Nobody but us

Laure Van Rensburg

Book - 2022

"Steven Harding is a handsome, well-respected professor. Ellie Masterson is a wide-eyed grad student. Together, they are driving south from New York for their first vacation: three days in an isolated cabin, far from the city. Ahead of them, the promise of long, dark nights--and the chance to get to know each other better, away from prying eyes. It should be a perfect romantic getaway for two. But when a snowstorm strands them in the house, each realizes the other harbors a dangerous secret--and soon it becomes clear one of them won't escape the weekend alive"--

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Thrillers (Fiction)
New York : Grand Central Publishing 2022.
Main Author
Laure Van Rensburg (author)
First Grand Central Publishing edition
Item Description
First published in 2022 in Great Britain by Michael Joseph, a division of Penguin Random House UK.
Physical Description
376 pages ; 24 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Ellie and her literature-professor boyfriend, Steven, take their first weekend away together in an isolated Chesapeake Bay retreat. Submissive and awestruck by domineering Steven's academic reputation, Ellie hopes their uninterrupted time together will finally crack his veneer. It's off to a shaky start: their rental's glass walls expose them to an unexpected winter storm's onslaught, and Ellie can't shake the feeling that they're being watched. But Steven is her focus, and she soldiers on with her plan to bare his soul. First, she drugs him, then duct tapes his unconscious body to a wheelchair and patiently waits to begin their talk. For his part, Steven rages against his obviously love-crazed girlfriend. Ellie is seeking revenge, however, not love, as she confronts Steven with proof of his predation on vulnerable teenage girls, including her childhood friend, Wendy. Ellie believes that Steven murdered Wendy when she refused to be cast aside. Revenge is within reach until Steven escapes his bonds and a tense zero-sum game of wits ensues. Van Rensburg deftly manipulates the narrative, leading readers to root for Ellie's ruthless and unnervingly clever machinations as Steven's dangerous nature is slowly unveiled. This story of dueling mind-games and duplicity is a must-read for psychological-thriller fans, especially those with a taste for revenge.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

At the start of Van Rensburg's exceptional debut, a highly entertaining psychological thriller, Ellie Masterson and Steve Harding are looking forward to celebrating their six months as a couple with a romantic getaway weekend. An unease immediately settles over them on their drive from Manhattan to Chesapeake Bay, where the remote house they've rented--all "glass and steel"--butts up against dark woods that lead to the ocean. Arriving at night, they can barely see out the windows, but Ellie is sure she has seen someone among the trees. Each creak in the house unnerves her. They both want their relationship to work despite different backgrounds--Ellie is an NYU grad student 17 years younger than wealthy Steven, who's a Barnard College professor about to move to Columbia. But each is suspicious of the other, especially Steven, who's keen to know what Ellie carries in her heavy handbag. When a snowstorm strands them, their wariness about the other intensifies. This deliciously creepy haunted house tale skillfully explores the psyches of two people who carry their own ghosts with them. Agent: Jenny Bent, Bent Agency. (Apr.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

Van Rensburg's outstanding debut brilliantly lends itself to the audio format. Shy NYU graduate student Ellie Masterson and her wealthy, older professor/lover, Steven Harding, leave Manhattan for a romantic weekend in remote Chesapeake Bay. It is their six-month anniversary, and Steven would like to deepen their relationship. Ellie seems perfect--she is an adoring acolyte, who is always happy to go along with his whims and is also enthusiastic in bed. As a snowstorm rages outside, it becomes clear that both Ellie and Steven harbor dark secrets. Van Rensburg ratchets up the tension as those secrets come to light. The novel is told in alternating chapters, narrated by Chloe Cannon and Joshua Kane. Cannon initially portrays Ellie as tentative, passive, and uncertain, but her voice, delivery and pace change significantly as she discloses her plans. For his part, Kane voices Steven initially as self-assured and stuffy and later as defensive, self-serving, and arrogant. VERDICT This dual-narrated psychological thriller is a must-have for public library collections.--B. Allison Gray

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