Monday, 30 March 2015

"A Time for Friends" by Patricia Scanlan



Thanks to Simon and Schuster for the review copy of this title...


Is there ever a right time to break up with your best friend?  
Despite having very different upbringings and backgrounds, Hillary and Colette have been friends forever.  They have watched each other grow up, get married, have kids and while they live in different countries, the friendship has weathered the storm.  
Hillary is the down to earth, hard working woman with a big heart.  A mother of two girls and happily married, she would bend over backwards for her friends and family.
Colette is the wealthy diva, having had everything handed to her on a platter since birth.  Also married, with one daughter, she is not so generous with her time and thinks of herself before anyone else.  
Jonathan is Hillary's new best friend.  A complete breath of fresh air, he is quick to point out the imbalance in the girls relationship and Hillary begins to see how she has been duped by Colette over the years.  But her good heart means she struggles to let go of the friendship.  Until one New Years Day, when a mis-dialled phone call reveals Colette's true nature...

This is basically a tale of three characters, over three decades.  Pre-Celtic Tiger, The Boom Years and The Recession.  Hillary, Colette and Jonathan each have their stories to tell and the spiderweb that links them is what makes this a complete package.  Hillary is a little it too perfect, rarely getting anything wrong (great mother, wife and daughter-in-law, astute business woman, fantastic friend and has good conservative financial sense), whereas Colette is a real Cruella DeVille. (Hard, lacking maternal gene, distant wife and no need to worry about money). She has taken Hillary for granted her whole life and is not about to change now, just because her friend has a new bestie, Jonathan.  He is a flamboyant interior designer with a damaged past but sees the goodness in Hillary.  Unfortunately, he also sees through Colette.  Three becomes a crowd and tensions build.

Patricia Scanlan has done it again.  Another warm and effective character based novel that will envelope you like a cuddle from your favourite Auntie.  She uses throwbacks to the past decades cleverly and the changes in fashion, interior design and even food is a great way of getting the reader to connect with the story.   A look at abuse within the church is a brave move for female fiction in this country and there is no hiding the corrupt politicians either.  The greediness of the Celtic Tiger era is addressed and the only qualm I had was that the big fish didn't really seem to suffer too much from the fallout.  
The Queen of Irish Fiction has still got it and her fans can sit back and relax, as she's delivered another bestseller.

A time for Friends is published by Simon and Schuster and is available in hardback, TPB and ebook format


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