Little Friends by Jane Shemilt Michael Joseph February 20th 2020
Their children are friends first. They hit it off immediately, as kids do. And so the parents are forced to get to know each other. Three wildly different couples. Three marriages, floundering.
There are barbecues, dinner parties, a holiday in Greece. An affair begins, resentments flare, and despite it all the three women become closer.
Unnoticed their children run wild. The couples are so busy watching each other that they forget to watch their children. Until tragedy strikes.
Because while they have been looking the other way, evil has crept into their safe little world and every parent’s biggest nightmare is about to come true…
Little Friends was one of those novels where you had to just sit down, get comfortable, turn off your phone and read.
It was fast, immersive and more than compelling. It’s themes, our all time favourite, families and what happened when three families came together, the lines blurred, the consequences devastating, the fractures deep and wide.
Eve, Grace and Melissa, the mother’s, the wives were our voices as they navigated us through their lives. Eve, the earth mother, determined her children would have the freedom she never had. Grace, married to an author with writers block, who worked all hours to support her family, frightened of the shadows that lingered around their block of flats. Melissa, wealthy, lost in a family where her daughter ignored her and her husband used her as a punch bag.
Their lives became entwined as like moths to the light they centred around Eve, her chaotic free house, the children liberated as they played their games in the gardens and woods.
We all know that life could never be so idyllic and Shemilt’s ideal did not last long! She drew our attention to the adults as they immersed themselves in their own troubles, their own needs, lulled them into a false sense of security and in the background danger lurked in the most unexpected place. As the reader you could see it happening, like watching a movie as the characters hurtled towards a mass collision, powerless to do anything about it.
Shemilt cleverly interspersed her narrative with snippets of the group of children being led down a dark path, the ring leaders power burrowing deep into their psyche without them realising. You wanted to scream at the adults to open their eyes, as tragedy struck, as their own failings emerged into the light.
Through Eve, Grace and Melissa, Shemilt showed us the frailties of human nature, of how we hide feelings and the truth, not only from others but also ourselves. As truths emerged you could see them push their way into the light, their priorities changed, the spotlight on them and their failings.
The husbands played their part but there were almost secondary, tools Shemilt used to show how women often conform to stereotype, feel trapped, the glue that holds the family together. It was only when the women liberated themselves from those constraints that they could see a future, could forgive each other and ultimately hold on to what was important, their friendship, a strong unit to protect themselves and their children.
A great read, perfect for these rainy, windy days!
I would like to thank Michael Joseph for a copy of Little Friends to read and review and to Sriya for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author