Book Review-‘Her Pretty Face’ by Robyn Harding

Thriller and mystery, ‘‘Her Pretty Face’ by Robyn Harding is one of those reads that you really really do not want to be half way through and then lose !

Fast forward through fretful days wherein I turn the house upside down to find it, and finish it, oh the relief!

This tale of female friendships, the bonding or exclusion at the school yard is so addictive and real-I can totally agree with the description of Frances and Kate, how they become friends and the way that certain parents give themselves superiority complexes due to their social positions rings painfully true.

Frances is married to attractive Jason, someone she is constantly wary of wandering due to her chronic insecurity over her appearance and that of their son, Marcus. Marcus has oppositional learning difficulties and ADHD, which has led to incidents in school that have excluded Frances from the mother’s inner circle and Marcus from after school play dates.

Awkward and uncomfortable, she imagines hideous deaths for them all and then, unexpectedly, another new mother with a slightly older daughter than Marcus (Daisy) and a son the same age (Charles) reaches out to her and a tentative friendship begins.

Kate is everything that Frances is not, and suddenly becomes the centre of her world. Alternating with Frances point of view narration is that of Kate’s teenage daughter, and a mystery person, D.J,whose older sister, at some point in the past, was horrifically murdered.

One of these mothers is not what they seem and past and present are about to collide when Daisy starts a friendship with a strange older man….

The close scrutiny and anguish of school yard friendships for parents and child alike are examined so well, I think that most mothers can relate to the situations that Frances finds herself in.

The portrayal of a mother who feels lost and alone is spot on, and the interlinking parts about the murder of D.J’s sister keep you guessing what has happened to whom-it’s not immediately obvious who has done what and to whom.

The nature/nurture debate is interwoven into the narratives as well as the question of whether a murder can be truly rehabilitated. Does anyone ever deserve a second chance at entry into a society whose rules they have immutably shattered and what effect does it have on their children?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Her Pretty Face’ and am definitely looking forward to reading more by Robyn Harding!

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