Strictly Between Us by Jane Fallon
Publisher: Penguin UK – Michael Joseph
Publishing Date: 14th January 2016
Source: Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!
Genre: General Fiction (Adult)
Tamsin and Michelle have been inseparable since childhood. Even now they spend all their time together, along with Patrick, Michelle’s handsome husband.
Except Tamsin’s brilliant assistant Bea (without whom Tamsin’s life would fall apart) has heard a nasty rumour that Patrick is playing away. Determined to uncover the truth, Tamsin devises a honey-trap to test his resolve, using Bea as bait. But she never counted on Bea having her own agenda . . .
Struggling to untangle the web of deceit, Patrick seems to be constantly one step ahead. Can Tamsin reveal the truth to Michelle without ruining everyone’s life along the way?
Well, really, can somebody explain to me how come I’ve never read any Jane Fallon’s novels before? I am so impressed with Strictly Between Us that I am absolutely going to treat myself to her previous books – quickly!
I immediately felt like a part of the book, like the part of Tamsin’s world – the story was mostly told from Tamsin’s point of view, especially at the beginning, and then the author allows all the other significant characters to speak – and this is the moment (the beginning of part 2) where the book truly took off, gained incredible speed and I couldn’t put it down. Through the first person narration I felt as if the tale was told directly to me, and only me, and thanks to this way of narration I was able to learn the deepest thoughts of the characters, their own points of view and the way they were perceiving the same situations.
I can’t write much in this review, as this book is so written that by slipping one unwary word I’d let you know the whole plot, so no way! But let me just tell you that you are going to be totally surprised, and that everything will look different, that you’ll change your mind about the characters lots of times! The only person that I disliked from the beginning and didn’t change my opinion about was Patrick – he was false, arrogant and just the type that you just want to slap hard. Altogether the characters were fantastic, true to life, behaving like real people, full of flaws, making mistakes and then trying to make up for those mistakes, usually only getting caught in the tangle of lies.
I am not judging the characters, I am only prizing the way the author has made them complex and genuine in their actions, and how she complicated their lives. I am always full of prizes for authors who choose the most difficult ways for their characters, who are not afraid to ask uncomfortable questions and who put the characters in very awkward, controversial positions, and are still able to pull everything off , to write a story that ends in a satisfying way – it must be the hardest job, and yet Jane Fallon has done it brilliantly. I am still impressed with all the twists in this novel, all the unexpected turns, and the way the plot has taken, taking me more than once, twice, hundred times by surprise, catching me off – guard and totally blind – siding me at the end of Part One.
This book has a brilliant and controversial plot, exploring friendship and relationships, and to what lengths we are able to go to protect our friends, and how long is it by rights protection? It was incredibly quickly paced, and you really can’t be sure what’s going to happen when you turn the page. And the ending! Oh my word, the end! I would never guess it, and I felt so, so sorry for Tamsin!
I think the reader shouldn’t judge the characters and just go with the flow. The book is full of cheating, lying and dishonesty, and normally those are things that we say WTF? But this novel is written in such a brilliant way, believe me, that even with all those things you can fell for the characters, you can cheer them on or you want them to be severely punished. I think the most important thing is that we don’t have to agree with the things the characters make, with their decisions, and yet we still agree with them. Even though their decisions were controversial, I found myself really getting them and supporting them.
So really, all in all Strictly Between Us can be seen as a comedy of errors, very easy to read and – as it starts rolling – unputdownable. It was a truly thought – provoking, plot – driven story with a confident voice – recommended!