Book Reviews

Start the Fire: Envy by Amanda Robson @AmandaRauthor @AvonBooksUK

Happy Thursday! What’s your favourite sin? Have you ever been guilty of envy? Thanks to Amanda Robson, you won’t ever feel bad about your own desires!

My biggest thanks to Avon Books UK for providing me with a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

envyTitle: Envy
Author: Amanda Robson
Publisher: Avon
Date of publication: 04/04/2019
Format: paperback
Source: Publisher
Number of pages: 410

She wants your life – and she’ll do anything to get it…

Erica has always wanted to be exactly like her neighbour, Faye: beautiful, thin, and a mother. But Faye’s life isn’t as perfect as it seems – she has a terrible secret, and slowly but surely, it is threatening to destroy her and everything she holds dear.

When Faye’s daughter Tamsin goes missing after school, the police turn to Erica. But is Erica the only one who has been enviously watching Faye? Or is there another threat hiding in the shadows…?

An unsettling, claustrophobic thriller about jealousy, greed and desire from Sunday Times bestseller Amanda Robson.


I have another title for the latest Avon book on review. Instead of Envy, I want to call it Insanity!



mass noun

  • A feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.

The message is crystal clear from the beginning, there is no beating around the bush here, the author makes a strong statement with this title, and what stems from it is wickedly brilliant.

I am guilty of having felt envy. About a book a blogger has received, a friend’s good luck or looks. I manage to turn it into happiness for the concerned party and get over it. But Erica can’t.

Why? It goes deeper than pure envy. There are holes in Erica’s life and personality that needs to be filled and she has no idea how to do so. In fact, all characters are guilty of trying to fill a void in themselves. Faye, the beautiful and seemingly happy wife, mother, and model, has a lot more going on than meets the eye. Philip, her husband, sweet and caring like a juicy apple on a spring day, or his best friend Jonah, a solid shoulder and a lifelong mate, have a rotten spot too. Is this the reason why I couldn’t bring myself to like any of them? No. But this is the reason why they kept me engrossed, completely at the mercy of their actions. I wanted to understand, I wanted to tear up the masks they’re all wearing and get a real look at their lives, strapped of all the appearances, the glitter, and the politically correctness we use to pretend we all are normal.

Such intricate characters give room to thoughts and debate. I remember being horrified when I realised I could connect, to some degree, to what those people were thinking, or even doing! Envy probes into human wounds and weaknesses. Instead of solely following everyone’s steps and hoping I would get surprised, I started wondering what spurs us to hide our feelings. This is dangerous. Very dangerous! Of course, I am not saying we should all be Sims and have a triangle above our head with a colour and notification indicating our mood and internal thoughts, but isn’t it unsettling to get to a point where you live with someone who doesn’t know who you really are and what you really want? Or to be unable to admit to yourself that you are looking for another life when what you need is right there, and instead you end up on a dark lane with heavy consequences.

Am I too vague?

I like it.

Erica wants what Faye has. Faye wants more than she has. Philip wants his wife. Jonah wants to get what’s not his.

Within more than 400 pages, Amanda Robson slowly untangles this web of needs, wishes, and desires with force. If Erica looking out for Faye every day can seem okay, bordering on harassment, but when she decides to take action, the domino effect gets triggered and what you thought would be a straight-line plot ends up being as winding as countryside roads! I have dreamed of living someone else’s life. I admit it. But Erica gives this dream another meaning!! I can’t tell you how many times I thought ‘this is it’ or ‘I’m not feeling this, it’s gonna end bad, real bad!!!!’. Actually, I was hooked on those chapters jumping from one POV to another, which were playing with the pace by repeating a scene from a different view or on the contrary speeding time up to another day, another surprise.

There is no respite in Envy. Why? Because can you stop your emotions from being? From invading every corner of your brain and body? Nope. We are moving atoms ready to explode. The author knows it well and uses it to create a time bomb!!!

Are you ready to witness protagonists get consumed and go up in smoke like cigarettes, leaving a toxic and claustrophobic trail after them? Separate, those people might not need a fire, although I am sure they all would get different matches to lit the spark that lead them to their deepest urges. Reunited, they make for a terribly wicked and explosive gang. When you think you’ve gone to the bottom of it, Amanda Robson makes sure you remember human beings are way more complicated than we dare think.

The shocking ending had me gasping. Then a gnawing feeling stirred in me, disturbed me, and made sure I would not forget that dealt cards hold more than they show! The question is, who is the most dangerous of them all?

Find out who’s lurking in the dark, ready to turn your life upside down! Buy link



about the author

After graduating, Amanda Robson worked in medical research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and at the Poisons Unit at Guy’s Hospital, where she became a co-author of a book on cyanide poisoning. Amanda attended the Faber novel-writing course, and is now a full-time author. Her debut novel, Obsession, was a #1 ebook bestseller and her second novel, Guilt, was a Sunday Times bestseller.

16 thoughts on “Start the Fire: Envy by Amanda Robson @AmandaRauthor @AvonBooksUK”

  1. It sounds like this is very cleverly written to get every characters feeling and wants out there but tangled into a web of a story to make it thrilling. I suspect that the author has written the beginning to mislead the reader of who we should really be watching out for . Sounds good.
    Amanda xx


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