This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
When I read the blurb, I had the idea that this was a romantic suspense with some serious character development which sounded good. Once I got into the story, it wasn’t exactly what I imagined, but it wasn’t a let-down either. I just had to readjust so I could appreciate the story that I was reading. It turned out to be more chick lit with a light amount of romantic suspense as it was a woman’s personal life journey with her former friend’s inexplicable death as the catalyst.
The story opens with Olivia Berrington, a thirty-something career woman sharing a flat with her male best friend and secret crush, learning that her long ago college best friend has died in a car accident. It’s devastating for her because contrary to all that she feels about the past dealings between them, she never got closure on that precious relationship and she feels the loss keenly. She is left as confused as ever when she attends the funeral and learns from Sally’s husband that she named her daughter after Livvy and then things are said at the funeral by a few people that make her wonder if Sally’s death is as accidental as it seems. The insurance company sure doesn’t think so.
Livvy’s mind goes back over her past with Sally beginning with when they meet, traversing through their mercurial friendship, the affect Sally has on Livvy as Livvy comes of age, and then the final heart-rending end of everything they had.
Livvy seems to know Sally better than anyone with the exception of Sally’s buttoned-up husband, William, and her anger, hurting daughter, Madeleine who speaks of Sally’s secret place. Livvy spends time with William and his daughter and feelings that shouldn’t be there start to develop along with the guilt for feeling them. William is so overwhelmed dealing with his grief, Madeleine’s grief, the insurance investigation into Sally’s death and yet he seems taken with Livvy too.
Livvy’s life went from being almost mundane to now she’s fighting for the right to handle a big project at work, she has sparked some the attention she long craved from James, her friend, but now she has added in all that is going on including her thing with William that center’s around Sally. Livvy decides that she must determine what happened to Sally not just for her own sake, but for the others left behind too.
This story was told first person from Olivia’s perspective and flipped back and forth between the present and the past. This made it a bit choppy, but not too hard to navigate. It wasn’t a fast-paced piece nor very flashy really. There is some angst and it really is about her getting to a place where she can finally live and be happy. And yes, this does involve a bit of passion and romance.
As to the main character, Olivia is just an ordinary woman who happened to have a friendship in university with a charismatic yet unstable woman and she has carried a lifelong crush on a guy who only sees her as a friend. Her family is there for her including an older sister who is salt of the earth. Her divorced parents and their very different perspectives on life make things interesting. Olivia is pretty much just existing until Sally’s death forces her to really take a look at her life. In the midst of the change, she does have some less assertive moments as do the men in her life. I found these personality types an interesting change since I read a lot about alpha heroes and heroines. Her introspection, actions and thoughts were easy and engaging to follow along with as she told the story.
I was expecting a bit more thrillerish and suspenseful stuff and the mystery of Sally’s death and the situation was easy for me to figure out, but yet I still enjoyed the story just for a different reason. I liked the author’s style so I would definitely pick up another of her books. As to whom this is for, chick lit, women’s fiction, romantic suspense and contemporary romance lovers would all potentially like this one.
My thanks to Quercus and Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.