I finished this book in one sitting, well written, the story gradually unfolds, with each chapter, I enjoyed the pace as it flowed, keeping you guessing as to what has happened, until I was half way through, then I just knew, but wanted to see how and if it was something the characters could get away with.
The five main characters Bella, Chrissy, Electra, Skye and Jen had all met at ante natal classes three years earlier, but these women had absolutely nothing in common whatsoever, except for the fact of having babies at the same time, except for one. They had then agreed to meet for drinks every 6 months or so, which then goes to every 3 months.
The story is told from the points of view of each character but begins three years before, what each character is doing, what their relationships are like, how they are managing being new mothers, some have help others are on their own floundering. That part was quite interesting and well written, as every new mother faces different challenges, the effects it can have on the marriage, sex life etc. Gradually the chapter’s go from three years to 2 years before and so on, leading to the present. There are also intertwined chapters with DI Lona Chatwin and DS Yannis Mohamud.
The police are called out in the present, when Bella Upton reports her husband Ewan as missing, he hasn’t been to work and hasn’t gone home, Lona and Yannis go out to the call, Bella tells them a suitcase is missing as well as his passport, to them it looks like a man who has left his wife and child. So dismiss it as low priority.
Until a couple of other things come to light regarding Ewan and his work, they then want to know what Bella was or was not aware of, so interview the women, except Jen has gone missing, her flat looks like a crime scene with blood on the coffee table, and in other places.
We then go back to three years before and the first mothers meeting which is at Bella’s house, she is a very nervous young woman, with no confidence, although she had previously had a good job. Ewan seems to be a control freak, with secrets of his own, he is an older man.
Chrissie was a high flying lawyer before she had her daughter Chloe, married to a much younger man, Russell, very comfortably off, troubles in their relationship, again she seems to lack confidence, despite her job, which she returns to at the end of her maternity leave.
Electra had twins Pearl and Ozzy with Zack again a younger man, who she feels, that having the twins has stopped him fulfilling his career. She feels guilty.
Skye lives on a boat on the Thames, the father of her daughter Juniper is gay Pedro, she is in love with him. Knowing it is not going to go anywhere.
Finally Jen she has an off relationship with Eliot, throwing him out, then him coming back, and repeat.
For me I started off liking the women, but as the story progressed I found myself getting annoyed with some of them, but I don’t really understand why, as I could totally see how things are, life changes when you have children, priorities change, you are tired, each of these women had something going on in their lives, I didn’t get the impression where one of them was happy, with their lives, or partners. They shouldn’t have even really all worked as friends as they are all so different from each other, they have nothing in common. Obviously the reader has no idea what the before is. Before what? So the build up to that is there which keeps you reading as you really want to know what happens, at the very beginning we know one of the mothers has a pillow to put on a babies head, but who? And did she?
Then the detective Lona I was getting angry with her as it was coming up to Christmas and she had to buy a secret Santa gift for someone at work, I felt her dithering over that was just not necessary, she fancied the woman, and every time her chapters came there was something about that, in it and I didn’t get how it added to the story, she then later started fancying one of the other characters.
I think in some ways the actual thing that happens was just a bit implausible, I just didn’t think it would work in real life. But this is fiction, and in fiction anything can work.
It’s difficult to say too much of what I felt didn’t work because of spoilers. Overall though I can honestly say that this is a good read, just a few holes for me in the plot. I really wanted to like these women, having been a victim of a controlling, abusive husband I should have been able to empathise with at least one of the characters, but I just couldn’t, and I can’t put my finger on why. I had guessed what had happened just as we started seeing the characters in the present.
I give this book ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ overall a good read.
I would like to thank #netgalley and #Trapezepublishers for an eARC of this book in exchange for a fair, honest and unbiased review.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sarah Naughton’s debut novel, The Hanged Man Rises, was shortlisted for the Costa children’s award. It was followed by a second young adult thriller, The Blood List. Her thrillers for adults, Tattletale and The Other Couple (Orion) are Amazon bestsellers. Sarah lives in London with her husband and sons.