Published by Century
ebook & Hardcover : 1 June 2017
What secrets would you kill to keep?
After her husband’s big promotion, Cece Solarin arrives in Brighton with their three children, ready to start afresh. But their new neighbourhood has a deadly secret.
Three weeks earlier, Yvonne, a very popular parent, was almost murdered in the grounds of the local school – the same school where Cece has unwittingly enrolled her children.
Already anxious about making friends when the parents seem so cliquey, Cece is now also worried about her children’s safety. By chance she meets Maxie, Anaya and Hazel, three very different school mothers who make her feel welcome and reassure her about her new life.
That is until Cece discovers the police believe one of her new friends tried to kill Yvonne. Reluctant to spy on her friends but determined to discover the truth, Cece must uncover the potential murderer before they strike again . . .
From the bestselling author of That Girl from Nowhere and When I Was Invisible comes a thrilling new novel that will have you questioning the line between right and wrong.
It’s been a while since I last read a Dorothy Koomson book – not because I don’t enjoy them, I do very much, but I guess there are just so many other books on the reading pile. When I saw this one on my Lovereading review list, I was sold on the synopsis and jumped at the chance to request a copy.
The Friend begins with Cece and her three children joining her husband Sol in Brighton. Sol had been living in Brighton on his own for the previous three months following his promotion and Cece is becoming increasingly concerned about their relationship so agrees to make the move from London. The children find adjusting to their new life a lot easier than Cece – she struggles to make new friends and feels rather isolated but when fellow school mums, Maxie, Hazel and Anaya take her under their wing, she is delighted. However the story takes a darker turn when she discovers that these three women were all friends with Yvonne, a mother who was recently attacked at the school and left in a coma. All three women are clearly hiding something – but do they have any connection to the attack on Yvonne.
A face from the past brings trouble for Cece and reluctantly she is forced to turn detective however what she discovers could end even the most longstanding of friendships, let alone fledging ones. It seemed that everyone is this story has secrets which if discovered could be devastating.
There are a lot of characters introduced all at once at the beginning and it did take me a little while to remember the parent/wife/husband relationship between them all. The story is told mainly in the present time but also with narratives from the past giving a more detailed picture of each of the main characters. Nobody comes out of this story that well, the men especially it seems – they generally range from the deceitful to the downright cruel. With each new revelation, my sympathies and alliances kept changing. None of our main characters are all that they seem which makes the story so intriguing.
It may have taken me a while to get to grips with the characters, but I have to say that it soon turned into one of those reads that I couldn’t put down. The characterisation is superb with Cece being a firm favourite of mine; she was probably one of the strongest characters, both in presence and personality and didn’t take any nonsense from anyone. Sol often found himself facing her wrath (and in my opinion quite deservedly so).
You may think you know your friends but do you really? Do you know everything about their background? Unless you were lifelong friends, you would only know what they chose to tell you.
When I first started reading this, the book that immediately sprang to mind was ‘Little Lies’ by Liane Moriarty (reviewed here on the blog). Obviously the detail of the stories are not the same but the overall premise – the school setting, the cliquey mothers at the school gate, the drama and suspense element; if you enjoyed that book then I would recommend this one – and, even if you haven’t, I would still recommend The Friend just because it’s such a good read.
My thanks to Lovereading and the publisher for the paperback copy to review.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
After finishing my masters degree, I had several temping jobs before getting my big break in journalism working on small newspaper. In the evenings I continued to write fiction and in 2001 I had the idea for The Cupid Effect. Two years later it hit the shelves and my career as a published novelist began.
In 2006 my third novel, My Best Friend’s Girl, was published and was selected for the Richard & Judy Summer Reads Book Club – going on to sell over 500,000 copies. To date I’ve written six bestseller list books, and they have been translated into 28 languages across the world.
I live near Brighton and am currently working on another book and a screenplay.