HQ Stories 12th July 2018
Everyone remembers where they were on 31st August 1997, the day Princess Diana died.
Sophie, Emily, Amy and Melissa certainly do – a beautiful cottage in Southwold, at the start of an annual tradition to have a weekend away together.
Every year since, the four best friends have come back together. But over time the changes in their lives have led them down very different paths. And it’s when those paths collide that the secrets they’ve been keeping come tumbling out.
Told over 15 years of friendship this story follows Sophie, Emily, Amy and Melissa through life’s ups and downs. Their friendship, established at university being the common thread combined with their commitment to a ‘girls weekend’ every summer. Told beautifully over these 15 weekends away we catch up with the girls and using a then and now format, the author cleverly reveals the happenings of the previous 12 months. From my perspective there was a bias towards Sophie’s character with her being central but I am uncertain whether objectively this is the case or simply my own reading experience.
A book about women and a book about friendship, condensed into snapshots of life with some absolute trials along the way. The plot for this book was very strong, with the author successfully creating a group of highly engaging and likeable women all of whom are flawed. Reminiscent of the writing of One Day by David Nicolls, I found myself gripped, enthralled by the stories and keen to find out what the next year held for this group. There were some cliff hangers in this book as through the annual contact of the women we learnt of their plans and what they hoped the future held for them.
To be clear, this is a close knit group of women, with careers and families of their own. While they do see each other more frequently the story is told through the lens of the weekend away. As in life, not everything is always smooth running and there are some difficult and sad aspects of life contained in the pages of this book. The friendships are tested and there are secrets and lies in the mix. This is a study of women progressing through adulthood and in these four women a plethora of experiences are captured.
Told entirely in the third person and with a focus on different aspects of the women’s lives, the reader does not know everything, it depends on whose story is being told and from whose view at any given time. This book continually kept me guessing, I thoroughly enjoyed the entire reading experience and sitting back writing this makes me appreciate the complexity of writing a book such as this. Highly recommended by me.
Thanks to HQ Stories for my copy of this book and thanks as always for reading.