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The Girlfriend Hardcover – 30 January 2018
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From the Publisher
Meet the Author of THE GIRLFRIEND
What Made You Want To Write This Book?
A notion struck me one day: what might be the one thing that would keep two lovers apart who were supposed to be together? That would set them on completely different paths for the rest of their lives? And the answer that came back was: if one of them thought the other was dead. At the time I had recently become a mother and was experiencing fierce, tiger-like waves of protectiveness towards my new baby, and a character was born: a mother who would protect her child, regardless of what it took, if she was convinced he would come to harm if she did nothing.
The more I thought about it, the more it raised question and debate with me; just how far would a mother go to protect her child? And how would she justify it? Protecting your child is such a powerful, animalistic thing to do and I also wondered how anyone could not? I was excited to explore this conundrum further but then there was also such a strong counterpoint to this tiger mom – Cherry.
In my late teens, for a short while I worked in a high street bank. It was mind-numbing work in the back office, processing the daily transactions by literally typing in the day’s debits and credits into a large machine. It was something I’d fallen into as I desperately needed to earn some money and the expectation was that I would have to remain in the ‘machine room’ for a considerable time before I might expect to be promoted. Soon after I started, a graduate joined us on a Fast Track scheme and I’d watch as she spent only few weeks working in each section of the bank, moving swiftly on after getting a taster of each area, and was exempt from working out what I was beginning to see as my ‘sentence’. She was being groomed for a high-level job, which she would get after only six months – and all because she had a university degree. If you couldn’t afford to study for a degree you had to spend years on each desk and crawl up the promotional ladder – regardless of how intelligent, capable and ambitious you were. This struck me as deeply unfair, particularly as it transpired I had achieved much better grades at school than she had. Cherry is smart – probably smarter than most girls her age and yet, if she were in this scenario, she too would be held back – just because she couldn’t afford to attend university. I wanted to create a character that looked at ways of bypassing the system, of being intelligent enough to educate herself in areas that made her fit into the world she wanted to belong to. And I wanted her to come up with a clever plan that would make her leap many places up the snakes and ladders board of life, and in honesty, who could blame her?
How Did You Decide On The Title For Your Novel?
This book has had a number of titles along its journey. It started as THE LIE, but around the time of sending the MS out to publishers, another book with the same title was quite prominent in the market and so my agent suggested we change it to create some distance. So it became CHERRY (and I had visions of a luscious fruit on the cover, perhaps with a hologram showing a rotten side – I had restrictions on budget!)… but then my UK publishers, Pan Macmillan, pointed out quite rightly that this title made the book sound like it might be a YA novel. And they cleverly came up with THE GIRLFRIEND.
Do you work out the whole book before you start writing?
I always have a rough idea of where the story is going for the entire novel (but don’t necessarily know the ending) and will break the beats down further as I come closer to them. I like a book to evolve as I go along – the characters will often determine just what happens.
Who’s your favorite villain in literature?
I know this is a popular choice but I think Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley is utterly beguiling and strangely has the ability to raise strong empathetic feelings in a reader, even though he’s a killer.
Who’s your favorite hero in literature?
I’ve recently read Bernadine Evaristo’s Mr Loverman – an absolutely enchanting and hilarious story of 74-year-old Antiguan born Barrington Jeddiah Walker. It’s a story that explores Britain’s older Caribbean community with its cultural myths and fallacies and it’s both controversial and courageous.
How’s your own relationship with your mother-in-law?
Put it this way, there’s a body under the patio. Only joking! She’s wonderful.
Meet the Cast of THE GIRLFRIEND
LAURA, the Mother
Laura grew up privileged, but longed to spend more time with her busy, affluent parents. This pushed her to have a closer relationship with her son, even as her own marriage begins to crack. She has a very successful career in television production, and has even won a few awards for her work. When Daniel tells her about his new relationship, she is ecstatic, and can’t wait to meet the woman who won his heart. But after meeting Cherry, Laura starts to notice little things. There is something about the possessive way Cherry touches Daniel, and inconsistencies in the stories Cherry shares.
Before she knows it, Laura finds herself making a choice and telling an unforgiveable lie.
DANIEL, her Son
Daniel is the only living child of Laura, and her husband Howard. He studied medicine at Cambridge, and after returning from his worldwide travels he sets his sights on moving out of his childhood home. He meets Cherry while searching for an apartment, and after purchasing the first property she shows him, he asks her out on a date. He has a devil-may-care attitude, and loves classical music.
He finds himself caught between the love for his mother, and the love for his new girlfriend Cherry.
CHERRY, his Girlfriend
Cherry grew up in a low-income neighborhood, but that only helped feed her ambition. She’s fluent in French, Italian, and Spanish. When she wasn’t given the same opportunities because of her background, she studied the area, embellished her resume slightly, and earned a realtor job at a top agency. She hides part of her background, because she fears Laura’s judgement. She isn’t going to let anything, or anyone harm her relationship with Daniel. After a serious accident, she unearths an unforgiveable lie.
"One of the best books I've read in a long, long time. I loved The Girlfriend!"
--Lisa Jackson, New York Times bestselling author
"The Girlfriend is a taut psychological thriller, the evil chillingly drawn. Every character is layered and beautifully twisted. Makes me consider running background checks on any potential spouses my children bring home!"
--Karen Rose, New York Times bestselling author
"A juicy thriller and utterly compulsive reading."
--Jenny Blackhurst, author of How I Lost You
"An original and chilling portrayal of twisted relationships."
--Debbie Howells, author of The Bones of You
About the Author
- Publisher : Kensington Publishing Corporation (30 January 2018)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 368 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1496712463
- ISBN-13 : 978-1496712462
- Dimensions : 16 x 3.3 x 23.62 cm
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Top reviews from Australia
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Daniel has a new girlfriend, Cherry. Cherry will do anything to better her situation in life.
Daniel's mum Laura, lies to Cherry about something and it's "Game on"!
This was a pretty intense read. From the get-go, the plot just reeled me in. I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next. I don't think there was any part of this book that had me bored or which I disliked. Plus, the writing style was effortless and made for a quick read.
The premise of the book was based on the relationship between a girlfriend and the boyfriend's mother. Both MCs Laura and Cherry were very manipulative women. Daniel, essentially, was a victim caught amongst all their scheming and lies. However, as the story unfolds we catch an even darker glimpse into Cherry's psychic and it becomes evident that she is quite narcissistic which was scary. As a person who was born poor, we see that she has a hidden agenda pursuing Daniel and we see the cracks in her persona. While Laura has lost her firstborn child and is quite the obsessive parent. Her relationship with her son is very unnatural and she seeks to influence his life a lot. From the first meeting, both women don't hit it off with each other. What ensues is a war in which both women try to gain an upper hand in Daniel's life and the effects are devastating.
The book is a rollercoaster of a ride. It's dark and atmospheric. The plot reveals are shocking. The story delves into the destructive nature of abusive relationships and how twisted the human mind can be. I thought that although the book contained plenty of cliches, the premise was sound and the story was suspenseful. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the characters, their motives, feelings, secrets and their relationship with other minor characters. I also enjoyed reading about the various places such as London, St.Tropez, and Wales. The descriptions were just beautiful and I was transported to these places. I also liked how the author shows the disparity between the rich and the poor. This added depth to the characters backstories and made the plot more complex. Moreover, the ending had me gobsmacked. All in all, a fabulous read and I would thoroughly recommend giving this one a try. :)
Top reviews from other countries
if this really is a bestseller then it can only be because it has been pushed hard by Amazon as it has no intrinsic merit.
The author appears to be some sort of scriptwriter and this reads just like one as there is no characterisation and the plot is farcical and not at all gripping as the advertising puff would have us believe and not thrilling as this demands some level of engagement from the reader.
the only half plausible person is cheryl's mother who makes the most of a minor few appearance but the thought of credulous Daniel set loose on the hospital ward is the only scary thing about this but , no doubt, the sojourns on the cote d'Azur will go down well if she manages to secure the film or tv adaptation that this was clearly aiming for.
What follows is an increasingly fraught battle of wits, tricks and unforgivable lies—a twisting narrative that piles shock upon shock until it’s hard to determine which of the two women is crazier. While I can imagine less mature readers taking against the hyper-possessive, tiger mom Claire, my vote goes to Cherry, the girlfriend, who is the instigator of the feud and a seriously disturbed individual.
It’s a thrilling ride, aided by a slick, easy writing style that makes the book hard to put down. Frances’ characterization is spot on. I totally identified with Claire, who is motivated by a genuine desire to act in the best interests of her son. I’m not sure I wouldn’t be driven to the same extremes if one of my boys brought home a nutter like Cherry, who is as bad as bad gets. Just when you think she couldn’t stoop any lower, she finds another level of depravity.
As many have said, this is exactly the kind of book the expression ‘page turner’ was coined for. If Frances can turn out another like this, I’ll be first in the queue for pre-order.
Thanks for reading my review. I hope you found it helpful. You can find more candid book reviews on my Amazon profile page.