I received this as an Advance Review Copy from the author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This is Tina’s second novel – her first being the excellent One Step Too Far.
Also set in London, this time we meet seven women who have been ‘friends’ since their university days. For their annual reunion, they have chosen this time to have a picnic in Hyde Park on the bank of the Serpentine.
This year however, old feuds seem to have been stirred up by newer ones, and fuelled by a little too much alcohol and sunshine, the reunion descends into arguments, accusations, tears, tantrums, general chaos and eventual tragedy.
The chapters were arranged alternating between the present and various years in the past, in order to build the tension and back stories of each of the characters, until an overall picture was eventually seen.
I have to admit, I did find the full cast a little over-whelming. not only were there seven ‘main’ characters, but obviously the partners / children / families that they brought with them, and I did get a little confused occasionally as to who belonged to who, and who had done what in the past and was saying what now in the present.
And they weren’t very nice. There seemed to be a large gaping hole where all the morals should have sat!
However, Tina has again proven her ability to spin a good tale, toying with your emotions and questioning right from wrong – not everything is black and white.
It felt very ‘real’ that this group of women still felt pressured to spend time together each year when after 25 years, they had very little in common and didn’t particularly seem to like each other. I have known so many people who don’t really like some of their ‘friends’ but who continue to see them just because they always have – especially as a group!
This book could be a wake up call to some that it could be better for everyone involved to just make that break!