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  • Published: 29 January 2014
  • ISBN: 9780143569220
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $22.99

The Engagement

This gripping, provocative new novel by one of Australia's finest writers is a psychological thriller for the modern age.

Two people. How many lies?

A woman and a man drive at dusk to a rural mansion for a final weekend together. It's all been a game. Both players understood the rules. Or so the woman thinks. At the house, a new game begins. A trap has been set. But how and why? And for whom?

This gripping, provocative new novel by one of Australia's finest writers is a psychological thriller for the modern age.

'A tasty gothic tale, with echoes of Bluebeard and Psycho, about wealth, power and erotic fantasy.' The Sunday Times (UK)

'A gripping read. This haunting story provokes questions long after the final page.' Big Issue

'A high-octane tale of coercion, fantasy and feminism.' The Guardian

'A deftly written, tonally smooth, technically adroit and penetrating study of psychological extremity . . . Hooper shrouds the narrative in an uneasiness whose source is everywhere and nowhere simultaneously.' The Australian

  • Published: 29 January 2014
  • ISBN: 9780143569220
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

Chloe Hooper

Chloe Hooper’s The Tall Man: Death and Life on Palm Island (2008) won the Victorian, New South Wales, West Australian and Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards, as well as the John Button Prize for Political Writing, and a Ned Kelly Award for crime writing. She is also the author of two novels, A Child’s Book of True Crime and The Engagement.

Also by Chloe Hooper

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Praise for The Engagement

A complex psychological thriller that draws on the rich literary history of madwomen in the attic, from Jane Eyre and Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" to Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca... The Engagement is not Fifty Shades of Grey; its kicks, and kicks in the teeth, are much more subtle.

Lucy Scholes, Independent

The pages fly past so quickly you almost miss the sharp turn of phrase and imagery . Chloe Hooper's novel engages us, like Liese in Colquhoun's fantasy, in an S&M web for which we don't know the safe word.

Fleur MacDonald, Literary Review

The novel has an affecting oddness all its own... I hope that some of E L James' seemingly insatiable fans chance upon The Engagement and find there is more satisfaction in its pages than in Christian Grey's whipping room.

Alex Peake-Tomkinson, Daily Telegraph

The Engagement is Chloe Hooper's second novel and comes almost a decade after her well-received debut, A Child's Book of True Crime. It is a much tighter, more suspenseful work. The Engagement is compelling.

Stephanie Bishop, Times Literary Supplement

Hooper ably sustains the tension, carefully deploying surprises. The isolation of the farm and the "creeping shocks" of the wilderness create a potent unease.

The New Yorker

Chloe Hooper's writing is singularly challenging and confrontational... For those who prefer their erotic literature less Fifty Shades of Grey and more Jane Eyre.

Catherine Taylor, Sunday Telegraph

Daphne du Maurier, Charlotte Brontë, Alfred Hitchcock, you hear them approving, a cackling cacophony to counterpoint Liese's voices, so beautifully spun by Chloe Hooper it all sounds seamless. Polished gothic.

Tom Adair, Scotsman

Engagement reminds us too of the power of fiction, both within the story and outside it. Liese feels threatened by the stories she herself has told, and we in turn flip the pages breathlessly, suspending disbelief.

John Self, Guardian

In terms of myth, it is rather like Bluebeard's castle...in film terms, it recalls Psycho.

David Grylls, Sunday Times

A gothic tale, filled with brilliantly creepy details.

Suzy Hansen, Financial Times

If Fifty Shades is your thing, you might just love The Engagement.

Wendy Holden, Daily Mail

Hooper serves up a chilling story of obsession, delusion, and the slippery nature of sexual identity.

Claire Allfree, Metro

There's more than a shade of Fifty Shades in this erotic, psychological thriller...the unreliability of the narrator will have you guessing till the end of this dark and thought provoking tale.

Sunday Mirror

This is a tense, elegant, psychological thriller about an emotional tug-of-war... This tale of self-willing entrapment keeps us guessing to the end... Compelling and memorable.

Viv Groskop, Red Magazine

Hooper has constructed a modern fairy tale of a kind, complete with Bluebeard and his castle, and using some of the fictional paraphernalia of Gothic horror and melodrama she delivers a compelling, at times disturbing, but always humorous and readable cautionary tale.

Brian McCabe, Herald

The difficulty with a thriller - even if it is literary - is not to fall into cliche and predictability. At the points where it seems as this may happen, Hooper wrong foots the reader without losing any credibility, leading to a very clever ending.


This beautifully crafted psychological thriller really got under my skin.

A.N. Wilson, Readers Digest

Hooper is a very clever writer. Her prose is uncluttered, but every phrase is packed with meaning.


A chilling, compulsive read.

Fanny Blake, Woman & Home

New, dark literary thriller...read it for its seductive plot.


A dark unsettling read which will appeal to fans of the gothic as well as those who enjoy tales of twisted relationships such as Gone Girl.


Literary thriller The Engagement by Chloe Hooper takes a Fifty-shades style plot about erotic games between estate agent Liesel and business man Alexander to a darker place.

Good Housekeeping

Part gothic novel, part thriller, this will keep you guessing until the end.


Hooper has crafted a terrific tale full of dark corners and dead-ends that leave the reader wondering what to believe. The result is a collision between a psychological thriller and a very dark romance that has something for fans of either genre.

Irish Examiner

The Engagement has all the ingredients of a top psychological thriller with the bonus of literary style. I think it could be a huge hit. I hope so. I really want to see the film.

Literary Sofa Blog

Beautifully crafted and sleek psychological thriller. The Engagement, by one of Australia's newest and brightest writers, explores mind control, power games and emotional abuse, so do not expect it to be a romance novel as it is, most definitely, not!

Yattar Yattar

An unsettling thriller... A book which deftly explores the power of money and property, romance and sex

Marie Claire

A dark, erotic and tense tale


Plain and lucid, with beautifully accurate word-choice, and plenty of grace-notes that one pauses to appreciate... A highly intelligent, unpredictable, very grown-up, and crazily readable novel

Brandon Robshaw, Independent on Sunday

A sleek and sly two-hander, a thriller almost, that sets everything out clearly for the reader and yet remains filled with uncertainty

John Self, Guardian

An intense psychological thriller, strewn with enough red herrings to satisfy the most demanding reader

Mail on Sunday

Hooper's writing is singularly challenging and confrontational... For those who prefer their erotic literature less Fifty Shades of Grey, more Jane Eyre

Daily Telegraph

A fine, literary thriller; cold, at times almost nauseatingly disturbing

Alison Flood, Guardian

A fascinating, subtle, really original modern Gothic thriller

Rebecca Chance, Daily Record

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