Book Review – Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly

This book caught my attention as I was browsing through the ‘books you may like’ section in goodreads (or was it Kindle Store? I can’t remember).  I read a couple of raving reviews, and a lesser number of one-starrred ones. Conclusion: worth a shot. So I began.

Natty lives with her husband Sean, as well as their two children Alice and Felicity. One day, her best childhood friend Eve, whom she hasn’t seen in awhile comes to visit. Unexpectedly, her daughter Alice falls sick while on an overseas school trip. Natty takes the first flight out while Eve volunteers to help look after her children for a few days. Sean also has to stay in the country to help take care of his business. When Natty returns, she finds out Eve is not what she seems to be. Everything she knows about her best friend is unraveling fast.

Every wife-with-children’s worst nightmare come alive, is how I would sum up this book in a one-liner. I found it hard to put down for several reasons. The writing was so livid and events equally dramatic. I didn’t have to wait long to reach the turning point in the story- Natty’s world started turned topsy-turvy around the 15% mark. We are also privy to glimpses into Eve’s mind, which was rather refreshing as it made her character quite believable. Some may enjoy the fantasy of stepping into the alternate personality she offers.

The plot is easy to understand and quite linear (read: no flashbacks or flash-forwards or any time related confusion of that sort). The kind of domestic thriller that doesn’t involve the supernatural or deranged killers, so you can probably read it at night! Very quickly (by less than a quarter in) you get a sense of what will be going down. From then on, a little clichéd at times, thrown in with some noteworthy surprises here and there. A pretty good read.

Without giving anything away, I especially though the ending coup de grâce was very well delivered. I would have done the same had I been in Natty’s shoes, therefore for me it was a very satisfying ending.

Rating: 7.5/10 (domestic dramatic thriller, satisfying ending, cliched at times, lack of deep twists and turn, but still a pretty nice read. Normalized timeline)