The Finishing School: A Novel by Joanna GoodmanThe Finishing School: A Novel by Joanna Goodman

The Finishing School: A Novel

byJoanna Goodman

Paperback | July 15, 2018

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In this suspenseful, provocative novel of friendship, secrets, and deceit, a successful writer returns to her elite Swiss boarding school to get to the bottom of a tragic accident that took place while she was a student twenty years earlier.

How far would you go to uncover the truth?

One spring night in 1998 the beautiful Cressida Strauss plunges from a fourth-floor balcony at the Lycée Internationale Suisse with catastrophic consequences. Loath to draw negative publicity to the school, a bastion of European wealth and glamour, officials quickly dismiss the incident as an accident, but questions remain: Was it a suicide attempt? Or was Cressida pushed? It was no secret that she had a selfish streak and had earned as many enemies as allies in her tenure at the school. For her best friend, scholarship student Kersti Kuusk, the lingering questions surrounding Cressida's fall continue to nag long after she leaves the Lycée.

Kersti marries and becomes a bestselling writer, but never stops wondering about Cressida's obsession with the Helvetian Society—a secret club banned years before their arrival at the school—and a pair of its members who were expelled. When Kersti is invited as a guest to the Lycée's 100th Anniversary, she begins probing the cover-up, unearthing a frightening underbelly of lies and abuse at the prestigious establishment. And in one portentous moment, Kersti makes a decision that will connect her to Cressida forever and raise the stakes dangerously high in her own desire to solve the mystery and redeem her past.

An unputdownable read as clever as it is compelling, The Finishing School offers a riveting glimpse into a privileged, rarefied world in which nothing is as it appears.


Joanna Goodman is a Canadian author, born in 1969 in Montreal. Her stories have been published in The Fiddlehead, The Ottawa Citizen, B&A Fiction, Event, The New Quarterly, and White Wall Review. Excerpts of her writing have been published in, A Room at the Heart of Things, a fiction anthology by Elisabeth Harvor. She is the author of ...
Title:The Finishing School: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.79 inPublished:July 15, 2018Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062465589

ISBN - 13:9780062465580

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Novel Another great novel once I stated it I had to finish it..
Date published: 2018-05-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Sinister I did enjoy this book, the beginning was easy to get into however, I felt like it could have used less of the present day and more of the past to add to the mystery of what happened that fateful night. I understand that Kersti's insecurity played an important role to the character and was important even in the present day, but there were certain things I think that the author focused too heavily on, which ended up slowing down the pace of the story and drawing the reader away. The middle of the book was slow and I was just reading to find out what happened at that point. I was pleasantly surprised by the last quarter! It picked up pace and became much more enthralling, I did not expect the twist, however once a clue was revealed I was easily able to guess the end before the protagonist. All in all it was a good read and the ending was worth it! I can't stop thinking about the way the events unfolded! The last chapter was a disappointing conclusion, however, after everything else that had happened.
Date published: 2017-09-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Pretty good An easy and fast read, no complaints from me
Date published: 2017-07-03
Rated 2 out of 5 by from It was alright This novel started off strong and the initial build up of suspense was great. However, I felt like the story got too big and after too many twists, it became totally implausible. It is an easy read for vacation or the beach, and the whole "accident at a girls boarding school" did appeal to me, I just felt a bit let down by the last 1/3 of the book.
Date published: 2017-06-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Page Turner Disclaimer: I received this book as part of a Goodreads Giveaway. I didn't expect this book to be such a page turner. While the main character was an annoyance, the plot was so riveting that once things started to get heated I just had to read until the very end. It's the kind of book where everything makes so much sense in hindsight and a second read would have you rediscovering all the clues you missed the first time around. I can't say the main culprit was a surprise, as the hints were there, but the main problem - about the ledger, the secret society, and Cressida - wasn't expected and it was cool to see how they all fit together. The problem was, Kersti was not the greatest person to lead the story. She's an obsessed person and in the end nothing changed about her - everything just fell in to place. She still didn't get rid of her unhealthy obsession with Cressida, her parents conveniently came around to accepting her, her husband conveniently came around to her stubborn ways, and the end of the case was mostly brought about by other people - she was just an obsessive chaser still stuck in her childlike ways. The way the past and the present intertwined to give you just the information you needed was the main enjoyment factor in this story. I could ignore Kersti's annoying behaviour for the mystery, and I'm glad her main problems was just a small part of the story because the truth was a good one to reveal. I would definitely recommend this book based on the plot alone. The other characters make up for it, I swear.
Date published: 2017-04-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Thoroughly Enjoyed Read it in a day - easy read, good story
Date published: 2017-04-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Motivating An interesting story and good to read.
Date published: 2017-04-14

Editorial Reviews

“Enthralling.... Both a compelling look into an exclusive world and a wise and heartbreaking story of a friendship and misplaced passion.... The book is addictive because of the mystery it explores.... Also notable is the deftness with which Goodman presents the complicated, passionate nature of friendships during formative years.”