Have you met them yet, the new couple?
When Gav and Lou move into the house next door, Sara spends days plucking up courage to say hello. The neighbours are glamorous, chaotic and just a little eccentric. They make the rest of Sara’s street seem dull by comparison.
When the hand of friendship is extended, Sara is delighted and flattered. Incredibly, Gav and Lou seem to see something in Sara and Neil that they admire too. In no time at all, the two couples are soulmates, sharing suppers, bottles of red wine and childcare, laughing and trading stories and secrets late into the night in one another’s houses.
And the more time Sara spends with Gav and Lou, the more she longs to make changes in her own life. But those changes will come at a price. Soon Gav and Lou will be asking things they’ve no right to ask of their neighbours, with shattering consequences for all of them…
Whose side are you on?
From this synopsis of this book, you imagine this is going to be a bit dark and a bit twisty, but it’s not. It’s simply a domestic thriller about people with a lot of money and connections in high up places flirting, changing life paths and having resentments. I understand that this was a novel about middle-class suburban life, which can be dull, but why did nothing happen? “But those changes will come at a price.“ I’m sorry, but I must have missed something… What changes? What price?
I didn’t like the way this was set out, and maybe that’s because it was an ARC copy, but this was really choppy and changey, with no indication that a longish time period (a few hours to a whole afternoon) had passed. The writing was fine, I have no faults with that, but it wasn’t anything special.
There are four main characters in this book. Sara and Neil and Lou and Gavin. While each of the characters were well developed and in depth, it didn’t stop them from being lacklustre and 2D. I couldn’t connect with any of them on a personal level. Even though I would get annoyed at certain things Lou said or did, I wasn’t getting annoyed on Sara’s behalf, because I thought Sara was whiny and she got on my nerves too.
One of my issues with this book, other than it being boring as heck, was the pretentious conversations going on, all the time. I know this book was a satire piece on the middle class, I get it, but don’t bore us to death with long conversations that are eye rollingly posh and uninteresting. You can create a satire piece without making your readers fall asleep. There is very little description in this book, you’ll find that 80% of all the writing is speech, so it really did my head in after a while.
Now, this point is completely down to personal preference, but another reason I couldn’t get on with this book was because of all the out-of-marriage flirting. It makes me really uncomfortable and squirmy reading that kind of stuff, so, since it was heavily featured in this, I disliked the book even more.
This is going to be a controversial book in terms of opinions, most definitely, and it would probably be a great book to read for a discussion, because you’d have lots of differing opinions on the characters, but, here’s my two-cents:
Ultimately, this novel is a story about over indulged middle class suburban families doing things a little bit “risky” like sex in a tent or smoking weed, and worrying about things only unrealistic well-off people could worry about, like home-schooling and arts and crafts. Not worth the time it takes to read.
Thanks to Netgalley and HQ for giving me the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.