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Skin Deep

Length: 11 hrs and 40 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (880 ratings)

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Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Skin Deep by Liz Nugent. 

Cordelia Russell has been living on the Côte d'Azur for 10 years, posing as an English heiress. Now her money is gone, and her luck is running out. Desperate to escape her grotty flat and grim reality, Cordelia spends a decadent night at the Negresco. But surrounded by the young, beautiful and privileged, she feels her age and her poverty. 

As dawn breaks, she stumbles home through the backstreets. Even before she opens her door, she can hear the flies buzzing. It hasn't taken long for the corpse in her bedroom to commence decomposing.... 

Liz Nugent's novel is the dark, twisted and shocking story of what takes Cordelia from an island childhood in Ireland to ruin in Nice. 

©2018 Liz Nugent (P)2018 Penguin AudioBooks

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wow this is such a gripping story and I’m hard to please

At last a story with a real character not some morally perfect good person..but a person I don’t even like very much yet I’m gripped to know the outcome like I’ve never been gripped before..I’ll now devour all books by this author as I always do when I find a writer that doesn’t bore me. A book that grips me from the first intro to the last to the point my life stops and I disappear into the plot and lose myself...this is one to listen to. Not finished it yet but LOVInG IT also brilliantly narrated. Five stars for everything.

13 people found this helpful

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Wow. Just wow

I’m a Liz Nugent fan but she has excelled herself with this book. The main character is a ghastly person but you still want to hear her story. It’s impossible to stop listening as Delia’s story covers time and locations. There are several twists towards the end. I thought I’d guessed the outcome but I was so wrong.
I can’t rate this book, or it’s narration, highly enough.
And I can’t wait for the next Liz Nugent book.

13 people found this helpful

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Beauty is skin deep...but ugly goes to the bone..

What did you like most about Skin Deep?

The story never flags, and the narration is excellent.

What other book might you compare Skin Deep to, and why?

Sweet Pea by CJ Skuse and Maestra by LS Hilton - all have strong female characters.

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favourite?

Delia.

Any additional comments?

Highly recommended.

11 people found this helpful

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All I can say is this book deserves ten stars!

LIz nugent is a truly gifted story teller. what a talent. It was a magical read from start to finish!

7 people found this helpful

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Wild Atlantic

Wonderful to listen to. Gripped to the very end. The shallow, cruel, narcisstic personality contrasted against a rich and wild backdrop.

6 people found this helpful

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  • VJ
  • 06-04-18

Captivating.

A very unusual storyline that kept me enthralled until the very last chapter.
Excellently written and narrated.

19 people found this helpful

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I Had To Go All The Way To Get Skin Deep!

Liz Nugent is one to watch, or rather listen to! The prologue to this sets up an intrigue similar to her previous book Unravelling Oliver which was genuinely outstanding. This one then takes a different approach with a largely linear journey from a little girl's childhood to that intriguing opening scene and on to a very powerful climax. For much of the book the journey feels quite predictable even if it is tough. It's hard living in the mind of a character like Cordelia . . . if you don't find it so then please don't add me as a friend on Goodreads because you're one scary person :-)

The quality of the writing draws you in though and it's like a car crash, you know you shouldn't look but of course you do. When you plan that fantasy dinner party of literary characters and you put the likes of Atticus Finch next to Jud Crandall I doubt you will imagine writing out a place card for Cordelia Russell. She leaves a trail of wreckage in her wake and it's steady yet potent drama throughout. She's a strong character who is bound to cause a reaction.

It's only coming up to the very end though that you realise that the story up to then is simply a velvet glove covering an iron fist. And believe me Nugent punches damn hard with that thing with her story's ending. Seriously powerful and quite moving.

The narration, Annette Flynn I assume channels the lead very well and having brief interludes from some of the other key characters works effectively to break things up and offer some contrast.

This is a strong drama and the repeated theme of ripples in the sea generating tidal waves of destruction continues throughout and could almost be the motif of this book. Unlike the previous book which kept me guessing to the end this one lulled me into thinking it was all a tiny bit staid until I realised the trap that Liz Nugent had set me . . . I walked right into it!

32 people found this helpful

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Full marks for Liz Nugent

What did you like most about Skin Deep?

I found the book compulsive, easy listening. I listened to it over 2 days whilst doing a tedious job and it made the job less of a trial. Very well produced by the multiple narrators who enhanced the story. I felt a little sympathy at times for the main character, but she is ultimately vile.

4 people found this helpful

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Some overarching subtleties that should not be overlooked...

So many reviewers have already given superb write-ups that I want to focus on a different aspect.

This is to do with the men in Delia’s life. From her father, to Alan, Harry, Peter, Freddie and pretty every man bar James and Connor, Delia is used and abused. Yes she is spiteful. Yes she lacks empathy. And yet she loved her father, she tried to do the right thing be her definition by Christian, Freddie, and so on. Yes she was selfish but evidently suffering ptsd, post natal depression and alcoholism. Despite her deviousness, she had warmth, but lacked the understanding and care for others arguably because of the men in her life. And the bitter secrets.

Her father was an abuser and violent to her mother. He also manipulated Delia and turned her into a narcissistic daddies girl. Tom was shameful for not sticking up for Delia’s mother due to his own selfish reasons, and for enabling and turning a blind eye to his lovers violence.

Harry, Peter, their father and her adoptive father all blamed her for everything that went wrong in their lives, with complete lack of insight to their own flaws and shallow choices in being swayed by her beauty/ using her as a pawn in revenge. Even when the women involved tried to make them see sense and allow an abortion - something Delia actually wanted, Alan’s spitefulness and sense of revenge won over. Christian stole her money, beat her, and attempted to pimp her out, and Freddie constantly told her she was ugly and disfigured and used her as his muse.

Delia inarguably was narcissistic, prone to cruelty, and shallow. Yet she also blocked out a lot of pain and was reduced to an object of beauty and then hatred and ridicule by those around her. Her status as a woman, mother, poor Irish ‘peasant’, disfigured human being always showed the power imbalances inherent in unjust, misogynistic, class based society. Even her father saw her as a breeder, ironically the one thing she definitely was not.

By the end, I felt sorry for deluded Delia, losing all sympathy for all the other characters apart from Moira, Elizabeth, Connor and James.

3 people found this helpful

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An engrossing story of an eventful life

The author seems to be drawn to create central characters with whom one feels little sympathy and Delia/Cordelia is no exception. As I found with her previous book, Unravelling Oliver, the story starts with a dramatic prologue that presages what happens later, but then, for quite a few chapters the pace slackens and the back-story is revealed. At first I thought this was going to be more like an Edna O’Brian novel about the life of a spirited young Irish girl, however, it soon develops in something much darker as Delia evolves from being adored daughter of a doting father into Cordelia the ruthless manipulator of men. She is blessed, and cursed, by being exceptionally beautiful. Soon she leaves a trail of destruction of other people’s lives as the story gets more engrossing and event is piled upon event. Although she is in many ways utterly cold-hearted and selfish I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her at times as she copes with the ups and downs of her extraordinary life. A story of a plucky survivor with a final dramatic and unexpected ending.

Most of the story is ably carried by the voice of Delia, but other narrators add the perspective of the other characters.

9 people found this helpful