This will no doubt be cast as chick lit but there’s a lot of astute psychology on show as three very different women, friends since childhood, are pulled and pushed in tangled ways. Aimee, Melinda and Lou have a New Years Eve letting go ceremony, setting sky lanterns afloat in the night. One bursts into flames and minutes later, a small plane crashes with horrible consequences. From then on we are drawn deeply into the life of a small Victorian town and twists and turns arrive with dizzying frequency. They just keep coming, right up to the end. Indeed, the book would possibly be more excellent with one or two fewer revelations. Aimee is happily married to Nick, with two teenagers. They run a boutique winery. Aimee is the one most convinced that the sky lanterns played a part in the tragedy. Melinda is the iconic, ambitious, self-made woman. Her company is about to issue an IPO. (Author Brandy Scott is a business journalist.) Lou is the poor single mum whose 16 yo daughter is a nightmare which is about to get worse. As the novel effortlessly progresses we get the backstories of these and other characters plus some serious fights between the three friends as they sort through the moral complexities of their situation. They aren’t the only ones who have to face some hard truths. Not only are the characters particularly convincing, the tenor of life in a small rural town that is avowedly anti-tourist is exquisitely conveyed. It’s the sort of place where you can’t keep secrets and everyone has to live with a reputation. Scott’s research on wineries, aircraft, medical matters and business is impeccable. She writes well and the book is gripping enough that I had to read it straight through. But for the caveat above I’d be giving it 5 stars. And BTW: if you didn’t know that sky lanterns are now illegal, be warned.
Not Bad People by Brandy Scott is a slow burn of a book but one that is definitely worth sticking with. It is a long book but you need to keep going until the end. There are so many themes running through this story of friendship, shame, guilt, obsession, power. It is set in a small town where everybody knows everybody elses business but they all have their secrets that they are desperate to keep hidden. I enjoyed how these secrets were slowly revealed and how all their lives intertwined.
3 women - Aimee, Melinda and Lou - friends since childhood and always there for each other. Its New Years Eve and they decide to let off sky lanterns from the balcony with their resolutions for the year inside. There are fireworks going off as well and then they see a spark in the sky. The next day it is reported in the papers that a light plane with a man and his teenage son crashed the night before in the same region. Aimee immediately believes that it is their fault for letting off the lanterns. Lou has her own issues as a single mum to a teenager. Melinda is a successful business woman that on the outside appears selfish and self centred. As the story moves along we learn more about all of these womens pasts and presents that all comes together towards the end.
Reading this book it is hard not to draw parallels with your own life and experiences. I felt sorry for these characters as well as angry. So many of the experiences are honest and could be anybody.
Thanks to Harper Collins and Netgalley for my advanced copy of this book to read. All opinions are my own and are in no way biased.
I loved this book! Before reading it, I heard a few people compare it to Liane Moriarty’s work, and I can see why. It has a similar style, with relatable Australian female lead characters. But personally I’d say it’s in a league of it’s own!
The story is primarily told from 3 different female view points, and I was able to relate to every one of them in a different way. There’s the single ambitious career woman, the poor single mum, and the comfortable house wife.
The writing is also full of so much wit and humour; there were a few laugh out loud moments. This book seems to balance it’s different themes so superbly - at times you feel the grief, and then you can relate to the women’s struggles, and then suddenly you’re laughing again.
It also wasn’t predictable at all. Towards the end, I was so keen to finish I was trying to steal any minute I could during my day to find out what happens. It was a little slow in the first half (although still enjoyable to read with the sometimes emotional and sometimes hilarious writing), but by the halfway point I was well and truly hooked.
I look forward to seeing what else this new Australian author has to offer!