Saturday 19 January 2013

Book review : Stay Close To Me - Helen Warner

*** Don't miss my giveaway where you can win a signed copy of the book ***

I've just finished reading Helen Warner's IOU, a book that was published last year in hardback and that is about to be relaunched in paperback with a new look and a new title, Stay Close To Me. It seemed a bit strange to me to repackage a book but, having read it, I have to agree that the original title and cover didn't really reflect the story within as well. I'm still not really sure what the IOU refers to, either in the title or the final page of the novel !

The story follows the imperfect lives and loves of three women, sisters Amy and Kate and their mum Jennifer. Rather than being a family drama which deals with their intertwined destinies, the novel focuses on their separate and largely secret lives – their inner turmoil, their past loves and the skeletons in their closets.

Amy is a carefree « lady who lunches » married to a rich businessman and with nothing more to worry about than where to put her newest pair of Louboutins and what the live-in nanny is cooking for her children for lunch. Then her husband's business fails and her whole world comes crashing down. At the other extreme, Kate is a busy working mum, happily married to the reliable (but rather boring) Miles. When she crashes her car in a supermarket car park, the dashing knight in shining armour who comes to her aid leaves her wondering if there's actually more to life than what her current situation offers. Then there's Jennifer, Amy and Kate's mum, a widow who lost the love of her life two years ago and is coming to terms with the idea of rekindling something with « the one that got away » all those years ago.

The grass is always greener on the other side, but all three of these women end up asking themselves if pastures new would really make them happy or whether they wouldn't be better off with the life they already have. Anyone who has ever had a moment's doubt about the direction their life is heading in will be able to really relate to all three of the characters.

Some of the coincidences in the plot are a bit unlikely but overall the book is quite realistic, offering a touching and poignant portrayal of the three central characters' inner turmoil. Fans of Desperate Housewives who are trying to find something else to get their teeth into since the series finished are likely to really enjoy it. I thought it was a great read but the structure was similar to Helen's d├ębut novel, RSVP, so I'm hoping she'll change the format for her next novel.

star rating : 4/5

RRP : £5.99

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (31 Jan 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 1849832951
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849832953

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Book review : The First Last Kiss - Ali Harris

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