The Friend by Dorothy Koomson @arrowpublishing #TheFriend @DorothyKoomson #Review

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| Content |

Today we have a book review for The Friend written by Dorothy Koomson. Out now in all formats.

| Synopsis |

The Friend Jacket Image.jpg

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 . . .

| Review |

This is the second book I have read by Dorothy Koomson (the first being My Best Friends’s Girl) and this book is completely different from her earlier ones and is a bit more hard-hitting.  The subject matter is more crime drama than family relationship drama, however, I think she has managed the transition very well.
There are a lot of characters that you get introduced to at the beginning of the book because all the friends have secrets lurking in their backgrounds, which they are anxious to protect and not reveal to their husbands and the rest of the world, but at what cost? And how far would each of them go to maintain the status quo of the lives they have now invented and built up for themselves?
We are introduced to each of the women and their husbands in turn, and the book alternates between different narratives from each of the women, different days and even different timelines within the same day.  There are 15 Parts to the story and 468 pages and for me, unfortunately, it went on too long, and tied itself up in too many knots and seemed to repeat itself in places.  It took me a while to get into it and get to know and understand all the characters, and although I kept wanting to continue the story, it became a bit like hard work in the middle before everything got more exciting again in the last third of the book. 
Basically a whodunit centred around a private school with the cliquey mothers you always get at the school gates being the main suspects, with lots of drama, suspense and intrigue together with a sprinkling of secrets and lies, which together make for a wonderful complex if confusing at first read.  The characters are all very different (as are their husbands) and well written and the descriptions of their houses as well as the beach hut on Brighton seafront are all delightfully described and I could picture the locations in my mind.
Dorothy Koomson does seem to understand the complexity of female friendships in all of her books and this one just adds an attempted murder into the mix for the reader to get to know the parents, their husbands and children and work out for themselves (if they can) who Yvonne pushed right to the edge enough to want to retaliate and hit out at her.
It certainly made me stop and think about how well you know your close friends (and even your extended family?!).  After all, you only ever know what they are willing to tell you or what you have witnessed for yourself.
Only 4* from me because I felt the book was too long and overcomplicated, and promised more than it actually delivered in terms of a fast paced female based thriller with three potential suspects and I felt Cece’s immediate acceptance as a newbie at the school gates into the tight clique of three friends who had something to hide between them, a little contrived.  In my opinion, having invited Yvonne into their circle with disastrous consequences, I imagined they would have been reluctant to share their friendship, lives and secrets with another person quite so readily.
By Linda Bishop Tilling for Love Books Group

| Buy Link |

Thank you to Becky McCarthy at Penguin Random House for your copy of The Friend.

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