Seven women, friends from University days, meet up for a picnic in Hyde Park near the Serpentine. Sissy believes this habit of meeting up once a year should have been shelved a few years ago, some of the friendships are so badly fractured, some are laden with guilt and would appear that most of the women are keeping at least one secret.
Tina Seskis has produced a chatty book, one which reflects the reluctance that many of us feel to break off a friendship, especially one forged at such an important time of life. I have to confess that early on in the book I struggled with the number of characters as I presumed it was going to be very hard to remember who held what characteristic /grudge although the clever way that elements of the story were unveiled meant that each of the women were soon individuals on the page. As each of the women, their families and of course the men in their lives are revealed we also get the back stories, those events that happened years ago shaping both the women and the friendships.
The main event kept me reading to find out the truth as I gasped at the lack of morals that the group displayed. This book shows both the strengths and weaknesses of friendship, the good and bad of human nature and ultimately is a great gossipy book to keep the reader entertained. Another hit for Tina Seskis following her brilliant debut One Step Too Far
I received a copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Emily Coleman has left home; we meet her first when she is catching the train from Manchester to go to London to start a new life. The whole premise of the book is why has she left husband Ben and Charlie?
Tina Seskis cleverly reveals all in separate narratives by Emily, her twin Caroline, mother Frances and father Andrew, which go back as far as the day Frances delivered the twins. Revealing a tale of a troubled and flawed family. For all that Emily has done well, she met and married Ben and had a child along with a lovely house. So what went so wrong and is it possible that Emily can have a new life as Cat Brown?
The themes in this book are strong touching on sibling relationships, guilt, and jealousy along with drug abuse with more than a touch of madness thrown in. The characterisation of the main and also the minor characters in this drama was well executed. It was good to read a book where all judgements about characters are left to the reader by the downplaying of others actions by the narrators, particularly Emily.
All in all a story with an original feel although the ending was a little too surreal for my liking. The twist in the tale is one of the best I’ve read, I literally gasped as I didn’t see it coming at all. I have added A Serpentine Affair: Are Friendships Ever Forever? to my wishlist ready for it’s release in September 2013