Author: Liza Palmer
Publisher: William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins
Paperback, 309 pages
Paperback release date: April 17, 2012
ISBN 10: 0062007467
ISBN 13: 9780062007469
The Book Depository / Amazon
What really goes on behind those perfect white picket fences?
In Frances's mind, beautiful, successful, ecstatically married Emma Dunham is the height of female perfection. Frances, recently dumped with spectacular drama by her boyfriend, aspires to be just like Emma. So do her close friends and fellow teachers, Lisa and Jill. But Lisa's too career-focused to find time for a family. And Jill's recent unexpected pregnancy could have devastating consequences for her less-than-perfect marriage.
Yet sometimes the golden dream you fervently wish for turns out to be not at all what it seems--like Emma's enviable suburban postcard life, which is about to be brutally cut short by a perfect husband turned killer. And in the shocking aftermath, three devastated friends are going to have to come to terms with their own secrets . . . and somehow learn to move forward after their dream is exposed as a lie.
I don't like it when a book description gives too much away, but in this case, the description is what kept me reading for quite a while.
Frances is a speech therapist at an exclusive school. Her best friend Jill is also a therapist there. When a new headmistress, Emma, comes to the school, Frances is more than a little awed by what she sees as her perfection. When she meets Emma's husband, however, she and her friends all feel uneasy about him, and an encounter with him at a party held at Emma's house leaves Frances shaken and uncertain.
After a school shooting, we travel with Frances and friends as they deal with the emotional and psychological aftermath of a tragedy.
For me, the writing in this one felt almost frenetic - there were huge jumps in thought and dialogue which sometimes even made it feel fractured. When tragedy strikes, it happens so suddenly that I was surprised at the incongruity of it, as up until then, the narrative centered solely around Frances and her feelings of insecurity.
Frances - oh, Frances! Whiny and insecure about herself, she shoots herself down at every opportunity. I just wanted to reach into the book and smack her in the head.
There is romance in this one, although shaky and made uncertain by Frances and her own self-sabotage.
In the end, I was glad to have read through my feelings of dislike for Frances, because sometimes the answer to a violent episode can be found in the past.
"I don't want someone to be with me because I'm handy," I say, trying to find the words.
"Like . . ." Jill is now miming giving someone a hand job in he middle of Old Town Pasadena. I bat her hand down.
"No, no! Jesus. Like, around. I don't want someone to date me because I'm convenient," I say, waving off a curious gentleman.
I want - no, need - to find out what it's like to just be me and have someone like and choose that. Choose the Real Me. Respond to that. I morphed into a whole other person for Ryan and he cheated on and chucked me for Jessica, the vacant-eyed vet's assistant.
Murderers don't dress up in their mother's clothes and victimize pretty blondes in showers. I pour out some shampoo and lather up. No, sometimes murderers are little priggish weaklings who've realized the jig is up.
BOOK RATING: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher through TLC Book Tours to facilitate my review. No other compensation was received and I was not required to post a positive review.