Dinner Party by Tracy Bloom
Publishing Date: 26th September 2018
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!
Number of pages: 330
Genre: Humour, Women’s Fiction
Never has an unexpected guest caused such chaos!
Three couples take it in turns to host a monthly dinner party.
Beth, Sarah and Marie have been friends forever. Now they are grown up, with busy lives, busy husbands, busy kids… but they still find time to meet up over dinner once a month. A cosy, comfortable gathering of happy couples – or so they thought.
Until one night, someone brings along a last-minute guest whose wife has just left him.
Simon is standing on the doorstep in floods of tears. While the women do their best to console him, their husbands feel the need to mark their territory.
And as Simon becomes more involved with the group, his presence changes everything these three couples thought they knew about each other, leading to a final dinner party that no-one will ever forget.
From Amazon chart bestseller Tracy Bloom, Dinner Party is a funny and moving read that will make you see your marriage and friendships in a whole new light… and make you think twice about inviting your best mates round for dinner. Perfect for fans of Marian Keyes, Nick Spalding and Gill Sims.
Beth, Sarah and Marie have been friends since school. Now, once a month, they and their husbands, that truly don’t have anything in common except their wives being friends, meet at one of their places for a dinner party, that usually run without mishaps and in a nice atmosphere. However, this time, when it’s Beth and Chris’s turn, he forgets to tell his wife that he has invited his new friend Simon. Simon and his wife have just split up and he’s been since heartbroken. To be honest, nobody is too happy with the new addition but when he arrives, the three female friends find themselves drawn to him, which doesn’t go unnoticed by their husbands. As the time goes on and the dinner parties as well, Simon becomes more part of their lives, however his presence also causes chaos and misunderstandings that eventually lead to a very dramatic finale.
There are six main characters in this book – yes, you could say it’s a lot, but they’re all so different and right from the beginning you get the feeling who is who and to whom they belong. All of them had perfectly distinctive voices, they had their quirks, flaws and secrets, some of them were too perfect and too snobbish, some of them really overdid with their love of dips – it was funny at the beginning but then it stopped being funny and started to feel irritating. Each chapter is told by a different character and all of them have a chance to tell us their thoughts, which was a brilliant way, as it was really great to see how each of them perceive the particular situation or what they really think.
Due to short Q&As at the end of each chapter between a journalist and one of the characters we quickly get the sense that something big has happened. Yes, it did, but it took the whole book to get to the point – a little too long for this story, to be honest, but I also understand that should it have been written differently, there wouldn’t be the grande finale that the author presented us with. However, it just felt too short and too rapid in comparison to the whole story. On the other hand, it was truly surprising and unexpected what has happened at the end.
It was an interesting, sharp – observed read that for me lacked in the final touch, the wow – effect and the idea of mixing stories of three different couples was a brilliant one, and adding then an extra person to this mix was even better, as it was for sure going to steer problems and troubles, but it was not developed. I was all the time asking myself: and? Please don’t get me wrong, I love Tracy Bloom, but this time I actually wasn’t sure what she wants to tell us with this novel. It is also billed as a “LOL Romantic Comedy” however for me it was neither LOL nor romantic nor comedy. However, I DID enjoy the book. Even though I didn’t sympathize with the characters, they were very well drawn and felt realistic. Why didn’t I sympathize with them? Well, first of all, I truly wasn’t sure why they’re calling themselves friends, I didn’t feel any bond between them, even between Beth, Sarah and Marie who have known each other since school, and well, Tony did admit, on many different occasions, that he actually has nothing in common with Chris and Duncan. They had many issues with each other and actually, they weren’t friendly, they were nasty and jealous of each other.
This book is written in this lovely, light Tracy Bloom’s writing style that I so much adore. She also for sure can create a bunch of regular, relatable characters with real problems and get them into some complicated and often hilarious situations. There is also so much depth to this story, as it touches upon love, betrayal, friendship and second chances. It makes me really sad that the book didn’t work for me as much as I was sure it’s going to, but Tracy Bloom stays at the very top of my auto – buy authors, I will read whatever she writes.