Chloe Hooper’s debut, A Child’s Book of True Crime, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize in 2002. It was about a young teacher who – while pursuing an affair with a pupil’s father – becomes obsessed with his wife’s novelised account of a local murder, in which the victim’s life seems to mirror her own. In The Engagement, fact and fiction form an unequally uncomfortable marriage.
Over the cusp of thirty and recently unemployed, interior architect Liese Campbell has left England to work at her uncle’s estate agency in Melbourne. During a viewing, she acts on impulse, leading Alexander Colquhoun, a handsome client, into the bedroom and undressing. When he leaves money for her, she’s initially