Despite their differences, Erika and Clementine have been best friends since they were children. So when Erika needs help, Clementine should be the obvious person to turn to. Or so you'd think. For Clementine, as a mother of a two desperately trying to practise for the audition of a lifetime, the last thing she needs is Erika asking for something, again. But the barbecue should be the perfect way to forget their problems for a while. Especially when their hosts, Vid and Tiffany, are only too happy to distract them. Which is how it all spirals out of control...
Review: Ok, full disclosure, this wasn't my favourite Liane Moriarty novel. I absolutely flew through her previous novels, most of which I listened to on audio book, waiting in the car for them to finish or staying up late to hear the end of a particular scene but this book took a while to get going for me. Liane Moriarty's novels are always very character heavy and so it can take a while to understand who is who and how they all relate to each other, but this book seemed to take extra long for that to happen. Once I worked out who all the characters were and what their individual quirks were, it was definitely easier to read/listen to and I really got into the storyline.
The structure of this book is that there is a neighbourhood BBQ and we know right from the beginning that something happened at this BBQ but we don't really know what or who was involved and so this is where the thriller aspect of this novel, something which is ubiquitous with Liane's writing, really comes in. We have scenes set in present day and we also have flashbacks to the day of the BBQ. I think this may have been slightly easier to follow, had I read the print version of the book and not the audiobook, but sometimes it was hard to adjust back to the current storyline after the BBQ flashback because I had to work out which character's storyline it was.
The storylines themselves are all very relevant. People having to struggle with being the second wife, with being a working mum. There are story lines dealing with mental health and hording, IVF and pregnancy, and what happens when an elderly neighbour suddenly hasn't been seen. I found all of the plot very interesting and I liked the way it was woven in with this thriller/mystery aspect of what happened at the BBQ, I think the clarity only becomes a little muddy when working out which mummy and daddy were which.
I found all of the characters easy to read, once I had worked out who was who and for the second half of the book I was definitely rooting for them all. This author has a skill at spending part of the book portraying a character to be a little spoiled, or a bit of an outsider and then turning a corner and making you really sympathise or empathise with them and you really start to love them where you once hated them. I think my favourite character in this book was Erica. I liked her relationship with Oliver, her husband and I really liked the issues that Erica had to deal with. I think all the characters go on a journey over the course of this book, but I liked Erica's the most.
If you are a Liane Moriarty fan then I definitely think you will enjoy this book. If this is going to be your first foray into this author's work then I would recommend picking up one of her other novels before this one as they are a little more fast paced and better reflection of her awesome writing. Not my favourite Liane Moriarty but I definitely enjoyed it from the half way point onwards!
To get your copy of this novel and see for yourself, just click here!