Saturday 18 April 2015

Blog Tour: When We Were Friends by Tina Seskis.

Title: When We Were Friends.
Author: Tina Seskis.
Publisher: Penguin.
Genre: Women's Fiction.
Publication Date: April 23, 2015.
Source: Review copy.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK

It had always been the six of us.

Since we met at university twenty-five years ago, we'd faced everything together. Break-ups and marriages, motherhood and death. We were closer than sisters; the edges of our lives bled into each other.

But that was before the night of the reunion. The night of exposed secrets and jagged accusations. The night when everything changed.

And then we were five.

Character Profile: Renee

Renee is the rock chick of the group. She's witty and sassy, with a biting sense of humour and a good heart that she sometimes keeps rather hidden. She has never forgiven her mother, who walked out on her and her father when Renee was just four, to move to Paris with her lover. Renee therefore almost certainly has abandonment issues, which is perhaps why she has never been good at holding down a relationship or a job. She currently works in admin in the housing department of Camden council, but could have done so much more, maybe in design or fashion. Renee has dark hair and cat-like green eyes and has always been stunning-looking - although she used to be punky at college, and dyed her fringe various different colours over the years. She is single, apart from a long-standing affair with a married man called Ed, and although secretly she would love to meet her Prince Charming and settle down, for some reason she finds it very difficult to trust men...

When We Were Friends is the tense and suspenseful story of six women, Sissy, Siobhan, Renee, Natasha, Camilla and Juliette, whose friendship twenty five years after university is now composed of secrets, lies and deceit. The majority of the book focuses on their reunion, for a picnic in Hyde Park, near the Serpentine lake and it was so powerful and compelling, I really loved this part to the story. The tension keeps building and building and then realisation hits that none of their lives are ever going to be the same again. But what really happened at the Serpentine that night?

Six main characters in a book is a lot but I was surprisingly not confused reading about them. Tina builds up a wonderful profile for each character through bringing the book back and forth in time, so we can learn about their individual lives – the relationships and slowly the secrets that turn their reunion into such a mess. No one character is faultless and so none of the characters are impossible not to like, but you do find yourself (or at least I did) liking or identifying with some of their traits and feeling for them. I have since read that When We Were Friends was previously published under a different name and with seven friends, not six. I actually thought there was one character here that didn’t really add anything and it felt like she was just making up the numbers in a way. So maybe I missed something with the use of her character but the other five were developed brilliantly.

The book starts off at quite a slow pace as it builds the scene and creates the characters. I really enjoyed this book from the first page and loved seeing the characters created right in front of my eyes. Tina writes such stunning, multi-layered characters with memorable personalities and all of them are a bit screwed up, to say the least, which makes things interesting. I hope other readers who are averse to a slow start persevere with this book because it’s really worth it. The chapters are short and snappy, making When We Were Friends a thrilling, quick to read book. I read the near 400 pages in one go and I’m still thinking of the characters now, and the way everything turned out. I was gripped with the narration and all the mystery and I wanted the reunion to go on for so much longer because I loved reading it!

There’s a lot of depth to When We Were Friends and it was very intriguing and fascinating. Some aspects were quite like a thriller and I was gripped with the concept which was so different to anything I’ve read before. It’s definitely put me off any plans for a reunion in the future. As the truth began to unfold, I was waiting with bated breath for the one last reveal and to the very last page, Tina Seskis had me hanging off her every word.

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  1. this books sounds like a great read, i like it when its eas to follow alot of main characters! :)

    fingers crossed for the give-away

    em over at xx

  2. This book sounds right up my street. adding it to my goodreads list now

  3. Sounds like an interesting read.


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