Whatever It Takes by Adele Parks
|Whatever It Takes by Adele Parks|
|Category: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Zoe Morris|
|Summary: With everyone and everything changing around her, Eloise's move from London to the countryside is the least of her worries. But will she thrive or crack under the pressure of everything else that's happening? A wonderful read you'll want to lose yourself in for hours at a time.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 416||Date: June 2012|
Whatever it takes means giving up your exciting, settled life in the capital to move to Dartmouth, if that’s what your husband wants.
Whatever it takes means being a constant shoulder to cry on for your best friend even when that nagging voice at the back of your mind is asking whether this is really a two-way friendship.
Whatever it takes means prioritising the needs of others – your daughters, your in laws – ahead of your own needs. All day, every day.
Whatever it takes means maintaining a calm, put-together demeanour in the face of event crashers, party trashers, unfaithful spouses and life-changing secrets.
Whatever it takes means keeping up appearances, no matter what. But if a relationship’s a sham, it’s only a matter of time before the façade starts to crack and splinter.
When a hesitant Eloise gives up her London life for a move to the country, she still tries to see the positives. The fresh air will be so good for her three girls, her husband Mark can carry on the family business, and her mother in law Margaret will be a great local resource. Her best friend Sara might still be in London, but she’ll never be further away than the end of a phone. It’s all going to work out fine.
But it’s not. It doesn’t take Eloise long to realise that life in a remote corner of the country is not quite all it’s cracked up to be. As the lives of those around her start to crumble, Eloise has a tricky balancing act at hand, trying to keep all the plates in the air so no one falls and smashes into a thousand little pieces. With this pressure mounting on her shoulders she makes dangerous decisions that have consequences she doesn’t stop to think about until it’s too late.
This is a busy book but focussed on the sort of family life a lot of people will accept as standard nowadays (IVF, adoption, infidelity, aging parents) so what might once have seemed far fetched now reads as realistic and honest. The observations are spot on and the complicated relationships between friends, new and old, and family shine through. Eloise and Sara may be good friends, old friends, friends who know everything about each other, but there are still things they cannot share, secrets they have to keep. Eloise and Mark have three children but they are not a focus of the book, though they are clearly a focus of the couple’s lives. Despite having only finished it this morning, I would struggle to put them in age order or tell you much about any of them beyond their names.
I liked the speed with which the story developed, and the goodbye party that engrossed me at the start was soon forgotten in favour of the troubles clearly brewing in their new home. There were things I expected to happen, which left me satisfied when my predictions came true, and things I don’t think anyone could predict, especially the last few pages. I normally don’t like complete 180s but in this case it was more of a gasped No! moment than a perturbed, Um, really? one. I didn’t really feel the adoption storyline was tied up properly, but then maybe that’s realistic. With everything else going on, maybe that’s something that might not get followed through.
I said in my review of the earlier work Tello Me Something that when the writing's this good, and the descriptions this beautiful, you don't need much else, and she’s certainly not lost her touch. This is a wonderful book to lose yourself in, but is also easy to read in dribs and drabs if that’s all life allows, because the perspective changes with each chapter so to some degree the story stops and starts with you.
This isn’t a laugh out loud book because of the subject matter, but it’s a lively read that captured and kept my attention. There were (senior) moments when Margaret’s behaviour led to a wry smile on my part and even some of the trickier moments were kept light, if not playful.
I am not sure I would want Eloise’s life, or would make the choices she makes, but I found it very entertaining to read about what she was going through, and could identify with her, her daughters, her friends AND her mother in law in parts, so to rate it as a piece of fiction it has to get full marks.
Thanks go to the publishers for supplying this book.
You can read more book reviews or buy Whatever It Takes by Adele Parks at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Whatever It Takes by Adele Parks at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.