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I bought this book a short while ago now and decided to make a start on it last week. It is classed as chick lit but, the plot isn't all about romance so after reading another book before it that was romance based, I decided to change themes and move onto something that had a bit more of an intense storyline to it.
Adele Parks is an English author who has now written 13 books with another due out soon. She has also written various short stories. She published her first book in 2000 and every book she has written has been in the Times top ten best sellers. Her books have also been translated into 25 languages which is very impressive indeed!
Steph and Pip have been friends for thirty years ever since school and it has always been Steph who has been the calm, solid, dependable one whilst Pip is hot hot-headed and outgoing. Selfless and trusting, they have been through everything together and have been there for each other through thick and thin.
So when Steph asks Pip to lie to police about her whereabouts to conceal two scandalous secrets to protect her family, Pip is overwhelmed. It is normally her who is asking for help in a crisis and she isn't used to being the one getting asked for help, especially not from the one person she relies on to always be the straight one in their friendship.
Steph's perfect life will be torn apart unless Pip agrees to this lie, but lying will also jeopardise everything Pip has recently achieved after years of struggle and it is a huge ask from Steph. What will Pip do and what would you do in her situation?
Steph and Pip are the main characters of this book and they couldn't be more different really! Steph is the one who is organised, dependable and always there to offer assistance to those that need it whether it be her own family, Pip or even the neighbours. She is on hand for everybody and is always caring and a good wife. She tries to juggle so much and be there for everybody but, at the same time, she also comes across as a tiny bit boring. I can't really say what makes me think this, but I suppose it might be because she doesn't really do anything spontaneously.
Pip on the other hand is a dis-organised mess most of the time and relies on Steph for a lot. However, she is also kind and caring towards her friend and is also always there for her. She is the one that is more outgoing and is the chalk to Steph's cheese. I guess I would say I liked her character more simply because she seemed more like the woman next door that is down to earth.
The author has created side characters too although the main story is about Steph and Pip and all these other people are substantial to make the story what it is. They have all been well written and add something to the book without taking too much away from the main plot. In fact, there are a few chapters designated to one of these side characters however, I will not talk about that person as they are not mentioned on the blurb!
As per usual, I bought my book in Tesco on the multi-buy offer so I paid £7 for two books making this brand new book just £3.50. I think this is a huge bargain for a book that has a RRP of £6.99 on its own.
I have always enjoyed books by this author and this one is no exception. I find that she does romance well but, also with a bit more nitty gritty and this book is a good example of that. There is certainly romance and love is mentioned but, the main story is not really just about hearts and flowers at all. She has a great way of making the book come alive and making the characters interesting to read about and this book is certainly no exception.
When I picked this one out from my shelves to read next, I knew it would not be just about love and I wanted that to be the case. I can honestly say I wasn't disappointed and in fact it is a very good read indeed. From the moment I started reading, I found I was able to quickly get into the storyline and enjoy it. I didn't want to put it down and kept grabbing opportunities to pick it up even if it was literally just to read a page!
I will be recommending this book and I cannot wait to get stuck into her next one whenever that may end up being. I do have one to read, I just like to read different authors or genres as I go through my collection of un-read books!
I do like Adele Parks' books and I think this one is my favourite. I enjoy her laidback style. She has written many books which I have read but this one was very enjoyable in particular.
Quite a large book at over 400 pages this book kept my interest from page one and left me disappointed when it ended.
The story tells about two best friends; Pip and Steph. Steph is usually very in control whilst Pip is quite the opposite but then Pip finds herself in trouble and turns to her best friend for help. This is not just a small favour that Steph is asking of Pip but a huge one which could cause great trouble. Suddenly this request causes the women to evaluate their friendships and ask themselves just how far would they go to help each other.
What I really liked about this book was that it pulled me in almost immediately and I found myself wondering what I would do in their situations. The way it was written was very good at making you want to keep reading, I wanted to know what they were going to do and how it would pan out.
There were heavy chunks of text in this book with little dialogue between characters so at times it was quite difficult to read as I like to have dialogue but the benefit of this meant that I could really get to know the characters as it was very descriptive. I did feel as though I could relate to them and this is a sign of a good writer.
I really enjoyed reading this, I really wanted to carry on reading it into the night and would look forward to picking it up again once I'd put it down. It really did have me turning the pages. I think it would be an ideal book to read if you're on holiday as it's quite light but also got a good amount of meat to it to keep you interested and absorbed.
Definitely one of Adele Parks' best books.
I have enjoyed reading Adele Park's books for a few years now and I've always found them very entertaining and easy to read. I've just finished her latest, 'About Last Night', which I loved from start to finish even though it seemed a bit of a departure from some of her earlier books. 'About Last Night' tackles the weightier subjects of adultery, betrayal and loyalty, and is a little more sinister at times than what I am used to from this author.
'About Last Night' is about two women, Steph and Pip, now in their late thirties, who have been best friends for almost as long as they both can remember! Their lives are very different though. Steph seems to have it all with a good looking and hard working husband, three lovely sons and a fantastic house. In contrast, Pip has been unlucky in love as her daughter Chloe's father abandoned them both not soon after she was born and they live in a cramped rented flat hardly knowing how they are going to be able to make ends meet. Pip has lurched from one crisis to the next always turning to Steph for support and advice. On the other hand, Steph has never needed Pip for anything other than to be her friend.
However, all this changes one night when Steph's life starts crumbling before her eyes. Suddenly she needs Pip to help her and she is not asking for support or advice - she is asking Pip to lie. It becomes a test of their friendship as Pip struggles between doing what her friend asks and doing what she knows is right.
I won't say anything more about the plot but it is an extremely absorbing and intriguing read from start to finish and I could not predict how it was all going to turn out. 'About Last Night' is a real page turner and I hardly wanted to let it out of my sight let alone put it down.
'About Last Night' is extremely well written and easy to read. I liked the fact that most of the story took place over the course of only five days and this made the story very well paced. I also liked the way that Adele Parks was continually dropping hints about what might or might not happen. This is done in such a clever way that ensures that the plot is never predictable. The characters are very well created too. Because I really liked both Steph and Pip, I felt that I could sympathise with both of them and the predicaments they found themselves in.
The theme of betrayal is very strong in this book. There are two betrayals that occur and both times I couldn't help wondering what I would do in similar circumstances and also hoping that I would never have to find out. Overall this is a compulsive and thought provoking read that left me definitely wanting more. I wholeheartedly recommend 'About Last Night' which has left me firmly wanting to read more books from Adele Parks.
The hardback copy of About Last Night is available on Amazon for £8.24 (July 2011).
This review has previously appeared on www.curiousbookfans.co.uk through which I was very grateful to receive a pre-release copy from the publishers.
Stephanie Amstell and Phillippa Foxton have been best friends forever. Steph has always been the stronger one and Pip has just stumbled alongside her, despite the ups and downs of their own lives. But when Pip receives an odd request from Steph, to say that she was with Pip one night when Pip knows that she wasn't, Pip has to decide which is more important - telling the truth or protecting her best friend from something that she has no idea about. Steph has found that her perfect life has started to crumble around her and is relying on Pip to help it stay perfect - but can she trust her best friend in the world to keep her secret? Will Pip and Steph's friendship be able to survive the test of trust it is about to face, and what exactly did happen last night?
Despite being a huge chick lit fan, I only read my first Adele Parks book last year, called Men I've Loved Before, and I really enjoyed it. I had previously tried to read Parks' book and couldn't get into them, and I'm not sure what changed last year but I couldn't put that book down. When I received a copy of Parks' new book through the mail, I was quite excited to read it and see if she would be able to make me enjoy another of her books! I quite like the cover, although the minty green is a little bland, and for me there's a little too much text and not enough illustrations, but either way, I got stuck in and couldn't wait to read it.
Let me start by saying that if you aren't a fan of books heavy on the narrative, then this book won't be your cup of tea. There is barely any speech between the characters in the book, instead using a third person narrative to tell the tale and voice the thoughts of the characters. This was a quite effective tool, allowing the reader to see the bigger picture of the story yet also get up close and personal with the characters, but personally I would have preferred a little more speech and interaction in there, and this is why I've knocked a star off the rating of this one. I found it picked up pace a little more when characters spoke to each other, and was a little slow in the narrative parts but it was still enjoyable.
The book relies on the reader wanting to find out more about the mess going on in Stephanie's life, and her judgments and whether or not she makes the right ones, so from that perspective it's an interesting read. I did like the character of Stephanie - she is a woman trying to run the perfect home and make everything go smoothly with her children and the relationship with her husband Julian. But when she finds out something about Julian that makes her question everything, Stephanie does something out of character and calls on friend Pip for help, asking for her to cover for her. Pip was my favourite one in the book - she's easy to relate to, a single mother to a daughter, a talented textiles designer but unlucky in love, and suddenly very put upon by her best friend.
As I was reading, I couldn't help but think what I would do if I was in that situation, in both Steph's and Pip's shoes. The moral dilemmas are present throughout the book, and I didn't see a lot of the things that did occur in the book coming which was great, as sometimes these stories can become a tad predictable. Parks keeps throwing the book in one direction and veering off in another, and this had the effect of keeping me hooked as I wanted to find out what turn Steph and Pip would take next. There's a bit of guesswork along the way too, and it took me a while to make a link that was probably meant to be obvious from the start but suddenly jumped out at me, leaving me thinking "Oh right!" lol. I didn't expect the ending either, and it's fab to pick up a book and have something totally different happen that what you had expected from the start, so full credit to Parks for really delivering on that side. Another interesting point for me is that the time frame of the story is only 5 days, yet Parks crams a lot into that time and consequently, everything feels very "real time" as you're reading, much like the TV show 24 actually! This added an authenticity to it that I really enjoyed, and keeps you on edge as you know things have to start happening sooner rather than later!
It's a big chunk of a book, being that it's nearly 400 pages and in hardback format, but it certainly makes it a book you will want to curl up with of an evening. There are some great characters in here you'll be rooting for, a story that keeps you hooked because you NEED to find out how things will turn out and who will make what decision. As I previously mentioned, for me it was a little too heavy on the narrative and needed breaking up in parts a tad, but as that's my only fault for the whole book, I think that's pretty good going! I would definitely recommend this book, it was a joy to read and I love how Parks uncovers the story bit by bit, enticing you that bit more to keep reading! Fantastic.
ISBN: 978-0755371297. Published by Headline Review on 23rd June 2011. Pages: 416. RRP: £12.99.
Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitreviews.com
Thank you for reading.