When Good Friends Go Bad by Ellie Campbell

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When Good Friends Go Bad by Ellie Campbell

Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: Confusing initially, this is a solid chick lit book worth persevering with as it swiftly develops into an intriguing, well written tale.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: July 2009
Publisher: Arrow Books Ltd
ISBN: 978-0099519997

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A famous designer, a cleanliness-obsessed stay at home mum and a slightly kooky Yank who talks to angels might not be three people you'd pick to be friends in a normal story, but these women haven't met now, as pushing-40 year olds. No, they were good friends, great friends even, all through high school, and though life has evidently taken then in different directions, you can understand how something like surviving their teen years together would form an everlasting bond. Except it didn't, really. They've barely talked in years, and even the reunion organised ten years ago went wrong. So how is it that they've ended up back in each others' lives? What's happened? Why now?

I finished this book today thinking it was a great read, but that wasn't what I thought I'd be telling you when I started it. The first few chapters confused me no end, as the characters were introduced individually now, ten years ago, and in their school days. It was pretty hard to keep track of who was who, what they were doing, and whether it would be important to the story to come. Happily this settled down quite quickly, the jumping stopped, and we started to get the story from mainly just one of the characters' perspectives. They others pop in now and then to say hi, but they don't dominate the narration. Though I got there in the end, I think this is one I'll want to re-read now I've got my head around who's who and what they do, as I'm sure it'll be much simpler the second time through.

The interesting thing about the book for me was the age of the main characters. At 38, they're older than most heroines, but they're realistically portrayed for their age, some with children, others clearly immersed in their careers. So many chick lit novels are about finding Mr Right, or unexpectedly ending up pregnant or alone (or both) and you never really get to find out what happens to the characters in ten, twenty, thirty years time. This one is different, taking place a bit further down the line, and gave an original perspective. It was quirky and intriguing, and kept me interested throughout.

The contrasting characters was one of the best bits of the book for me, and is something others have raved about in the author's previous novel. Or should that be authors': the book is actually written by two sisters, using the pseudonym on the cover, but I think it's a credit to them and their writing that at no point does it ever appear to be one of those patched together 'co-written' set-ups.

The book mixes in all the key ingredients for a gripping read: love and lust are angling for room with an unsolved mystery, lots of juicy secrets (old and new) and a nice bit of suspense and surprise towards the end. A few things are predictable, a few things less so, but throughout it is a well told story that never gets old, boring or annoying.

This is a prime example of good, solid chick-lit. It's not the most amazing book on the market, but it is a very good read, and at nearly 500 pages will keep your attention on the beach (or sofa) for a decent length of time.

Thanks go to the publishers for sending in a copy.

If you think friends are bad enough, imagine the trouble family can cause: The Kinsella Sisters by Kate Thompson is a great insight into siblings, secrets and, of course, some saucy, sexy studs.

Buy When Good Friends Go Bad by Ellie Campbell at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy When Good Friends Go Bad by Ellie Campbell at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy When Good Friends Go Bad by Ellie Campbell at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy When Good Friends Go Bad by Ellie Campbell at Amazon.com.


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