Thursday 7 August 2014

Review ~ Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly

Bantam Press - March 2014

Natty and Sean seem to have the perfect marriage. Confident and successful, they run their Lake District hotel with skill and panache and are devoted to their two teenage daughters. Life seems good, but the trappings of success haven’t come easily to Natty and Sean, both of them have worked really hard to prove to the doubters, including Sean’s mother, that they can be successful, both in their marriage and with their now flourishing business. When Dr. Eve Dalladay, once a close university friend of Natty’s, and now a successful psychologist, pays them a long awaited visit, old friendships are rekindled and shared experiences are explored and valued. When Natty and Sean’s youngest daughter, Felicity, is taken seriously ill whilst on a school trip to France, Natty has no qualms about leaving Eve and Sean alone. But all is not well in this rural paradise, Sean is feeling neglected and abandoned and even though he loves Natty, he is also feels that their marriage could be more intimate. Cool, calculated and the complete antithesis of Natty and with ruthless indifference Eve sets out to ensnare Sean, and with the mesmerising offer of great sex, Sean is soon powerless to resist.

What then follows is an emotional roller coaster which takes the reader into the mind of a calculating and utterly evil predatory female. Eve is the quintessential cold manipulator and her clever strategy, although at times uncomfortable to read, is as compelling as Sean’s fall from grace, and Natty’s sheer hopelessness. 

From the beginning I was hooked and transported to the rural tranquillity of the English Lake District, where the beauty of its landscape is completely comfortable against the unfolding story of human frailty and the exposure of long buried secrets. The characterisation is clear and crisp; the skilful manoeuvring of events and the chilling undercurrents of illicit desire are expertly controlled by an author who is adept at holding her reader in the palm of her hand. The hidden depths of the story come in the supporting characters, some we have met before in Just What Kind of Mother Are You, and others who are new to this story, all of them have a part to play and are no less compelling than the major characters.

There is sometimes a danger that having read and been overwhelmed by an author’s previous book, that there will be a feeling of let down if the second book doesn't live up to expectations. Be reassured, if anything Keep Your Friends Close is even more compelling, so much so I started the book at 11am and didn't look up until the book was completed some ten hours later.

To have now read two of my books of the year in the space of two weeks is a rare treat and for me Paula Daly can’t write quick enough.

**Please come back tomorrow to read a fabulous interview with Paula Daly and the exciting chance to win a copy of either Just What Kind of Mother Are You? or Keep Your Friends Close **



  1. Thanks. I'll be back tomorrow! My original comment has disappeared.....

    1. Hi Joan ~ sorry your comment disappeared - not sure what caused that...look forward to having you visit again.

  2. Wow! What an ending - thanks for the recommendation :-)

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Hilary - I agree the ending is wow.... as is the whole of the story :)


Thanks for taking the time to comment - Jaffareadstoo appreciates your interest.