The Rose Petal Beach by Dorothy Koomson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a very tense and quite difficult read in some parts.
Narrated in turn by several different women - 3 of them best friends.
Tamia kicks off the story as police enter her home and in front of her 2 young daughters arrest her husband for a crime so bad they won't even speak it aloud in front of the children, Tamia remains the main narrator and common thread throughout the book.
The second female narrator is Mirabelle, Tamias good friend, neighbour, running companion and workmate of her husband, deeply integrated into the storyline Mirabelle is the owner and subject of a painting the Rose Petal beach - from which this novel takes its name.
The 3rd friend in this female trio is Tamias best friend Beatrix, divorced, looking for love, lonely and vulnerable she is heavily reliant on her friendship with Tamia.
As the story jumps back and forth in time, introducing new characters all the time including Fleur, whose identity I will leave you to discover and the arrested husband Scott, who begins as the love of Tamias life until our perceptions of him change irrevocably when we discover just what it is he has been accused of and secret sides of his character are gradually revealed.
This is very much a who dunnit type mystery but its also very much about people, emotions and female friendship. Many of the things some of the characters did are beyond my comprehension and I got seriously frustrated with Tamia at times for her sheer ability to bury her head in the sand and put up with shit nobody I know would put up with!
Deeply flawed as most of the characters truly are they are mostly shaped by circumstances and the storyline grips you and won't let go. A few parts were a touch repetitive and I think I'd have preferred the story to be a little tighter, briefer and more concise.
If, like me you loved The Ice Cream Girls Do give the Rose Petal beach a try, its very different and very cleverly written and I think you'll have a hard time not to get wrapped up in this riveting and thought provoking and sometimes pretty distasteful story. Superb writing.