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The opening chapter foretells the end by detailing a life-sentence for murder, the mystery of the book is what happened? How does a neighbourhood friendship degenerate to such a level?

On the day Martha Frazer moved into Mulberry Close, Jennie, her neighbour was captivated this heavily pregnant and full of life young woman. After all Jennie had been the first occupant of Mulberry Close, an aspirational group of executive lodges, close to what soon becomes a sink estate, has already assumed a territorial attitude. As the two women got on with their lives first as wives, and then as mothers, Martha with her large group of friends and laissez-fait attitude appears to be everything Jennie is not, but nevertheless the two women’s lives soon become intertwined.

Told in alternating chapters each picking up the narrative by using the last line of the previous chapter to start the next

‘And I think she never learned how to love.’

Although the words used are the same, the meaning behind them illustrates the completely different outlook on life that the two women have.

As the book isn’t told in chronological order, the reader will soon be in no doubt that Jennie’s early admiration for the laid-back Martha soon turned to jealousy and obsession, but then, Martha’s life isn’t the trouble-free existence that Jennie believes it is either. The tension is raised by the fact that everything described is only too believable, the children playing together whilst their mothers exchange confidences over a glass of wine. Petty childhood arguments diffused by fraught mothers while something dark bubbles beneath the surface. Shared holidays with other friends which only serve to highlight not only the difference between the parents but also their offspring, all the while Martha’s attitude fluctuates between sympathy and frustrations with her neighbour.

This review has my firm recommendation for any lover of psychological thrillers in a domestic setting. If you want to ponder, as I did, what would I do? Well this is the book for you. Without a doubt this is one of the darkest of any of the domestic dramas I have read.
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on 27 November 2004
I am a huge Gillian White fan, having read all of her books at least once. Second and third readings often reveal even more depth, but as another reviewer said, the brilliance in White's writing is that there is huge scope for your own imagination to build up an image of the characters.
'Copycat' on the surface is about two friends and neighbours who become victims of their reliance on each other, and it is hard to sympathise with one over the other. At first it seems a dark and unlikely tale, but I can guarantee that you will never again proceed into a friendship with your neighbours without caution! It is very believable and gave me quite a lot of insight into the misery of mental illness and behavioural psychology. When you have read 'Copycat' I would recommend that you go back and re-read Gillian White's other books. 'Chain Reaction' is absolutely brilliant and you have a whole host of deeply disturbed characters to absorb you. Come on Ms White, can't wait for another one .....!
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on 17 October 2003
Having read almost all Gillian White's novels (some of which I have enjoyed more than others), I have to say this is the best yet. I read it in less than 48 hours, no mean feat as it's actually quite a chunky book.
The characters are brilliantly described; Gillian White has the skill of leaving just enough description to your own imagination, so that you can unconsciously fill in the details and make the characters your own.
Martha and Jennie are close friends...or at least, that's what one of them believes. This tale of love and obsession is drawn from a real-life case which ended, like the story, in tragedy. It is a brilliant depiction of what it feels like to be obsessed with another human being. The portrayal of the obsessive mind tormenting its owner is excellently told.
I would heartily recommend this novel to both general readers and also those working within the field of psychiatry.
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Tells the story of an obsessive friendship between two women, Jenny and Martha who begin as neighbours, become friends, then rivals, then develop a love-hate relationship.

It's a novel about how things go wrong between them rather than one that keeps you in suspense about what will happen. Almost the first line of the novel, in a prologue narrated from prison, makes clear that eventually one of the central characters will murder the other. It doesn't make clear who kills who. In the subsequent chapters, supposedly based on "edited extracts from the diary of the victim" alternating with "transcripts of statements by the accused" the perspective switches between that of Jennie and that of Martha.

When they first meet, as new mothers who move into adjacent houses, Jennie admires and is jealous of Martha - of her house, gorgeous husband, apparent success in society and as a mother. But then the roles begin to reverse - Jennie becomes more successful as Martha's life falls apart. And the obsession on both sides becomes more and more dangerous ...

Interesting and well crafted but a bit sad and depressing. The author also leaves to the reader's imagination to deduce in several important matters what is actually going on. Those readers who like to be able to use their own imagination will probably appreciate this, those who like to be told exactly what has happened should leave this book alone.
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on 25 February 2015
Oh dear. I so wish I hadn't bought this book. If you like the endless boring details of a housewife's life - buy this book. If you like fantastical unrealistic behaviour that no one in their right mind would put up with, buy this book. If you want a disappointing ending (won't give a spoiler incase you fall for the other reviews and waste your time and money and buy this book)
To summarise the plot drags on endlessly, and was very tedious. I struggled to pick up this book knowing I was going to be bored by yet another day in a boring life. The story is essentially about two sets of neighbours and their families and how their lives interact, specifically about the relationship between the two housewives, one of which has a number of psychological issues. As the book begins with the ending, you know where the story is going, and the tension builds.... that's about the best I can say. I will never get this week of my life back, when I could have been reading something interesting with a good ending!
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on 7 March 2015
A compelling if rather depressing read. Martha and Jenny are next door neighbours and the story is narrated in alternating chapters by the two women. Initially the shy and timid Jenny is obsessed by the more confident Martha who is everything she would like to be and she craves Martha's love. However as the book goes on over a period of about ten years their relationship becomes far more complex and quite dark. My main problem with the book was that I failed to empathise with either Martha or Jenny or indeed any other character except possibly Jenny’s husband Graham. It was also rather long. Still an interesting read and I shall probably try another book by Gillian White. (less)
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on 14 May 2014
I bought this book, despite being unsure about it after reading the sample on my Kindle, simply because the other reviews gave such glowing praise for this book. I wish I hadn't.
This book is a psychological thriller and the plot centres on the two main characters, Martha and Jennie, who are neighbours. There is a dangerous jealousy between these two women although they are very different in nature. They become obsessed with each other. There was a lot of unrealised potential, I felt, as this idea could have given a gripping read. Sadly, in my opinion there is no suspense and instead of having a climax, this novel was merely an episodic account of incidents in the neighbours' lives.
The prologue was good: one woman kills the other. And the reader believes from the start that the whole point of the book is to discover who killed whom.
After about 8% of the book, I really couldn't have cared less who was murdered as I badly wanted to strangle both women myself!
I forced myself to read all of it, but I felt cheated at the end: if you manage to read it all, you'll see why! But mainly I feel ripped off as this was quite an expensive book and it simply wasn't worth it.
This is the first Gillian White novel I have read, and I understand that at least one of her novels has been televised. Maybe I will try another novel by this author one day, but it won't be any time soon.
I wouldn't recommend this book.
If you want a good psychological thriller, try The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald, Don't Stand so Close by Luana Lewis, Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Hayes, The Sleeper by Emily Barr, One Step too Far by Tina Seskis, Only the Innocent by Rachel Abbot, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton or Cuckoo by Julia Crouch. I would give all these books five stars.
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on 1 May 2014
Ooh I liked this , it was intriguing we'll written and with each page there was added layer of building tension,
Totally a book u will not be able to put down,there are lots of novels with similar themes but this is different in that it starts at the beginning and you journey throughout years with them , I can understand the pressure and the mounting madness ,the codependency was marked at the end and satisfying,read n enjoy
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on 21 March 2016
I love this book, it is the first one I have read by Gillian White. Although the characters aren't particularly likeable they are very engaging. I loved the way the book was written with alternative chapters from Jennie and Martha. I found it hard to put down as you end one chapter I was dying to start the next as you get each persons perspective of the story. I would certainly recommend this book it was a very interesting read about obsessive love.
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on 1 March 2015
I really enjoyed this book - in the contemporary fiction category in my opinion. I could relate to both main female characters and sympathise with both, which is always good.
It was one of those books you are anxious to get back to when 'life' interrupts!
As time went on my empathy with one 'side' diminished only to grow again when events took over for the other 'side'. I don't want to spoil this book for anyone wanting to read it so won't say more.
If you like modern stories which are not chick-lit you should enjoy this :)
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