AUTHOR: TINA SESKIS
Pages: 384 (paperback)
Details: Received from Kirk Parolles
Own / Kindle
“Seven old friends. One annual reunion. Countless feuds. How do friends stay friends for more than 25 years when there's so much to feel aggrieved about, such a tangle of lingering resentments? So when their picnic in the park goes horribly wrong and one of them ends up in The Serpentine, who knows what really happened? And just what secrets from the past are about to unfold, changing everyone's lives forever?”
“The evening was set to be balmy, perfect for a picnic, even one destined to end in disaster.”
This quote perfectly describes the feel of this book. The story is told in a mellow and gentle tone with a constant threat of doom lingering underneath.
Seven women, Juliette, Camilla, Siobhan, Sissy, JoAnne, Katie and Natasha met and became close friends while in college in Bristol. Seven very different women with different personalities, backgrounds, insecurities, hopes and dreams found each other and became a close knit group of friends.
Twenty-five years later a lot of things have changed. The seven women all lead different lives, have all experienced their own ups and downs and really don’t have a whole lot in common anymore. Issues have sprung up between them, some having their origins in the years they spent in college and some developed over the subsequent years. Little lies told, small resentments clung to as well as secrets kept have festered into bigger issues over the years until they’ve now reached boiling point. None of the seven, formerly close, friends thinks meeting for this picnic is a good idea but with each of them reluctant to be the one to put the final nail in the coffin of their friendship, they all turn up.
By the time the evening is over one of them is missing and all of them wish they had stayed away from the park that night. Lives are about to be changed irrevocably and long held secrets will be uncovered. The picnic will be a turning point in the life of each of these women.
This is a heartbreaking and realistic story about friendship and relationships and how they change over time. It shows how slights and mistakes that may seem small at the time can have enormous repercussions later on in life. Secrets are kept and fester until they have grown too big to be controlled.
Earlier this year I read "One Step Too Far" by this author and was really impressed by Tina Seskis’ ability keep her readers guessing while telling a fascinating story. I have to say she does the same thing even better in this book; she is very good at keeping the suspense and secrets alive without giving the reader the feeling that she’s actually withholding information. She builds the revelation of what is actually going on with the various characters from the very start of the book until the very last word on the very last page. At various points throughout this book I felt that I knew what was going on, only to be surprised by an unexpected twist.
Seskis’ writing is smooth and the story almost too easy to read. She draws you in with her words and her characters, giving the reader a false sense of security only to rock their perceptions as the secrets are slowly uncovered leading to an ending that is both heartbreaking and shocking, although not necessarily for the reasons you would expect.
One word of warning though; it is important for the reader to pay close attention while reading this book. There are a lot of characters in this book, and the list grows as their lives progress. Read this book too fast and you’ll lose track of who is connected to, or has issues with, whom. And because of the tension that lies just underneath the surface, the need to race through the story in order to find out what exactly is, and has been, going on is at times almost impossible to ignore.
This is an original page-turner with a clever and intriguing story written by an author who I expect will continue to pleasantly surprise her readers in years to come.