This book was just what I needed in the post-Christmas haze, a story of revenge played out in exquisite detail between Amy and her best friend Mel.
Jane Fallon has the knack of making what could be a flat tale of a friendship gone wrong into one where I genuinely cared about some of the characters, a book that made me wish that some of the lovely people that surround Amy were in my life too, although I have to say I’d give Mel a miss.
Amy and Mel grew up in a small village near Maidenhead in Buckinghamshire, best friends since the age of eleven when Mel offered the hand of friendship which Amy grasped willingly. Mel, even at that age knew she was going to be famous and the fabulous caricature which is Sylvia, ensures that she is turned out for any auditions with ringlets in her hair and blue eye-shadow pasted to her eyelids. Amy stayed in the background and decides to go to university to study history but the girl’s friendship is too strong for the separation to lead to a cooling of their relationship.
When we first meet her Amy returns from working in America for a surprise visit. She heads for her flat that she shares with her fiancé Jack to prepare for Mel’s fortieth birthday party. Surprised (understatement intended) to find another woman’s belongings in her home, complete with toiletries in the bathroom, she determines to find out who they belong to.
The scenes are set with just enough drama to be entertaining without over-egging the pudding which could tip them into farce. Amy has decided not to confront Jack with what she knows until she has made a plan, and for anyone who has for whatever reason, had to be evasive with the people they are closest to, will recognise the awkwardness this quickly causes.
Most of the story is told from Amy’s perspective interspersed with the girl’s back-story of the long friendship which adds depth to the narrative in the present time as Amy decides to get down and dirty to get her own back. Later on we get some input from Mel herself, something that threw me at first as I didn’t see it coming, but was well worth it as we see the set up some action which plays out like a slow-motion car crash.
As is usual in this domestic noir type story there is a romance, friends that go above and beyond the call of duty. The problems of living on the outskirts of North London, the cost of rent, the lack of fashionable shops and the trek to get anywhere useful are all dotted through the narrative thus appealing to all those commuters that will probably see this book advertised on the tube. With guest appearances by a cat, a seventies rug and a various assortment of furniture, this book is sure to appeal all of us who want to believe that life doesn’t end when a relationship does.
I love a bit of fun and frippery, Jane Fallon has the ability to make me chuckle and wince in the space of a page but even the revenge planned and executed isn’t nasty with a capital N. In my opinion those who wronged Amy got everything they deserved!
I’d like to say a big thank you to one of my favourite publishers, Penguin UK who allowed me to read a copy of Faking Friends ahead of publication on 11 January 2018.