The Favour

Hardback edition released 04/03/2021

by Laura Vaughan

Modern and Contemporary Fiction Thriller and Suspense Crime and Mystery Debut Books of the Month Debuts Literary Fiction

LoveReading Expert Review of The Favour

A darkly disconcerting and intelligent read that slips into the shadowy thoughts of a social-climbing young woman.

This is a book that will keep you wonderfully off balance, it feels as though you are being trusted with an unsettling and dangerous secret. When Ada Howell turns 18 her wealthy godmother presents her with a gift that could allow her access to the world she she craves. The shocking aftermath of a sudden death appears to pave the way for her dreams, but the route she takes comes at a cost. Ada narrates, opening a disquieting window to her world and looking at herself without sentimentality. I felt that any feelings of compassion I had for Ada would have been slapped away and yet they remained. The nostalgic recollections and empathy she does have channel themselves into the house she grew up in and lost. Laura Vaughn has previously written for children and young adults, this is her first novel for adults. She writes with an understated eloquence, slowly allowing the intrigue and tension to build piece by delicate piece. There are a number of characters, each perfectly placed and adding to the feeling of claustrophobia that haunted the pages. I felt a shiver of foreboding as the ending began to slide into place, followed by satisfaction as I closed the last page. A well-written and rewarding read The Favour slips into shadowy thoughts and finds the darkness that dwells there. 

Liz Robinson

The Favour Synopsis

Fortune favours the fraud...

When she was thirteen years old, Ada Howell lost not just her father, but the life she felt she was destined to lead. Now, at eighteen, Ada is given a second chance when her wealthy godmother gifts her with an extravagant art history trip to Italy.

In the palazzos of Venice, the cathedrals of Florence and the villas of Rome, she finally finds herself among the kind of people she aspires to be: sophisticated, cultured, privileged. Ada does everything in her power to prove she is one of them. And when a member of the group dies in suspicious circumstances, she seizes the opportunity to permanently bind herself to this gilded set.

But everything hidden must eventually surface, and when it does, Ada discovers she's been keeping a far darker secret than she could ever have imagined...

About This Edition

ISBN: 9781838952013
Publication date: 4th March 2021
Author: Laura Vaughan
Publisher: Corvus
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 336 pages
Primary Genre Thriller and Suspense
Other Genres:
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The Favour Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

A tangible and refined novel about the need to make yourself fit in to the life you think you are owed...

I really enjoyed reading this book as it was set in parts of Italy I have visited so it was very easy to imagine the settings and surroundings and the heat. It was elegantly written, pared back in words and emotion and yet insightful.

Throughout the book there is a very tangible connection to the neediness of Ada, who is the storyteller. She has delusions that her past 'owes' her this lifestyle and believes that she should have inherited this type of living because of her childhood and her stepfather who was a renowned author and the wonderful old house Garreg Las they used to live in and which had to be sold after his death.

Ada subconsciously lives in the past, it's where she feels safe and secure, it's what gives definition to who and where she is now (a life which in reality she ignores and cannot accept).

When disaster strikes at the end of the Italian tour Ada sees the chance to take charge and sort it all out and in doing so pulling in a few favours and debts that will be to her benefit in the future and bind this group of people to her once they all return to England and go their separate ways.

However, did she actually interpret the story that wove itself around her in Italy correctly or not? Did she see the truth as she thought she did? All is not always as it seems as Ada will eventually find out.


An elegant and incisive read about family, secrets and dangerously dark obsessions.

When Ada Howell loses her father as a teenager and moves to London, her sense of loss is compounded by her loss of identity, the sudden termination of the life she thought she would lead. With her ancestral home sold and her university future in doubt, she enthusiastically embarks on a cultural and educational trip suggested by a kindly relative. Feeling sure she will once again be immersed in ‘her’ people, she sets off to Venice with a calculated plan in place. And when one of the group dies in suspicious circumstances, Ada seizes the opportunity to bind herself to her affluent new friends.

This is a compelling story about family, secrets and obsession. Reading it I was sometimes intrigued and sometimes horrified by Ada’s desperation to fit in with the group. You are never quite sure whether to feel sorry for her or dislike her needy machinations. It’s elegantly written and the Italian setting is beautiful and incredibly evocative.

Clare Wilkins

This is a “slow burner” and the reader is drawn into the claustrophobic atmosphere of this book and the group of people involved.

This is a “slow burner” and the reader is drawn into the claustrophobic atmosphere of this book and the group of people involved.

The main character is Ada Howell who is rather unpleasant and needy. The large, fairly grand family house where Ada lived was been sold following the death of her father and Ada his been taken from her boarding school, and is educated at a local secondary school. Ada finds this hard to take and aches to return to this society.

When her Aunt dies the small legacy she receives allows her to travel to Italy and join a study tour run by Dilletante. Discoveries. Ada changes her life story and her accent to ensure she belongs in this higher society. Ada twists the death of a group member to become an essential part of the lives of the Dillentantes

As the story that Ada constructed begins to unwind. What Ada thinks she saw is far more complicated than she imagined and at first the reader feels that Ada has lost….but everything is not what it seems!


Laura Vaughan Press Reviews

Intelligent, elegant and immersive. I found myself absorbed by the voice and story, and fascinated by a complex narrator who made me feel both empathy and horror. -- Claire Kendal, bestselling author of 'The Book of You'

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9781838952044
Publication date: 13/01/2022
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781838952013
Publication date: 04/03/2021
Format: Hardback

View All Editions

About Laura Vaughan

Laura Vaughan grew up in rural Wales, and studied Art History in Italy and Classics at Bristol and Oxford. She got her first book deal aged twenty-two and went on to write eleven books for children and young adults. She lives in South London with her husband and two children. The Favour is her first novel for adults.

More About Laura Vaughan

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