Review – Skeletons by Jane Fallon

By | April 21, 2014

Jen has discovered a secret. It’s not hers to share, but is it hers to keep?

If she tells her husband Jason, he might get over the shock but will he forgive her for telling the truth? She might drive a wedge through their marriage.

If she tells someone else in Jason’s family – the family she’s come to love more than her own – she’d not only tear them apart but could also find herself on the outside: she’s never really been one of them, after all.

But if she keeps this dirty little secret to herself, how long can she pretend nothing is wrong? How long can she live a lie?

Jen knows the truth – but is she ready for the consequences?

This seems to be my week for saying “I haven’t picked up a book by (insert name) in ages”, but here’s another!  I remember reading and really enjoying Jane Fallon’s first book Getting Rid of Matthew. Her latest, Skeletons, published on 27 March by Penguin (available in paperback and for Kindle), is her fifth – so I have a little catching up to do.

Jen’s relationship with her mother leaves a lot to be desired, and she loves being part of husband Jason’s large and chaotic family with the Sunday dinners and the easy friendship with his lively sister. Her two daughters have now left home – Jen’s marriage is solid and comfortable, but until now all their energies have been focused on the girls and perhaps things are starting to creak a little. Things go haywire when Jen finds out a family secret and decides not to share it – and the situation, and the way she finally reveals the secret, has major repercussions on her life.

Some readers found Jen difficult to like – but I thought the author drew her well, and while I might not have made the decisions she did, her motivation was wholly believable and she both held my interest and kept my sympathy.  Husband Jason though could have done with a little more personality – his drifting with the flow, mostly in the background, made him less engaging because we never really knew him as well.  The key scenes in the book are very well done – we share Jen’s horror and search for an explanation when the secret is discovered, and the big revelation is quite excellent, quite compelling and rather like watching a car crash. And the ending, and the way the story works itself through, made for a really satisfying read.  It’s relatively light – a good one for the sun lounger this summer – but the issues it raises gave it that bit more depth that I always look for in my reading.  I’m pleased to have rediscovered Jane Fallon’s writing.

Jane Fallon is the multi-award-winning television producer behind shows such as This Life, Teachers and 20 Things to Do before You’re 30. Her debut novel Getting Rid of Matthew was published in 2007 and became a Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller as have her 3 subsequent books Got You Back, Foursome and The Ugly Sister. She has been in a relationship with popular comedian Ricky Gervais since 1982, after they met while studying together at the University College London. The couple has lived together since 1984 and are based in North London. They own a cat called Ollie. 

My thanks to netgalley and publishers Penguin for my advance reading e-copy.