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Book Review: Out Of Her Depth By Lizzy Barber

Book Review: Out Of Her Depth By Lizzy Barber

Out of Her Depth

Out Of Her Depth by Lizzy Barber is a distinctively mysterious, captivating, and unsettling yet riveting psychological suspense thriller, brilliantly set in the shadowy streets and the intense beauty of a sun-drenched villa in Tuscany, surrounded by lush green hills. Cambridge-graduate Lizzy Barber’s lifelong love of Italy and fond recollections of childhood and family vacations on the Italian coast became the inspiration for this book. She is famed for writing eminently female-driven psychological suspense thrillers with vivid settings and endearing characters.

As our lovely, earnest readers know, some of the most compelling and delightful stories come from the constantly swelling sphere of suspense thrillers. At The Honey POP, we enjoy reading and bringing you engrossing reviews of brand new books to update your TBR list. Out Of Her Depth transcends the usual contemporary thriller fiction clichés with its deep and diversified elements, skillfully woven together with Lizzy’s laudable writing and imagination, charting the lives of Rachel, Diana, Sebastian, and Valentina, and has the power to keep you on the edge of your seat right until the very end.

Make this your next read if you enjoy obsessive, fascinating psychological dramas with emotionally complex, layered characters that are disturbing but enjoyable in ways beyond your wildest dreams.

Image Source: Lizzy Barber via Instagram

This mind-clutching book is an excellent escapist read for fans of Euphoria, Her Dark Lies by J.T. Ellison, or Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins. We were so enamoured by the novel and delved so deep into the plot that we kept envisioning it in our heads and secretly manifested it to become a TV series or suspense thriller movie. And guess what? It’s already happening!

As reported by Variety, Sony Pictures Television has optioned this enigmatic, acclaimed psychological suspense thriller novel, Out Of Her Depth, for series development. We are feeling beyond exhilarated that one of our favorite 2022 books will come alive on screen and enliven the narrative for your entertainment now that the script is in the works. Wouldn’t you want your favorite story to come alive on the screen and triple the fun?

Image Source: Courtesy of Lizzy Barber/Harper Collins Publishers


There are summers that will change your life. There are summers that may end it.

In the lush green hills beyond Florence sits the Villa Medici—a graceful pensione surrounded by manicured gardens. Rachel, a college student from an unfashionable London suburb, can’t believe her luck in landing a summer job here. Especially when she’s drawn into a circle of privileged young sophisticates, including her glamorous coworker Diana, who promises to help Rachel win the affections of handsome, confident Sebastian. But as champagne flows and rivalries fester in the Tuscan countryside, Rachel realizes Diana has motivations of her own. Adrift in a world of backstabbing and bed-hopping, lavish parties and easy betrayal, Rachel feels the stakes rising along with the temperature until, one night, something snaps.

Someone dies. And nothing will ever be the same…

Review: A Triumph!

“Before you judge me, remember this. A girl died, but it wasn’t my fault.” How did you feel? Left intrigued? Surprised? Taken aback? Or perhaps you got goosebumps, as we did when we first flipped the page and read this blazing opening line that instantly hooked us to the story. It piqued our interest immediately and remained so throughout, as Lizzy transported her readers to Tuscany by flawlessly portraying the lush landscape and surroundings, making us forget about the outside world.

As readers, we get a glimpse into the lives of those with privilege versus those without, which are superficially soaring with opulence, euphoria, love, lust, infatuation, extravagance, and money. On the surface, this looks like a dream life to live, but within, everyone’s enmeshed in a web of lies, secrets, and conundrums that ultimately lead to catastrophic misfortunes and misery. Its masterfully articulated quest for the truth conjures up a vivid and intense world full of mysteries and secrets that explores the depths and nuances of human life and evokes such emotions, revealing a traumatic past and an unforeseen family secret, making it an excellent page-turner.

Lizzy Barber Out of her depth
Image Source: Lizzy Barber via Instagram

What happens next is a mind-churning tale of sun, sea, sex, and privilege in two timelines across 20 years that alternate seamlessly with the dual narrative. The main protagonist, Rachel, gets the golden chance of a lifetime when she lands herself a summer job at the opulent Villa Medici hotel in the Tuscan hills. There is a group of glamorous teenagers who are used to a life of privilege and extravagance and for whom money is no object. So imagine lavish parties, heady sun-soaked days, and beaches, with some backstabbing and bed-hopping. It doesn’t take Rachel long to get sucked into the cosmopolitan group of friends and acquaintances and enjoy the delicacies and suave, plush lifestyle.

She is naïve, wears her emotions on her sleeve, and is easily persuaded, which sometimes feels unsettling. As the story unfolds, she tries to persuade the alluring Sebastian with the help of Diana, but little does she know that her new friend might have a hidden agenda and ulterior motives that will reveal the actual cost of this life. As more unexpected and thrilling twists and turns unfold in the most bizarre circumstances, Rachel feels asphyxiated with the intimidating atmosphere of secrecy underneath the dazzling luxury, as she finds herself not just out of her depth but engulfed in a web of mysteries and lies she cannot escape from.

20 years later, life has changed drastically because of an unknown catastrophic event, to the darker, brisker, significantly less glamorous life that Rachel always despised. But now her past mistakes and old memories have resurfaced in the present, and she cannot flee. Lizzy Barber has weaved an enthralling web of manipulation and desire around the youngsters that will keep you on your toes until the last page.

Out Of Her Depth triumphs as a characterization of society’s barricades, privilege, toxic friendships and relationships cloaked in suspense, implausible circumstances, and confusion at every corner, turn, and twist about who did what to whom. And most importantly, why? As beguiling as it is, Lizzie Barber infused the story with yearning, betrayal, and jaw-dropping moments that significantly transform the lives of these amusing characters and propel the plot forward while untangling layers of emotions and mysteries to keep you hooked.

We thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this utter masterpiece, defining a mind-boggling rollercoaster journey that will instantly move you with its eloquent, poised writing style, dripping with a sheer generosity that is just astonishing. What about you? Have you read this book yet? If you liked this review, grab a copy of Out of Her Depth right now. Once you enter this universe, we promise you won’t be able to resist yourself.

See Also

About The Author:

Image Source: Instagram

With her Daily Mail First Novel Competition winning 2019 debut novel, A Girl Named Anna, London-based Lizzy Barber conquered the peaks of fame and recognition, which was indeed an exhilarating and surreal experience. A woman of many talents, she is a marketer on the right, an author on the left, and a full-time mom that takes the center stage.

She has always indulged her creative urge to write on the side, but only started taking it seriously over half a decade ago. Lizzy Barber has outdone herself with her recent exemplary, psychological thriller fiction, Out of Her Depth, spiraling through almost every human sentiment on the emotional spectrum. She is currently working on her third novel, A Girl Like That, which is slated to be published in 2023 by Pan Macmillan.

Out Of Her Depth by Lizzy Barber is out now and is available for purchase here!

Out Of Her Depth is a totally binge-worthy read, and it makes a perfect addition to your TBR summer shelf. What’s your favorite 2022 contemporary fiction at the moment? Tell us what you’re reading and recommending in the comments or by tweeting us @TheHoneyPOP!

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