Source- Review copy from Headline Review (imprint of Hachette)
Synopsis: (From Goodreads) The gorgeously addictive new novel from the Sunday Times bestseller For thirty years, best friends Stephanie and Philippa have been practically inseparable. There’s nothing they would not do for one another. Until a few simple words change everything. ‘I need you to say that I was with you.’ Steph, eternally solid, considerate and dependable, is begging her best friend to lie to the police as she’s desperately trying to conceal two shocking secrets to protect her family. Pip, self-consigned to the role of scatty, frivolous hot-head is overwhelmed; she’s normally the one asking for help in a crisis although never anything as catastrophic as this. Both women have always believed that friendship is built on mutual selflessness, compromise and trust. Are those beliefs now to be tested beyond endurance?
Review: So, this is the first ‘chic lit’ novel I have picked up in a long time since my New Years Reading Resolution was to try and steer clear of this genre for awhile because the themes were becoming a little stale. But when the opportunity came up to review the latest novel by Adele Parks, About Last Night– I couldn’t resist. I have read many of her earlier titles such as Still Thinking of You, Husbands, Playing Away, Young Wives Tales and recently, Tell Me Something. (Sorry no reviews posted on my blog as these were read pre-blogging times!). I enjoyed her earlier titles but I was quite disappointed with Tell Me Something. Infidelity seems to be a common theme that runs through Adele Park’s writing, something that sometimes frustrates me in the chic lit genre.
About Last Night is written from the viewpoint of three different women, Steph the intelligent but passive housewife her best friend Pip the boisterous divorcee and Kirsten, the “other woman.”
Pip is trying to pick up the pieces after her husband ran off with another woman, leaving her to care for her daughter Chloe on her own. Steph tells herself how lucky she is to have such a big house, no pressing need to work, three well behaved children and a husband dedicated to providing for his family. Just when Pip’s life is starting to pick up after meeting hunky nurse Robbie, Steph uncovers a secret that will change the fate of her marriage forever. Only, Steph has been keeping her own secrets which she will do anything to keep hidden. I must admit, reading the earlier chapters of Kirsten was really irritating, she’s a 22 year old ditz who dates rich married men so that she can get new clothing. She’s very shallow and her voice seemd a lot younger than a woman in her early twenties which I think was meant to be the point.
The majority of the novel was told in past tense, so the characters were reflecting on memories and sometimes the present situation lost momentum. For example Steph would say something to Pip and then she would have an inner monologue about a memory pertaining to their conversation. Sometimes this went on for a page or two when it could have been much shorter. Although this gave a lot of backstory to the plot it also meant that I was told by the authors about these characters rather than being shown them and allowed to experience them myself. In saying that About Last Night had a very different spin than some of her previous novels and it does make the reader question relationships, friendships, losses and mistakes in life. Overall, Parks newest novel is an easy read with characters who aren’t all they seem and is an enjoyable way to spend a few hours.
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