Friday 26 August 2022

πŸ“– Book Review ~ Other Parents by Sarah Stovell

18 August 2022

They all have opinions.
They all have secrets.

In a small town like West Burntridge, it should be impossible to keep a secret. But the problem with having your nose in everyone’s business is that you can miss what’s staring you in the face.

Rachel Saunders knows gossip is the price you pay for a rural lifestyle and outstanding schools. The latest town scandal is her divorce – and the fact that her new girlfriend has moved into the family home.

Laura Spence lives in a poky bedsit on the wrong side of town. She and her son Jake don’t really belong, and his violent tantrums are threatening to expose the very thing she’s trying to hide.

When the local school introduces a new LGBTQ+-friendly curriculum, Rachel and Laura find themselves on opposite sides of a fearsome debate. But the problem with having your nose in everyone else’s business is that you often miss what’s happening in your own home.

πŸ“– My Review..

Sarah Stovell is fast becoming one of those authors whose work I will read as soon as it is published and, for a change, this time, I decided to listen to the audio version of the book via the BorrowBox library app. I wasn't disappointed as the narrator, Elaine Claxton, did  a really good job of interpreting the story. With over 11 hours of listening time, the story doesn't rush but builds up each layer with accurate precision and as each of the main protagonists come to life so all the quirks of their distinct personalities are captured.

West Burntridge is one of those small town places where everyone knows everyone else's business and when Rachael Saunders leaves her husband to start a new relationship with her girlfriend, Erin, it not only fractures her family but also alienates half the town. Add into the mix, Kate and Laura, a couple of over zealous PTA members at the local primarily school who object to the introduction of a proposed LGBTQ+-friendly curriculum and you have all the elements for riotous dissent.

Other Parents is a great story, it made me laugh out loud in places, especially the cake fight, but it also made me stop to consider small town pettiness and the bigotry which exists and lurks in the shadows and which can cause so much misery. The characterisation is, as always, excellent, as this talented author knows how to get right inside the heads of the people she so skillfully creates, bringing them to life with a perception and insight into just what makes people tick.

I spent several hours in Burntridge as the story unfolded, placing my loyalty with those who needed it, especially Rachael's daughter Maia who was left lost and bewildered by her mother's actions and also with immense sympathy, in the end, for Laura who really had her own demons to chase. 

Beautifully written, immensely entertaining and ultimately enlightening, Other Parents is this talented author writing at her absolute best.

πŸ“– Best read with.. Decorated cupcakes, loaded with icing

About the Author

Sarah Stovell was born in 1977 and spent most of her life in the Home Counties before a season working in a remote North Yorkshire youth hostel made her realise she was a northerner at heart. She now lives in Northumberland with her partner and two children and is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Lincoln University. Her debut psychological thriller, Exquisite, was called ‘the book of the summer’ by Sunday Times.

Twitter @sarahlovescrime #OtherParents


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