The Safest Place by Suzanne Bugler

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The Safest Place by Suzanne Bugler

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jo Heffer
Reviewed by Jo Heffer
Summary: When Jane Berry persuades her husband and two children to move from London to the country, she thinks they will all be living the dream. The house is perfect and the schools are better; it’s only a slight inconvenience that David has to commute over two hours each way every day to work. Jane convinces herself that their new life is perfect, choosing to ignore the fact that the other family members are not so thrilled. It’s obviously bound to take some time to settle in but when she makes friends with fellow mum, Melanie, and her family it feels like everything is finally going to work out for them. Yet appearances can be deceptive and there’s a danger that the dream might start turning into a nightmare.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 303 Date: March 2013
Publisher: Pan
ISBN: 9780330544962

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Jane and David Berry have always lived and worked in London. However, since their children have come along, the house has felt too cramped and Jane has often dreamed of moving away. When their son Sam fails to get a place at his chosen secondary school, that is the catalyst she needs to start making her dream a reality. The only problem is that the rest of the family are not quite as enthusiastic about moving as she would have hoped. David will have to commute every day to London and the children are anxious about starting a new school, particularly Sam who finds it difficult to make friends. Even Jane starts to wonder if it was a good idea, isolated in a house miles from anywhere, finding it difficult to get to know the local community.

Luckily, she meets up with Melanie who has two children the same age as Sam and Ella. Jane and Melanie couldn’t be more different but at least she’s a friend and so what if David doesn't really approve? But as time passes, relationships become strained; Jane questions her friendship with Melanie and eventually a terrible thing happens that threatens to tear the family apart.

I loved this book and I was completely hooked from the very first page. I found it so compelling that I read it in its entirety within a couple of days. Right from the start there is a sinister sense of foreboding and the subtle suggestion that everything is perhaps a little too idyllic. The story is written in the first person which means that the reader is privy to Jane's innermost thoughts. Therefore, when she makes comments such as:

Now I look back and I want to grab my old self by the shoulders and shake hard. I want to slap the smug smile off my face. I wasn't just complacent; I was blind.

the reader knows that things are not going to go well. It's the suggestion of this, along with the anticipation, that compels you to read on.

It's a dark, brooding story that demonstrates how easily situations can go wrong and how difficult it is to retrieve things when they do. I felt a sympathy for Jane as events seemed to spiral out of control for her. Her husband and children are miserable yet there does not seem to be any solution other to carry on with the life that she has chosen for them. I felt as if I was sharing their wretchedness and despair as I was reading.

Overall, this is a very good book if you are looking for some edge of your seat reading.

Why not also take a look at The Child Inside, also by Suzanne Bulger.

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Buy The Safest Place by Suzanne Bugler at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Safest Place by Suzanne Bugler at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Safest Place by Suzanne Bugler at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Safest Place by Suzanne Bugler at

Booklists.jpg The Safest Place by Suzanne Bugler is in the Top Ten General Fiction Books of 2013.


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