Too Close by Natalie Daniels | Book Review |#TooClose

For fans of THE GIRLFRIEND and THE WIFE BETWEEN US, TOO CLOSE is a twisting tale of friendship and betrayal.

How close is too close?

Connie and Ness met in the park while their children played. As they talked, they realised they were neighbours. Perhaps it was only natural that they and their families would become entirely inseparable.

But when Ness’s marriage ends in a bitter divorce, she is suddenly at Connie’s house all the time. Connie doesn’t have a moment to herself, no time alone with her husband, not a second to chat to her kids.

It’s all too much. Something has to give.

Connie has woken up in a psychiatric hospital. They say she committed a terrible crime but she says she can’t remember a thing.

Published by Transworld/Corgi

Available in ebook (24 November 2018) | Paperback (7 March 2019) and audiobook

315 pages 

|  My Thoughts |

When we first meet Connie and Ness it is in the park where their children are playing and they realise that they live nearby to each other. We next encounter Connie in a psychiatric hospital with horrific injuries. What on earth has happened.

Recounted mainly in the first person by Connie together with chapters from the perspective of Dr Emma Robinson, her psychiatrist. Emma has been assigned to her in order to encourage Connie to remember what happened. This is an intriguing story showing the devastation that results when a close friendship turns toxic.

Ness and Connie were each married when they met. Ness to Leah, a TV personality and Connie to Karl. Their two daughters got on well together and became best friends – there are some diary extracts from Connie’s daughter 9 year old Anna, complete with childish spelling, which at times are hilarious, and also so insightful. It’s surprising what children pick up on.

Don’t expect a fast paced read – this is more character based. For much of the story, we learn the backstory with only little teasers of what may have happened to put Connie in the hospital. We don’t find out what has actually happened until much later on and well done to the author for the ambiguity and some misdirection here. For much of the story my mind was in freefall, wondering what Connie had done to deserve being isolated in an institution and I made my own assumptions. However, there was a point when the rug was pulled from under me and I was completely taken by surprise.

All the characters are so realistic, in fact their lives are frighteningly so. Marriage difficulties, family problems, emotional meltdowns. In addition to Connie’s story, we also have Emma’s. She has her own marriage and life issues to deal with – in fact sometimes I thought that she should have been the patient instead of Connie.

Connie may have been accused of something dreadful but I couldn’t help but feel some sympathy for her. She was forthright and honest and her character was very well developed. With a family, as well as ageing parents to look after including a mother with dementia, she was trying to keep all the balls in the air, it was perhaps inevitable that one would drop.

Too Close is a disturbing novel of deceit and betrayal. I’ve seen it described as a psychological thriller however in my opinion it’s more of a domestic/suspense/drama. But whatever the description, it is an extremely well written debut novel and I’m looking forward to seeing what the author comes up with next.

About the Author  |

Natalie Daniels is the pseudonym for screenwriter, author and actress Clara Salaman who you may recognise as DS Claire Stanton from The Bill. She lives in London and in Northern Spain

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