Monday, December 31, 2012

The Playdate

The Playdate
Author: Louise Millar
Atria / Emily Bestler Books, 2012
379 pages

The Playdate is a psychological thriller and the first novel by London-based Louise Millar. I discovered it by surfing the top 'crime, thrillers and mystery' books on the Amazon UK web site, and read a positive review on one of the UK book blogs I follow. When I saw that my local library had a copy, I decided to give it a try.

The book focuses on three female neighbors: Callie, Suzy, and Debs. Callie is a single mom with a young daughter, Rae, who has a congenital heart condition. Suzy, an American, lives across the street with her three young boys and often-absent husband. They've been neighbors and friends for a couple of years and often walk the kids to school together or child-sit for each other.

Then Debs moves in next door to Suzy, just as Callie decides to go back to work and put Rae in an after-school program. Debs is a bit on the odd side. As the story is told (each chapter from the perspective of either Callie, Suzy, or Debs) we slowly begin to realize things aren't always as they seem. Everyone has their secrets, and one of these women simply cannot be trusted. But which one? I'll leave it at that.

The Playdate was different in that two of the characters were mothers of young children who were actually focused on daily child-rearing duties. In other words, they were ordinary people with no nannies (and for all intents and purposes, no partners) to help them out. In a way, this was refreshing, yet at times seemed just a bit too real for me. Yet, as I mused to a friend while reading The Playdate: "For some reason I can't stop reading it. It's like I'm spellbound."

Spellbound I was. And I was satisfied with the ending. So there it is, the last book I read in 2012! Happy New Year, everyone. I hope 2013 will bring lots of good books your way! :)