I became a fan of writer Paula Daly after reading her debut novel Just What Kind of Mother Are You? published by Transworld Publishers. After reviewing the novel, Paula kindly let me interview her and from that moment on, we have shared a wonderful relationship. When I saw on Twitter that her second novel Keep Your Friends Close‘s review copies were being emailed to bloggers, I almost begged to have one myself. Thanks to Alison Barrow – as usual – for such a good novel. I knew I would like, but I was wrong, because I adored it.
Natty and Sean Wainwright are happily married. Rock solid in fact. So when Natty’s oldest friend, Eve Dalladay, appears – just as their daughter collapses on a school trip in France – Natty has no qualms about leaving Eve with Sean to help out at home.
Two weeks later and Natty finds Eve has slotted into family life too well. Natty’s husband has fallen in love with Eve. He’s sorry, he tells her, but their marriage is over.
With no option but to put a brave face on things for the sake of the children, Natty embarks on building a new life for herself.
And then she receives the note.
Eve has done this before, more than once, and with fatal consequences…
I would like to beware my readers that Paula Daly’s novels are extremely addictive, so, if you decide to pick up one, be sure to have plenty of time! Actually, I think Keep Your Friends Close was much more addictive than Just What Kind of Mother Are You? You can see that the author has become more confident and such a confidence translates in a great pace. It took me 3 sittings to read this novel and it would have been 2 if had I not been busy with school.
Keep Your Friends Close has one of the key features that make a good thriller: a captivating and inspiring main character. And no, it was not Natty, for me, Eve was the main character, the one that I loved spending time the most. I am the kind of reader that when reading Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier is fascinated by Rebecca and hates the main character. Same happened here. I was captivated by Eve and how purely evil she was. Actually, I think she is one of the most interesting characters I have encountered because she is a modern femme fatale: she is sexy, she is beautiful, she is charming and she is really, really bad. She is even worse when compared to the nurturing and family-oriented main character. Daly has modelled a 1940’s film noir as a thriller and it works perfectly.
However, all films noir have the same ending and it is because evil, out-of-the-system women need to be punished and nurturing mothers and wives need to win the battle. This was one of the reasons why I gave the book 4 stars instead of 5: I wanted Eve to succeed in a way, so badly! The other reason was how easy Sean succumbed to Eve, as if only the lack of sexual relations with his wife, Natty, would be enough to end up as one of the steamiest and more suggestive scenes I have read. But, regarding the Natty-Sean relationship, I loved the ending – NO spoilers! – and how Natty underwent a transformation.
So, if you are looking for a thriller with two very interesting female characters, go pick up your copy of Keep Your Friends Close on the 13th of March. You won’t regret it! And don’t forget to check Books and Reviews for an exclusive interview with the author, Paula Daly this week.