I Invited Her In by Adele Parks
Publishing Date: 20th September 2018
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!
Number of pages: 384
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Women’s Fiction
A gripping story of friendship and betrayal from international best-selling author Adele Parks
‘I invited her in… and she took everything.’
When Mel hears from a long-lost friend in need of help, she doesn’t hesitate to invite her to stay. Mel and Abi were best friends back in the day, sharing the highs and lows of student life, until Mel’s unplanned pregnancy made her drop out of her studies.
Now, seventeen years later, Mel and Abi’s lives couldn’t be more different. Mel is happily married, having raised her son on her own before meeting her husband, Ben. Now they share gorgeous girls and have a chaotic but happy family home, with three children.
Abi, meanwhile, followed her lover to LA for a glamorous life of parties, celebrity and indulgence. Everything was perfect, until she discovered her partner had been cheating on her. Seventeen years wasted, and nothing to show for it. So what Abi needs now is a true friend to lean on, to share her grief over a glass of wine, and to have some time to heal. And what better place than Mel’s house, with her lovely kids, and supportive husband…
This dark, unsettling tale of the reunion of long-lost friends is thoroughly gripping exploration of wanting what you can’t have, jealousy and revenge from Sunday Times bestseller Adele Parks.
Mel and Abi used to be best friends but then Mel dropped out of university due to her unplanned pregnancy. They haven’t seen each other for over 17 years – Mel has given birth to a son, Liam, is now married to Ben and they have two daughters together. Abi has done well in her job – she’s been living a celebrity lifestyle in LA with her husband Rob. However, she’s now divorcing him, after finding him in bed with another woman. This is when Mel receives an unexpected email from her former friend and immediately invites her over, opening the doors of her home and her own heart. But – did Abi get in touch because she really needed her friend, or is there more to this than meets the eye?
This book is full of sharp observations and it brilliantly captures different kinds of relationships. What I enjoyed probably most was the fact that the author presents us both sides of the story – I must admit, it takes a lot of time to learn what Abi’s hidden agenda was but I simply guessed it in the meantime, and well, yes, it may change your mind a little about her character. The alternating perspectives of not only Mel and Abi, but Mel’s husband, son and his girlfriend provided much deeper account of what’s happening and what the characters really think and feel, and you really start to think who is the real victim in this story – because there are always two sides to each story. It was the moment that I started to feel very sorry for her. The next strong point of this book is of course Adele Park’s writing style. She writes with ease and in interesting way.
However, the characters lacked depth, I expected them to be much more three – dimensional and relatable. I didn’t care for them and I was not as invested in their lives as I’d like to. Yes, some of their decisions made me feel real desperation but I wasn’t emotionally connected to them.
The problem is, when the book is so strongly advertised and it gets brilliant quotes that you start reading it with incredibly high expectations – especially when it’s written by such a fantastic author like Adele Parks. I read this book at the same time as I was reading another novel with exactly the same subject matter – old friends coming back into your life and turning into a very challenging one to say the least – sadly, any of those book was this what I was hoping for. Last year I read Claudia Carroll’s “Our Little Secret”, a book with the same keynote, and I can still remember how much tension there was in her novel, how much I hated the antagonist, how much I vibrated and felt all kinds of emotions – this is what I so missed in “I Invited Her In”. In my opinion, the idea was here but it lacked in development. Somehow, I just couldn’t fall for Mel, I couldn’t sympathise with her, the story itself was too predictable for my liking and to be honest, there was not any twist that would make me go “wow”. The end also seemed too rushed and just too happy – endish. I’m sorry, I really hoped I’m going to love this story. don’t get me wrong, it was not a bad book, it’s far away from it, it’s probably my expectations being set really high. It was maybe because the “thing” happening was not SO very controversial, at least not for me, that it left me a little lukewarm.
“I Invited Her In” was an interesting story about friendship and boundaries, about revenge, secrets, lies, jealousy and forgiving and it’s to my regret that I’m not in the minority that raves about it. However, it was a satisfying read that I’m sure the hard – core fans of Adele Parks will love. It was well written, I really liked the writing style and the author has a great way with words and altogether, I was intrigued to see how it was all going to play out.