Title: The Friend
Author: Dorothy Koomson
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK
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…
This is an absorbing, intriguing novel which centers largely around friendship, betrayal and secrets… lots of secrets!
The characters really make this novel; Dorothy Koomson has created a varied and interesting cast of people, all with their own problems and worries, and so as the reader I couldn’t help but find myself caring about some of them. There are a lot of names and relationships to get to grips with, especially at the start when the narrative suddenly switches between people, but before long they became almost well-known to me.
I really liked main character Cece and felt for her as time went on, as well as some of the other women, but there was one person who really seemed to be the worst – I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, but it will soon become apparent! There’s people you feel you can get behind, others that I really disliked, and the slightly slower-moving pace means you find yourself really engrossed in their lives.
It’s not an all-action, hugely suspenseful novel; the mystery about what happened to Yvonne is almost secondary to the stories each person has and the way their relationships and friendships are affected by certain lasting actions.I personally really enjoyed the element of mystery in this novel, as it kept it the story on the right track; it felt like we were going somewhere, and I am a reader that can easily get distracted or disengaged if it feels like there’s no real journey in a story – not at all the case in The Friend, I’m pleased to say.
I absolutely loved The Ice Cream Girls (also by Dorothy Koomson) and have had That Girl From Nowhere on my ‘to read’ list for ages, so I jumped at the chance to review The Friend. I can say, for fans of this author or any new readers, this is well worth a read. It’s fairly long at almost 500 pages, so prepare to settle in for this one and don’t expect a quick read, but it’s worth the wait – a great mix of character development, tension, and mystery.
Many thanks to Random House UK for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.