The Friend by Dorothy Koomson

I have read a couple of Dorothy Koomson books to date, but ‘The Friend’ has to be one of her best to date!

Cece and her three children, daughter Harmony, and twins Oscar and Ore have moved with her husband’s job, to Brighton. In doing so, she has been forced to give up her own job back in London and suddenly finds herself adrift in a new place. Cece gradually befriends Maxie, Hazel and Anaya, young mums with children at Plummers Prep, the smart private school which Oscar and Ore are enrolled in.

However, strange things have been happening at Plummers Prep. Yvonne, a popular young mum and head of the Parent’s Council was the victim of a violent attack in the school grounds only a short time before Cece’s arrival and is now in a coma and fighting for her life. Investigating police officers have turned their attention on Maxie, Hazel and Anaya, apparently close friends with Yvonne and the last people to see her before the attack.

As Cece is drawn deeper into the group she becomes increasingly aware that something is not quite right with the three women she now calls her friends; they are all hiding something – something that could be important in solving the case of who assaulted Yvonne.

Enter stage, police officer, Gareth, Cece’s own secret from a past she has left far behind. Reluctant to spy on her friends, Cece finds herself under increasing pressure from both parties as her friends begin to unburden themselves on her, and Gareth exerts his own kinds of pressure to reveal what she knows.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was rich with mystery, each ‘secret’ gradually being uncovered in layers as the story progressed until we finally had the complete picture. The main female characters were strong, believable and likeable characters, who had each fought and won huge life changing battles to get to where they were.

This might have been a five star read, but for one thing; the complexity of the way the novel was written, and its constant movement both in time, place and people, made it very difficult to follow and make connections for quite some time. As a result it was sometime before I felt the true pull of this excellent story that eventually had me turning pages right until the very end.

A very solid 4 star read.