Is this a tasty gothic read… a psychological thriller or simply a story about a weak woman enthralled to sex and money. The Engagement by Chloe Hooper is the story of Liese Campbell who spends a weekend with Alexander Colquhoun, the well-mannered heir of a pastoral dynasty, at his property in western Victoria. Liese, an English architect in flight from the financial crisis, now works at her uncle’s real-estate business in Melbourne, where she meets Alexander who has been looking for a place in the city.
The luxury apartments Liese shows him have become sets for a relationship that satisfies their fantasies and helps pay her debts. It’s a game, or so she thinks until she heads to the country to stay with Alexander. The work explores the pitfalls of money, love and the dark side of erotic imagination, but there are touches of humour as well that helps ease the concerns that as a reader I felt for Liese’s character.