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Karen Hamilton Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Perfect Girlfriend (2018)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Last Wife (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Karen Hamilton is a British suspense thriller author that is best known for her debut novel “The Perfect Girlfriend.” As a child, she spent her childhood all across the world from Italy, Angola, Belgium, and Zimbabwe and she has said that it was from all that wandering that she developed a love for travel. Growing up, all she wanted to be was a flight attendant and an author. She wrote her debut novel in 2018 after attending and graduating from the Faber Academy. Upon its release, the novel became a bestselling title on the Sunday Times Top Ten list. Hamilton would then go on to publish her second novel “The Last Wife” in 2020. She currently lives with her husband and children in Hampshire in the UK.

Hamilton always wanted to become an author though she took a circuitous journey to become one just like many of her contemporaries. While it was a dream, she never took writing seriously until she got her middle son. At this time, she had achieved one of her lifelong dreams which was to be a flight attendant. However, with two children and a new family to look after, she no longer found much joy in her work as she had to leave her children for days when she was traveling across the world. She thought it would be a great time to quit being a flight attendant and try to achieve her other dream of becoming a professional author. It was not easy as it took nine years attending book and literary festivals, lots of reading, and tons of rejection for two manuscripts before she published “The Perfect Girlfriend” in 2018. The turning point for Karen Hamilton was when she was the first runner up for the “Grazia” magazine writing competition where she had submitted the first chapter of a manuscript, a few years after she started writing.

Karen Hamilton’s debut novel “The Perfect Girlfriend” was inspired by her more than two-decade career as a flight attendant. She would always get out of her uniform as soon as she left the plane since she is not very good with directions and did not want people asking her which direction to go. During one of those times when she was changing out of uniform at the airport bathroom, she started thinking about who we really are and the different faces we present to the outside world. Hamilton started wondering what would happen if a person who represents responsibility and authority turned out to be a psychotic stalker. It was from the epiphany that the lead character Juliette came to be and she then fleshed out her story from it. After nine years of writing and attending classes and literary festivals, and failing to get an agent, she decided to take the Faber Academy’s six-month writing course in London. It was at Faber that she started experimenting, which was something that was encouraged by her teachers. She had been rewriting her second manuscript but decided that she was better off writing a new work and hence ditched the rewrite and started writing “The Perfect Girlfriend.” Her first book had been a happy one but it went nowhere but with Perfect Girlfriend, she got a very good response from the class and this gave her the confidence she needed. She also realized that the dark side of human nature is something she loved writing about.

Hamilton’s “The Perfect Girlfriend” is a brilliant first-person narrative that tells the story of Juliette who has just lost the love of her life. Her boyfriend has just broken up with her and she did not take it so well. She intends to give him the space that he had said he needed, since she believes that is what will draw him back to her. Juliette is a believer in the long game and while she could meet up with her ex at any time, she intends to stick to the steady and slow plan. Nonetheless, she applies for a job as a flight attendant at the airline Nate works for, and for the next eight weeks she goes through the rigorous training. Once she is done, she starts accumulating the hours that will give her the seniority she needs to get closer to Nate. She is patient but also needs to show that she has a life outside her relationship with Nate and hence she makes a friend. It is an entertaining friendship though they have their quirks and oddities. Juliette still believes she is the perfect girlfriend for Nate and that it is only a matter of time before they are back together even though it is clear that she is psychotic. Still, she is very persistent and entertaining, which makes her relatable despite her crazy ideas. While she needs professional help, anyone that has been mistreated, bullied, or cruelly dumped will delight in the many revenge plots she comes up with.

Karen Hamilton’s “The Last Wife” is the story of Marie and Nina who have been best friends since they were in high school, in college and beyond. Marie believed that there was nothing about Nina she did now know about. Given their closeness, Nina had asked Marie to be the person that would carry out her last wishes when she died and Marie had agreed. What she did not know was that Marie had always been envious of her and now has the perfect opportunity to get it. While it is a character-driven novel, it is full of untrustworthy and downright unlikable characters who are revealed throughout the novel. The story is told from the perspective of Marie and her behavior is made even more disturbing given that the audience knows all about her therapy sessions and her innermost thoughts. She is a master manipulator and liar who knows how to make the most of situations to better her circumstances. Most of the time, it is impossible to tell if she is spinning a lie for personal gain or to get sympathy, or if she is telling the truth. Reading the novel, it is soon apparent that she is an insecure and needy person who uses deceit in a calculated way for her own good. She has never felt good in her own skin but will do anything to get her way no matter how much pain she causes to others.

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