June 3, 2019

Book Review: The Friend by Teresa Driscoll

On a train with her husband, miles from home and their four-year-old son, Ben, Sophie receives a chilling phone call. Two boys are in hospital after a tragic accident. One of them is Ben.

She thought she could trust Emma, her new friend, to look after her little boy. After all, Emma’s a kindred spirit—someone Sophie was sure she could bare her soul to, despite the village rumours. But Sophie can’t shake the feeling that she’s made an unforgivable mistake and now her whole family is in danger.

Because how well does she know Emma, really? Should she have trusted her at all?

Time is running out. Powerless to help her child, still hours from home, Sophie is about to discover the truth. And her life will never be the same.

I will admit that my biggest issue with this book are the time jumps.  It goes from past to present.  Past as in a few months before or weeks before. Present as in right now or earlier in the day.  But even then they are not arranged chronologically.  To further complicate matters, the POV alternates between a handful of characters. Most of the chapters are from Sophie's POV, but the rest are split among her husband, a private investigator, one of her friends, and a detective.  The chapters are helpfully marked with "BEFORE" and "TODAY" (with time stamps).  I understand what the author was trying to do - heightening the suspense by contrasting the chaos of the present with the incremental revelations of the past. However, my overall experience was one of disorientation.  

My second biggest issue was with Sophie herself.  For most of the chapters, I found her to be a bit obtuse and annoying.  But that did change by the end and I was very much rooting for her.

All my issues went by the wayside by the time I got to the last third of the book.  The author's assured writing style promised that I would be rewarded and I certainly was by the last chapters.  Twist after twist took me by surprise and I could not turn the pages faster. Ultimately, a satisfying read.

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