Having thoroughly enjoyed The Sudden Departure of the Frasers which was published by this author earlier this year, I was thrilled to find that there was a back-catalogue to explore with high-praise being bestowed on this book. Like Lisa Jewell’s books, it is easy to be thrown by the pretty, girly cover and assume this is a light and fluffy story, it isn’t, there are disturbing and dark issues but it does share that readable quality which easily has you rooting for a character.
In a small French town Tabby has become desperate, she has a broken heart and is pondering on some home truths and now she’s travelled from Paris to this unknown, quiet town with no money on a whim. She needs to go home, but is reluctant, she needs to earn money but her French is weak at best, but most of all she needs somewhere to sleep.
Emmie is virtually a hermit venturing out only to work so was it fate that bought Tabby to her door. Although Emmie is reluctant to speak of her own troubles, she is inquisitive about Tabby’s life. She listens to her woes and even fixes her up with a temporary job. Emmie’s spare time is spent working on her story, and what a story it is.
So far so chick-lit? We need the inclusion of a hunky man and we’re set to go. Well there are some men, one falls into the hunky category and is unavailable but that isn’t the point of the story. The story is about Emily Marr a woman who was in every paper, on every internet site, a woman hounded for her actions! Her picture was on the top-ten lists of worst women and the news articles always garnered plenty of spiteful comments. This is the age we live in, no longer do we put people in the stocks to humiliate them, instead campaigns are run to pressurise their employers to sack them for their perceived or real transgressions. If the object of our fury is a woman it is likely that their bodies are discussed in horrifying detail while we call up the sound-bites, attention-seeking, narcissistic, bullying, selfish…. And once it has started there doesn’t seem much that the object of our disgust can do except lay low and wait for the public to move onto a new target. I am as guilty as the next person as I read (although never add my voice to the throng) the latest ‘news’ which is often pulled from social networking sites as a warning that should you warrant it, the past will come back to haunt you!! Anyway I digress… I do like books that reflect the changes in our lives and technology is a big part of those changes, whereas in years gone past only those closest to someone vilified in the press were likely to add their voices to the tidal wave of condemnation, now people can comment from the other side of the word all day long. How does Emily Marr cope? What should she do?
With Emmie’s narration being told in her own words in the past and Tabby’s the story is also one of a different kind of friendship than normally portrayed in women’s fiction, here Emmie is far more secretive about her past, only giving Tabby the barest of details about her life before France despite Tabby wanting to support her friend but Tabby has a secret too and it may just cause both their lives to unravel.
An entertaining book with some really well-drawn characters from the major to the minor, recognisable, three-dimensional personalities are a must in a book where the root of the book is in their actions and Louise Candlish has proved herself extremely accomplished in creating them for our enjoyment.
I chose this out of all Louise Candlish’s previous books on the authors own kind advice following my review of The Sudden Departure of the Frasers. She was right, I loved it so I’m delighted that I chose it as one of my 20 Books of Summer 2015! Challenge.