Thursday, 14 January 2016

Strictly Between Us by Jane Fallon

I can’t believe I have waited so long to read a Jane Fallon novel. Since the buzz about her sixth book, Strictly Between Us began, I’ve been super excited to sample this bestselling author and I was not at all disappointed.

Tamsin and her best friend have been inseparable since childhood and she also has a good relationship with Michelle’s handsome, successful husband Patrick. As well as a happy social life, things tick along nicely for her at her work, mostly down to the constant hard work put in by Tamsin’s faultless assistant Bea. 

Tamsin begins to hear rumours that seemingly perfect Patrick has been playing away and sets a honey-trap for him using Bea as bait. What she doesn’t count on, is that fact that Bea has her own plans and her involvement spirals into a web of lies and deceit when all she wanted to do was protect her best friend. 

Tamsin is a lead character that is likeable and infuriating in equal measure. There were parts of her personality that I liked, and overall her heart in the right place, but some of her decision making is shocking, throwing up so truly mortifying moments, as well as adding to the action. For me, the story kicked up a gear when Bea’s perspective was introduced which doubles the drama when the reader sees things from her point of view. 

The two main themes dissected in this story are so topical and definite food for thought. One examines the relationship between boss and colleague, and the blurred lines between professional boundaries and friendship. The second poses the difficult question of whether it is right to interfere in your friend’s relationship. The way the characters all interact and illustrate these themes makes this novel seriously addictive. 

In regard to these themes, I’ll briefly give my opinion, and I’d love to hear from anyone else that has read these books. I thought Tamsin was a pretty good boss; a bit scatty but she was never initially malicious. I think she crosses some lines with what she expected Bea to do, and maybe Bea should have stuck up for herself a little more as to what was expected of her in a professional capacity.

Is it right to interfere in a friend’s relationship? I think Tamsin’s actions in this novel are a little extreme and do escalate because of her involvement. At the same time, I think in some cases intervention could be needed, and it takes guts to expose a friend to truths like that, however hurtful. 

This book has flavours of some of my favourite authors; Adele Parks, Jane Green, Marian Keyes but with a sharper edge to it. There is so much drama in this book; it’s witty with plenty of highs and lows, and characters that are as memorable as they are realistic. Strictly Between Us is a brilliant novel about friendship and working relationships that readers won’t want to put down. 

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