the puzzle, which keeps you guessing right until the secret is revealed. As Eve is the main protagonist, you really come to understand her character more as the whole story unfolds but all the minor characters are well drawn also.Overall a fantastic story, with fairly deep underlying themes that really made you think. I really enjoyed it and as the story built up momentum I couldn’t put it down. I look forward to Jacqueline Lunn’s next novel.

  • Sarah
    2019-02-25 14:48

    I kept getting bored and skipping bits, but then found I had to GO BACK later and read it all again because I got too intrigued and wanted to know more about the big incident in the past that they were all referring to. But anyway nothing much is revealed until the final chapter, when it transpires that (view spoiler)[ Rebecca DIED an incredibly slow and gruesome death because Eve goaded her into riding off alone into the scrub on an unpredictable horse.(hide spoiler)]!! Wowsers, totally didn't see that coming. But I wish we DID find out earlier because I feel like it would've helped me understand Eve a bit more, the whole way through the book I found her a bit cold and unlikeable. I also would've liked to hear a lot more about what happened after that incident, how Meg and Eve reacted and how their friendship changed, what the reaction was at school etc.Some bits were really well written and there were lots of interesting themes explored - teenage girls & bullying, guilt, abusive/controlling relationships, parenthood, & whether those who stand by and watch bad things happen without intervening are just as bad as those who instigate the bad things. But I didn't love it. At times I found it quite unclear and hard to follow - I kept finding myself having to read the same sentence multiple times because I didn't get it, which broke up the flow.

  • Sallyann Van leeuwen
    2019-02-25 17:02

    Great book, almost worth 5 stars. Loved the characters, they were fresh and lifelike. All stories were equally fascinating and detailed. Little things detracted from the 5 stars, the ending felt rushed - after the building of the story, feeling the heat of each day, the flies, the dirt etc, suddenly the end had come and I wasn't ready for it. Fast and out of character. The other reasons were the title and the book cover, didn't feel like it contributed to the story at all. I will definitely look for more books by this author!

  • Judith Yeabsley
    2019-03-15 10:52

    This should have been such a good book and I dived into it and enjoyed it ... for a while. Then the central character became so unappealing I just lost interest. I wanted to know what had happened so kept going. It wasn't a bad book I just disliked Eve more and more. Once I knew what she'd done there was some perspective but it was all too little too late.I would read another of her books as it was pacy and well written.

  • Renee
    2019-02-20 10:54

    Couldn't finish it. Dull, dull, dull. This is the third book in a row I have not been able to get into - why don't all authors get into the story sooner? Life's too short to read slow books!!!

  • Kayte Nunn
    2019-03-20 16:57

    Utterly absorbing and engrossing. Extremely well written and I really liked the way the reader got to see inside the head of each character. It did, however, depress the hell out of me.

  • Jenny
    2019-03-13 13:54

    Confused with this one, did not grab me at all. Didn't warm to the characters and just didn't really feel I was following the story, just kept reading it to finish it. Left me disappointed.

  • Lizabeth
    2019-03-16 11:50

    The bullying is quite believable, the characters aren't that nice, but they'll stay with you for a while.

  • Lucia
    2019-02-28 13:15

    Cannot finish this. Doesn't grab me in any way shape or form!

  • Rebecca
    2019-02-20 16:00

    Cant get into this. Cant finish. Have tried 3 times over past couple of years. Struck out. Bye book

  • Janine De paiva
    2019-03-09 16:17

    Loved it! Great story, beautifully written.

  • Linda
    2019-03-15 17:10

    Light holiday reading.