The Friend

The Friend

Blurb

Cece Solarin has reluctantly moved from London to Brighton with her three children due to her husband’s new job and a desire to rectify problems in her marriage.

Outside of the home Cece’s biggest fear is that she won’t make any friends among the mums at her twin’s school. When Cece learns that the school was the scene of a violent attack just a few weeks earlier she is less than impressed with her husband Sol for not mentioning it to her.

School mum Yvonne Whitmore was found on the school grounds brutally attacked and is now in a coma and so far, no one has been arrested for the crime.

Cece is pleased when she finally starts to make some friends: Maxie, Hazel and Anaya. Cece finally starts to feel like maybe this could be somewhere she could settle but then she is approached by a policeman wanting her help. He believes one of her new friends was behind the attempted murder and he wants Cece to spy on them to find out which one.


Our Review

As a massive fan of Dorothy Koomson books there was very little chance that I would dislike The Friend. After finishing The Friend, I would say it is among my favourite books she has written.

Cece Solarin has reluctantly moved from London to Brighton with her three children due to her husband’s new job and a desire to rectify problems in her marriage. Rather than make her marital situation better the move just serves to highlight the problems and increases her frustration with her her husband.

“Look, I know you’re really busy with work and all, but would it kill you to acknowledge the sacrifice we’ve all made for you…

Our children have moved away from their friends and a life they loved because of your job and you haven’t even acknowledged that over the weekend or this morning.”

The longer they live in Brighton the more annoyed Cece becomes with Sol’s attitude towards her and her role in the home.

“He is still being dismissive and condescending. He is still treating me like an after thought.”

Outside of the home Cece’s biggest fear is that she won’t make any friends among the mums at her twin’s school. When Cece learns that the school was the scene of a violent attack just a few weeks earlier she is less than impressed with her husband Sol for not mentioning it to her.

School mum Yvonne Whitmore was found on the school grounds brutally attacked and is now in a coma and so far, no one has been arrested for the crime.

Cece is pleased when she finally starts to make some friends: Maxie, Hazel and Anaya. Cece finally starts to feel like maybe this could be somewhere she could settle but then she is approached by a policeman wanting her help. He believes one of her new friends was behind the attempted murder and he wants Cece to spy on them to find out which one.

The Friend is told in the split narrative form and enables the reader to really engage with each of the characters. Not only do we get to see things from Cece’s perspective, but we also get to see things from the perspective of Maxie, Hazel and Anaya.

Dorothy Koomson also chose to use flashbacks to provide us with more in-depth information on each of the central characters. I always find the characters in her books to be one of her strengths, but I found this to be particularly true in The Friend.

The Friend begins with a newspaper article outlining the details of the attack on Yvonne. It talks about Yvonne being found on the school premises during the summer holidays and how the mother of two is still in a coma.

Over the course of the book we learn that Maxie, Hazel and Anaya all had reason to wish Yvonne dead. Yvonne was not the kind of friend anyone would wish for, she liked to find out her friends, secrets and to use them to her advantage.

It is clear that each of the women had secrets they wanted to protect at any cost and that Yvonne had given everyone plenty of reasons to dislike her and maybe to wish her dead. She is a classic ‘frenemy’ and a distinctly unlikeable character.

Whatever happened that night the Maxie, Anaya and Hazel haven’t been able to continue their friendship in the same way – avoiding each other and deleting messages as soon as they have been read like they have something to hide.

“Since it happened, we haven’t been near each other. We haven’t messaged each other, we didn’t meet for coffee last Wednesday, didn’t stand together at pick-up and drop-off – it was like we barely knew each other. We didn’t plan it, we just instinctively keep our distance.”

Its clear that each of the women knows more than they have told the police about the night Yvonne was attacked but can Cece bring herself to betray her new friends by spying on them and if she does will she be putting herself and her family in danger?

“I could be friends with someone dangerous. But aren’t we all? Aren’t we all capable of being dangerous under a particular set of circumstances? If you are threatened, for instance. If someone is planning on hurting you or someone you love, wouldn’t that make you deadly? There’s a difference between reactive dangerous behaviour, when you’re trying to protect yourself or someone else, and planning it.”

The Friend should be on everyone’s list of must read books for 2018.

'I’m Yvonne,’ the stranger said. ‘And I am going to change your life.'

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

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