A Serpentine Affair - Tina Seskis
When I was offered a review copy of this, the second novel by the talented author of One Step Too Far I grasped it with alacrity, after all I adored her debut novel.
Her writing has a very unique style - she is the Doyenne of creating assumptions then throwing them back in your face, very cleverly. This book is centred around a picnic in Hyde Park by a disparate group of 40 something women who have known each other since college days. They don't seem to have a great deal in common and friendships between several of them are very strained and the cracks begin to surface during the picnic as alcohol flows.
I must confess I found getting into the book pretty difficult as there are so many characters I got totally confused .... and after a couple of false starts and glowing recommendations from friends to persevere I stuck with it. I admit I remained a bit muddled all the way through finding this a very complex multi layered story which jumps back and forth in time and several different mini stories within the main theme, things keep being revealed from the past which impact on the present and future and as the layers get peeled away we are treated to new insights which change our perceptions. None of the characters are very likeable and I think this lack of empathy with any of them possibly marred my enjoyment a touch.
I'm glad I stuck with what is a very accomplished book and one I enjoyed reading, yet I'm left with a slightly foggy feeling at the end, like I need to go back and check a few things that weren't what I thought they were and one or two questions left lingering where I'm not even sure whether the clues were there or not, one of the disadvantages of reading an e-book it's so much harder to flick back through the pages and re-check. For this reason I didn't love it as much as her first book - however I will be keen to see what she comes up with next.
I'd recommend this to anyone who likes a challenging read, lots of characters, loads going on and has a good level of concentration.
My thanks to www.Netgalley.com for providing me with this ebook.