Originally published: 28 May 2020
Author: Jane Corry
Published by: Penguin
Length: 464 pages
Reading dates: 13-16 June 2020
Poppy is married to Stuart, has two teenage daughters and runs a successful extras agency for actors. At a Christmas party she bumps into her old flame and first love, Matthew Gordon, and she finds herself reminiscing about old times, feeling the old attraction, but also remembering how much her hurt her when he left her for another woman.
Poppy has her plate full – she is busy with work and the usual responsibilities of children and running a home. She and Stuart aren’t as loving as they once were (she is concerned he may be having an affair) and her dad is also starting to become forgetful and she often has to dash from London to Worthing to handle little disasters. It is on one of these trips to Worthing that she happens to bump into Matthew who is down that way for an audition and after having a drink together and discussing their woes, they end up sleeping together.
Wracked with guilt, Poppy returns home and tries to forget about it. But is soon becomes apparent that Matthew isn’t going to let her do that!
In the first two pages, we know there that someone is dead, and the book goes on to tell the story from the viewpoints of Poppy and her mother-in-law Betty who lives with them. Betty is writing letters to Poppy, at some point in the future (although we don’t know why) and I found her story really interesting. Married in 1970 to a man called Jock, the first few years of her marriage were particularly unhappy. Jock was very controlling, making her give up the job she loved, being rough with her and not liking her friends. It is interesting how things were different then as women had less rights and support, so Betty had to put up with his behaviour.
As well as hearing from Poppy and Betty we also are following a court case where we hear that Matthew is dead and Poppy is being questioned about her relationship with him.
I’ve never read a Jane Corry book before, but she has a real talent for pulling out some surprising twists. The anguish and guilt Poppy feels are very real, I felt her guilt with her! Sleeping with Matthew is not something she can just forget about and although what she did was wrong, you can’t help feeling sorry for her. Although I didn’t agree with all Poppy’s decisions, I felt she was a very real character with just too much going on.
I adored Betty though! Overcoming the challenges in her early married days, she is plucky and resilient and a great support to Poppy, Stuart and their children
There were so many threads to this book – thrilling and exciting and even when you think everything is all wrapped up, there are still one or two surprises. A great read!
Thank you to Ellie at Penguin for the proof copy and for inviting me on the bookstagram tour.
About the author
Jane Corry is a former magazine journalist who spent three years working as the writer-in-residence of a high security prison for men. This often hair-raising experience helped inspire her Sunday Times-bestselling psychological thrillers, My Husband’s Wife, Blood Sisters, The Dead Ex and I Looked Away, which have been published in more than 35 countries. Jane was a tutor in creative writing at Oxford University and is a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph and My Weekly magazine.