They thought he belonged safely in the past. His return threatens everything.
Marta, Carrie and Jane have been friends since they were at school in Edinburgh. Now one is bringing up her family, another is desperately trying for children of her own, and the third is focused on her career – and each takes the support of the others as a given.
But when generous Marta offers out-of-luck actor Tom temporary shelter, her act of kindness sets in motion a tsunami of destruction. Marta’s marriage comes under threat. Timid Jane is haunted by the secret she has been hiding since she last saw Tom. And ambitious Carrie finds herself at the mercy of a man who can ruin her career.
Only by pulling together can the friends rid themselves of this menace. But is Tom too clever at sowing mistrust?
Between Friends by Jenny Harper was a book that had caught my eye before I signed up for the blog tour with Brook Cottage Books. Published by Accent Press on 11th February, and available through Amazon in the UK and US, it exceeded my already high expectations – I loved it.
The friendship between Marta, Carrie and Jane is quite mesmerising – fraught with all the ups and downs, positives and negatives, highs and lows, twists and turns that all relationships have. They are three very different characters, each one equally real and (mostly) equally likeable. I was particularly fond of Carrie, ambitious and self-sufficient, hard and brittle, living the life that she thinks she wants, only to discover that it may not be the life she wants after all – but moving on can be difficult. I don’t have a maternal bone in my body, but if anyone was born to be a mother it’s Marta – warm, loving, emotional, impulsive, and totally wonderful. And then there’s Jane – the one who actually is a mother, but struggles with it for all sorts of heartbreaking reasons.
When Tom re-enters their world, their friendship begins to fall apart, and we watch in absolute fascination as the story plays out. He is a total monster – quite over the top really, but wonderfully drawn and totally believable – whose actions frequently had me gasping. The characterisation in this novel is absolutely excellent – this isn’t a book you simply read, it’s a book you feel, and when the friends hurt, you hurt too.
It’s a novel with big themes – love, friendship, honesty, standards of right and wrong, loyalty, forgiveness, retribution – but it’s also an excellent story that has you gripped throughout as you explore the characters, their relationships and their lives past and present. The author writes quite wonderfully – an easy flowing style that draws you in, and keeps you reading. She really is a very gifted story teller. And there are images in this book that will stay with me for a long while – some funny, some shocking, some totally heartbreaking.
I plan to read more by Jenny Harper – I really enjoyed this one, and I’m rather kicking myself that I haven’t discovered her before.
With thanks to Brook Cottage Books and the author, I’m delighted to offer the chance to win a first prize of a brooch (significance clear when you read the book!) and a paperback copy of this lovely book. Second prize is two e-copies. Here’s the rafflecopter for entry:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Jenny Harper lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, though she was born in India and grew up in England. She has been a non-fiction editor, a journalist and a businesswoman and has written a children’s novel and several books about Scotland, as well as four full length novels and a novella in The Heartlands series (set in Hailesbank), and two short stories that have appeared in anthologies. Between Friends is her fifth full length novel.
Jenny writes contemporary women’s fiction with bite – complex characters facing serious issues.
What they say:
‘An engaging and delightful read. Jenny Harper is a most gifted storyteller.’ Alexander McCall Smith
‘Page turning and thoroughly entertaining. I loved it!’ Katie Fforde
‘The most beautiful love story that I have read in a long while.’ Amazon review of People We Love
‘This was a fun, heart-warming but also emotional story that had me thinking about the characters long after I’d finished it.’ Amazon review of Maximum Exposure
‘Ms. Harper has created a fully populated, very human and recognizable world.’ Amazon review of Face the Wind and Fly
‘There is everything I like about a novel in her writing: family, relationships, current affairs … things the author seems well versed in. I loved the Scottish settings, and could visualise many of the locations in the book …’ Amazon review of Loving Susie