I’m back again with another review (July/August are manic months at work, with lots of travelling which means lots of reading, not so much writing). This one is a different genre, in fact, it doesn’t really seem quite certain what genre it is, categorised on Amazon as ‘contemporary’, ‘friendship’, and ‘humour and satire’. It was gently humorous at times, I’ll agree, but it certainly defies easy classification.
Here’s the blurb:
Obsessive-compulsive school mum, Skye, is a lonely elite spy, who is running from her past whilst trying to protect the future of her child. She tries hard to fit in with the other parents at her son’s new school, but the only person who accepts her unconventional way of life is new mother, Thea.
Thea is feeling harassed by her sister and bored with her life, but she suspects that there is something strange about the new school mum, Skye. Thea has secrets of her own and, although the two become unlikely friends, she hesitates to tell Skye about the father of her own child.
Zack’s new business is growing faster than he could have dreamed but, suddenly, he finds himself the owner of a crumbling estate on the edge of a pretty village, and a single parent to a very demanding child. Could he make a go of things and give his daughter the life she deserved?
When three lives collide, it appears that only one of them is who they seem to be, and you never know who the person next to you in the school playground really is.
Obsessive-compulsive school mum, Skye, is hiding a big secret. She’s trying to carve out a normal life for the sake of her son, but it doesn’t come easy after years on the run. When she dares to make a friend, it turns out Thea has secrets of her own. And then there is Zack, the ruggedly handsome and super intelligent (not to mention rich) single father who owns the estate where Skye rents a cottage.
I was drawn to this book by the title, blurb and the cover, and found it a strangely compelling read, despite how slow the plot is to develop. The characters drew me in, which is pretty impressive considering I’m not very child-oriented, and a lot of the first third is about school and kids and dealing with a bully. I did spend a lot of the first third wondering where the Ninja spy bit fitted into what seemed to be a small village school story.
Once the backstories of the various players start coming out, the depth of the book increases dramatically, and I really wanted to know how these threads would resolve. The hint of a threat here and there is just enough to keep stoking an edge of tension, though if it had appeared earlier in the book it might have been better.
The writing is a naïve style, often using asides and slang from everyday language, but not the sort of thing one usually puts into a book. I found this at time refreshing (when it injected humour) and at times irritating. I also had an issue with the over-use of past perfect tense (‘she had had an experience’, for example) – not because of incorrect use, but because there was often no reason to use it, and distanced the reading experience from the action. My biggest bugbear was the pivotal scene where two of the characters finally get it together, and it’s all reported in past perfect! I wanted immediate! It would have had so much more impact in good old past tense.
I certainly didn’t see the twist coming, and I felt both impressed and a bit cheated by the way it had been concealed. Nor did I expect an ending that barely resolves anything, although it does explain it. Perhaps this is a good thing, because it was as messy and open-ended as real-life often is with such complicated relationships, I was just a bit surprised as I’d expected a neat wrap up.
Overall, I feel it has good potential but could really do with a serious amount of copy editing to turn it into the book it deserves to be.
If you want to take a look, you can find it on Amazon HERE
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I won’t be allowing this to compromise the honesty of my reviews!