Paula Daly was born in Lancashire. Before beginning her first novel JUST WHAT KIND OF MOTHER ARE YOU? She was a self-employed physiotherapist. She lives in the Lake District with her husband, three children and whippet Skippy. Keep Your Friends Close is her second novel.
About the book...
Natty and Sean Wainwright are happily married. Rock solid in fact. So when Natty's oldest friend, Eve Dalladay, appears - just as their daughter collapses on a school trip in France - Natty has no qualms about leaving Eve with Sean to help out at home.
Two weeks later and Natty finds Eve has slotted into family life too well. Natty's husband has fallen in love with Eve. He's sorry, he tells her, but their marriage is over.
With no option but to put a brave face on things for the sake of the children, Natty embarks on building a new life for herself.
And then she receives the note.
Eve has done this before, more than once, and with fatal consequences...
I was sent a copy of this novel by Alison Barrow, publicist for Transworld in exchange for an honest review as part of Paula Daly's Blog Tour.
Where do I begin wow!! I truly loved this book it was gripping from almost the first page, so much so that I felt bereft when it had finished. I took this book away with me for the weekend and found it difficult to put down. I hadn't read Paula's first novel but now have it on my kindle ready to devour when I know I have a free afternoon. If it's anything like this book an odd hour here and there would not suffice - I'd have to read it in one sitting.
Natty and Sean have a good life, happy home and family - everything seems just perfect, except it's not! It's easy to take your eye off the ball in a relationship when you are comfortable with each other and Sean is feeling a bit neglected - something g Natty is completely oblivious to.
When Natty has to run to the bedside of her youngest daughter who's on a school trip to France she thinks nothing of leaving her husband and eldest daughter home with her best friend Eve from Uni - big mistake.
This is a superb psychological thriller that takes us on a journey of love, hurt, anger, manipulation, trust and respect to name just a few of the emotions on display. Each of the characters were portrayed perfectly and I was fully engaged with them - I don't think I've felt such strong emotions for fictional characters in a long time.
I wanted to slap Eve, shake Sean and sit in a corner rocking with Natty. Paula's portrayal of each of them was just right - I really felt an emotional attachment to Natty and watching her shrink from being a strong, organised person with clear direction to a gibbering wreck who couldn't think beyond the next five minutes and was being so cleverly manipulated was heart breaking to read. I just wanted to take her by the shoulders and shock her into calming down so she could think clearly. I pitied Sean - how weak was he? I disliked him almost as much as I disliked Eve. As for her - 'bitch'! I really hated her! Hate isn't a good feeling and it really isn't a strong enough emotion for the way I felt about her.
This book was gripping and made for compulsive reading - I read faster and faster, always a sign of a good book. I lost myself totally in this book and the fact it was set in a location I know well added extra depth and vision to the book for me - it really brought it alive. It also made me look closely at my own relationships - do I take my husband and family for granted - probably! Don't we all! Would I leave my husband home alone with my long standing friend? Yes, I would without hesitation.
I would highly recommend this book and have done so already - thank you Paula for hooking me in so well, I've definitely found a new author whose work I shall follow closely.
I gave this book 5/5 stars
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