BOOK REVIEW - A SIMPLE FAVOUR, DARCEY BELL
A SIMPLE FAVOUR is an absolute treat of a book and for a debut novel, remarkably polished. Punch after surprising punch is delivered to the reader who resultantly never quite knows who to root for. Considering that a child has been abandoned by his mother, A SIMPLE FAVOUR stays well clear of portraying maudlin maternal emotions and instead examines what happens when someone decides to put their best foot forward in their new and changed circumstances. Stephanie’s character set in a different book would be just as chilling, and the familiar environment of home and hearth is anything but comforting in this surprising and gripping novel.
Read without guilt! A SIMPLE FAVOUR scoots along at a breakneck space and is anything but predictable.
Stephanie, a widow and active mummy blogger, has fully immersed herself in creating her own online space where she reaches out to “the sisterhood” for validation and adoration. Stephanie adores her only child, a six-year-old son, but a life occupied by endless maternal domesticity, Stephanie freely acknowledges, is not always completely satisfying. The disappearance of Stephanie’s dear friend, fellow school mother Emily, propels the mundane arrangement of an overextended playdate into the crashing together of two volatile families, both scrabbling to find out the truth.
Stephanie invites you in with a sly air, promising lots of secrets to be revealed. The FOMO world of mummy bloggers is put out for critical review; that often repulsive over sharing of a life online that invites the whole unknown world in to comment, commiserate, or just plain slag off your decisions. The sheen of Stephanie’s desperation to be liked by her audience is ever present and unsettling , serving very well to ratchet up the tension when the full time mother needs to make delicate choices about what to reveal online about her present circumstances. How will it play with her online audience that she has commenced a relationship with the husband of her missing friend?