This is a book I read after being recommended it by a friend. I went in knowing nothing – literally nothing, about what it was about. The only clue I had was the title. I’m pleased I did though, because I was delightfully surprised by everything I read.
Right at the start, there’s a murder. You don’t know who was murdered, who the murderer was or what their motive was, you just know that a murder happens at a certain place at a certain time. Then the story jumps back in time several months and introduces us to the characters who live in that area – a group of mothers whose young children go to the same school.
There are many tensions and rivalries between different people for different reasons and it’s all a little silly at times – as, I think, it’s supposed to be, but then at the end of every chapter there’s a statement about the murder which is going to take place and all of a sudden a dark shadow is cast across everything. I worried, not only about who would be murdered, but who would throw their own life away by killing someone, because I was very fond of all of them.
The book is full of interesting and well developed characters, but my two favourites were two women named Jane and Madeline. Jane is a quiet, single mother who seems to have something tragic in her past, while Madeline is a loud, boisterous woman who loves to gossip and get involved in other people’s affairs. The friendship which grows between these two very different people is really nice and though Madeline feels a bit ‘much’ at first, I found my opinion of her becoming a lot more positive over time.
Beyond all the friendships and dramas, the book does deal with some pretty serious issues. Abuse, domestic violence, mental health, body image and even sexual violence. At times, the novel became rather distressing, but I really appreciated the way that these issues were handled in a healthy and progressive way. Though disturbing to read, they’ll do a lot to help raise awareness.
I think this is a book that just about anybody would enjoy, so if you’re looking for a book suggestion, you should definitely give this a go. It was a book that was had to put down. The chapters were never excessively long and when I got to the end of each chapter, I thought to myself “just one more won’t hurt” and if there’s any sign of a good book, I think this is it.