This is the second novel by Emma Burstall, and whilst she is definitely going to make a name for herself (if she continues) in the chick-lit category, I would go as far as to say she is one above this. It is not a trashy chick lit - it deals with real issues in the real world.
This story is centred like her debut novel, around a group of female friends. Becca, Evie and Nic are all part of a local creative writing group, having met when their children were toddlers, however the creative writing group is the vehicle which draws all the other characters out and that as you read all is not as it seems.
You can actually see within the first 100 pages of the book, exactly what is going to happen in the future and also what has gone on in the past. (I could say more, but it would reveal too much of the plot which would spoil it for any potential readers. These include all the characters and how they relate to each other. However, knowing this information does not detract from the book, it is like watching events unfold in slow-motion, and there is nothing you as the reader can do anything about it, apart from keep reading and hope that it will work out right, that justice will be served, that those who are in love remain so, and nothing falls apart.
Unfortunately life is not like this and I think that Emma Burstall has written a book in the here and now. One that deals with real issues that we here about in the media nearly every day. Also how the media can be used to drag things up from the past and control the present. Becca lives in fear of the media, because of her past despite her succeeding so highly in her career. Nic has to suffer at the hands of the media because of her own actions and those of her husband and is simply lost in life. Evie is caught in the middle of everything and everyone, her friends, her ex husband, her children and she does not know which way to turn for the better.
All the supporting characters, Carol another rather mad attendee of the creative writing group (look for the tips in writing your own novel scattered throughout the book) her rather odd sister Zelda, who actually by the end of the book, annoyed me immensely but I cannot explain why. Alan who is so caught up in his work, or so everyone believes, Tom says he can deal with Becca's past but can he really live that life. Tip - ignore the list of characters at the front of the book, this made me so confused, that it was easier to just read the book and not refer to the list, because it all made sense to me by just reading it and I never needed to refer back to it.
Emma Burstall is a good discovery really writing in the here and now. I look forward to the next book from this author's hand and cannot recommend this one and her debut novel more highly.