Today it is my pleasure to publish a review and also show a guest post from the author. I will let you read about Natalie’s favourite books first, we have similar tastes, and then tell you what I thought of the book.
I had to think hard about my favourite reads. Fortunately I was expelled from a Cult in my early teens when things began to take on a sinister take. After a lapse in my own mental health, I was eventually placed in a normal school and it was then that I discovered books! With hindsight, I can see that the books I loved usually contained a darkness, a twist, a kink. I repeatedly devoured Roald Dahl’s Switch Bitch and Kiss Kiss, any Daphne du Maurier book – My Cousin Rachel, Rebecca, The Birds, Jamaica Inn; I was delightfully shocked by Brett Easton Ellis’ American Psycho and John Irving’s Hotel New Hampshire where the protagonist spent a day in bed with his sister (very Greek tragedy). I loved Martin Amis. And Jenny Diski really opened my eyes! On a lighter note, I also enjoyed Elizabeth Jane Howard’s family sagas. A quote of hers stuck with me for many years: ‘I can either write or be in love, but I can’t do both at the same time.’
As an adult I have recently been catching up on classics I never read and my new favourite book of all time is Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. I’m not normally a fan of science fiction but I just LOVED it. His prescience is astonishing. And he writes with such simplicity and humour.
My favourite writers are Julian Barnes, Jonathan Franzen, Hilary Mantel, William Boyd, Margaret Atwood, Anne Tyler and I’ll read anything at all by Dorothy Parker. And I know it sounds pretentious but surely the best book in the world has to be War and Peace because Tolstoy lets you play God, loving the characters for their faults as much as for their virtues (although I must add, were he with my agent, the last 50 pages would have had a red line drawn through them).
The last 2 books I have read and thoroughly enjoyed are John Boyne’s A Ladder to the Sky and Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.
About The Book
For fans of THE GIRLFRIEND and THE WIFE BETWEEN US, TOO CLOSE is a twisting tale of friendship and betrayal.
How close is too close?
Connie and Ness met in the park while their children played. As they talked, they realised they were neighbours. Perhaps it was only natural that they and their families would become entirely inseparable.
But when Ness’s marriage ends in a bitter divorce, she is suddenly at Connie’s house all the time. Connie doesn’t have a moment to herself, no time alone with her husband, not a second to chat to her kids.
It’s all too much. Something has to give.
Connie has woken up in a psychiatric hospital. They say she committed a terrible crime but she says she can’t remember a thing.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Too Close wasn’t what I expected it to be. This isn’t a bad thing, because it is different to many other thrillers that I have read this year. It is crime fiction but it is approached differently. You see the thoughts of Connie who has been accused and judged by everybody. You also get to see what her psychiatrist is going through and I can understand fully why their friendship started. You also get to read Connie’s daughter Annie’s diary which added some humour to the narrative. Innocence is so lovely to read in a novel that at times could be upsetting.
The crime Connie has committed is a terrible one, but apart from a brief moment fairly early you are not aware of the details until the end. It’s only a small part of the novel. Instead the focus is on what led to it, the emotion, betrayal and from those she loves and the jealousy that she feels. You see the lack of help from those who should do more and the devastating loss of somebody very close. But you also saw her bizarre friendship with Sita, something I could visualise clearly and loved the description of.
You also get to know her psychiatrist Emma and how she dealt or otherwise with her own issues. Strangely I found her harder to warm to, it’s a strange feeling to feel more empathy with the accused rather than the one who was trying to understand. I admired the way she dealt with the way her patient was regarded by her friends and wondered if this was how many who worked in similar situations felt.
It’s clever, a book that you really need to concentrate on to understand the feelings behind the actions. It is crime fiction but unlike many others it concentrates on what lead up to the event. I found it fascinating, often sad, often chilling but also glimpses of humour.