Foursome is the third novel by 'chick-lit' novelist Jane Fallon after the highly successful 'Getting Rid of Matthew' and 'Got You Back.'
It tells the story from the point of Rebecca. She has been part of the titular friendship foursome since her University days - that is her and her husband Daniel, and best friend Isabel and her husband Alex. Now in their late thirties/early forties and with families of their own - their serene relationship as a group is shattered when Alex leaves Isabel, confesses his undying love for Rebecca and then proceeds to court Rebecca's arch nemesis and work colleague Lorna.
Harbouring secrets as well as her own selfish wants and needs, the relationship between Rebecca, Lorna and Alex rapidly begins to unravel leading to a chain of events which affect her marriage, her career and her remaining friendships. Rebecca is also forced to confront her cosy existence and her own selfish reasons for wanting to keep the group together as it always has been.
Plotwise, it is fair to say that this is pretty much in, there are some slightly more unexpected developments towards the end of the film but these have more in common with your average job wish fulfilment fantasies. This is not wholly a criticism though. Fallon is definitely a good writer, even if the story itself is unlikely to set the world on fire.
Characterisation-wise, Fallon's strongest point in this as with her previous book is with the narrator Rebecca. She really does a good line in narcissistic protagonists of whom you can never really be sure just how self-aware they are until something in the story confronts them. As a result of this and because the story is not particularly long or intense, the secondary characters do have a tendency to be quite thinly sketched.
It is certainly not a dull read by any means, but I suppose a lot of your enjoyment is up to how you do respond to the narrator as it is her voice that runs through it and I think that if you take a dislike to her (as is quite likely actually) then you will find this impossible to read.
You can zip through this book quite quickly, once you got into it as it does not really need a massive amount of concentration. The dialogue is pretty snappy and it is actually very funny and sassy for much of it without really giving much in the way of emotional punch.
A lot of the comments that are on the book indicate that it is 'dark' or 'edgy' . Whilst it is certainly not light or fluffy, I wouldn not say that it really has masses in the way of darkness - apart from the obvious ups and downs.
If you have read Fallon's previous books, then you will know what to expect - a well-written pacy enough story which will not trouble your memories too much in the future. I would highly recommend it as a holiday read given the time of year that I am writing this.
Thanks to Tesco's 2 for £7 offer on selected books, and a small selection of books at our local tesco's, I ended up settling on Jane Fallon's foursome, despite never having heard of the author, I'm so glad I did!
~~About the book and author~~
Jane Fallon was born in December 1960, and currently in a relationship with comedian Ricky Gervais, has written both books and for television, including 20thign to do before your 30, and teachers. Foursome is the latest of her 3 books, released in 2010.
Rebecca, Daniel Isabel and Alex form a cosy foursome of friends; Rebecca and Daniel have been together for 20 years, as have Isabel and Alex, until now. Alex unexpectedly leaves his wife and stays with his best friends, the book brings us in with a shell shocked Rebbecca,whom Alex has just declared undying love for. After being rejected, he goes on the rampage, doing his best to destroy the foursome completely apart, Rebecca only wants the group back together. But it appears; this wasn't the first of the many lies surrounding them...
The book is spread over a long period of time, (I think about 5 months); giving great character and plot development. Fallon expertly shows how the one event at the beginning splinters into a huge problem. It's addictive to read each character's story from Rebecca's view! (The phrase, can't put it down is definitely true! After deciding to read a bit before bed, I was still up at 1am reading avidly!) Her character's are great too, though sometimes a bit 2-dimensional, they are very satisfying, particularly colleague from hell Lorna, half of the reason I carried on reading was to see if she got what she deserved! But each character is a bit relatable and very funny!
~~Price and Availability~~
Foursome is available at:
Amazon for £4.81
WHSmith for £3.99 (though may be £7.99 in store)
Waterstones for £5.49
Tesco's for £3.86 (also part of the2 books for £7 deal right now.)
Foursome is a funny read for anyone, though sometimes the characters are a bit stereotypical, it's still enjoyable!
I realised recently that I had a small amount left on my Waterstones card which had been bought for me by my hubby as a birthday present and after getting the balance checked in one of the stores I realised I could pretty much buy a book by only having to pay just over a pound towards it. Of course not one to turn down a new book I went off in search of which one I would get - this took all of about 2 minutes as I literally spotted Jane Fallon's new book foursome on a display and I knew straight away this was the one as I have loved both her other books! I couldn't wait to get started with it!
Jane Fallon has two other books out which are 'Getting rid of Matthew' and 'Got you back' - I completely loved both of these as they were easy to read yet had elements that are true to life. They also had small bits that were quite amusing too so Jane Fallon has succeeded in her books now being classed as those that I would instantly buy without worrying that I wouldn't enjoy her style! Her first book is now also being turned into a film starring Jennifer Anniston which I am really keen to see!
Jane Fallon is an English writer and her partner is none other than Ricky Gervais - she is also known for writing TV programmes such as This Life and Teachers.
Rebecca has long enjoyed her life and how things have turned out as her and her best friend Isabel ended up marrying two best friends Daniel and Alex. They have all been together since University and have gone through their lives sharing everything as a foursome. Holidays, getting married, having children and always being there for each other. However all this changes when Alex decides to leave Isabel and when Rebecca finds out why it turns her perfect foursome world upside down - also things aren't improved when Rebecca's arch enemy at work starts to make a regular appearance in her social life too. Will Rebecca ever be able to get things back to the way they were and once again enjoy being a perfect foursome?
As soon as we read the first chapter we are informed Alex has left Isabel and we also find out why pretty soon too. This really sets the tone for the book as we see how hard it is for Rebecca and how her life seems in turmoil. It also cause plenty of friction as of course her husband is best friends with Daniel and yet she is best friends with Isabel. Pretty soon there are secrets being kept from all sides as we see how a thing like this can effect more than just one person. Rebecca comes across as a decent person which is what I believe Fallon wanted the reader to feel for her but, at the same time she also begins to realise some small faults of her won which she then tries to change. I really like the main character as actually Rebecca is a really nice person overall and what I also liked was that she is the main character in the story and not in fact Isabel who is of course the person who has been dumped. This brings us onto Isabel who we don't see as much of in the book except for where appropriate. However she is written in as a stereotypical person who has been dumped as obviously hurt and wanting to do the best by her children. From what I did read of her parts I liked.
Alex is the character I would say is one of the other main ones as he of course is the cause of the split and the whole story of the book! He does come across as selfish, self centred, lazy and also. I didn't like him at all and I think that is the whole point! Fallon has made him a character that when you read about, you want to feel cross with, especially how he is supposed to care about his best friend and wife and yet treats them horribly throughout the book!
The other two main characters as of course Rebecca's husband Daniel who we don't really see that often with his own parts but, generally as a backdrop to Rebecca - however he also come across as a really nice person who we are supposed to like. In fact I felt that a lot of the time Rebecca and Daniel were very well suited and I liked that the author has managed to make me feel this way about them! Lastly is Lorna who has Rebecca's colleague we see an awful of and then even more some when she starts to become part of her social life. Fallon made her character perfect with just the right amount of nastiness in her that we hate her too! Overall I think the author has done a brilliant job with the characters and they all went really well together to make the story flow so well.
The book usually retails at £7.99 in most book store - however you will find it also in places like Tesco and Asda and whilst it is still fairly new it will be on the 2 for £7 offer which is a great deal so I would certainly recommend you try and pick up a copy whilst it is priced this low!
As you can probably guess I really enjoyed this book. At the beginning, even though we got straight into the juicy stuff I felt it dragged for a short while but, then as I started to read more I realised the bits I thought it had dragged with was in actual fact, essential to the story!
The book is another one that is easy to read and once I got going I was finished in no time as I just didn't want to put it down! The book is quite heavy subject matter as it deals with matters of the heart and general ups and downs of life but, Fallon has made it so enjoyable and for this I can only give the book a great 5 star rating!
I was really excited when I saw Jane Fallon had a new book coming out - Getting Rid of Matthew is one of my favourite chick lit titles, and although I didn't like her follow up Got You Back quite as much I still really enjoyed it. So while we were in Tesco's on Mother's Day, despite protesting that I didn't want anything, I saw this as part of the 2 for £7 book promotion. Low and behold it magically jumped in the trolley along with Polly Williams How to be Married (review to follow!)- Thanks Hubs and Little Man!!
Rebecca and Daniel, Alex and Isabel have been a couple since they were flatmates at University, and have stayed best friends through marriage and children. Fast forward two decades and Alex drops a bombshell - He has been harbouring a dark secret and is leaving Isabel. Suddenly the foursome is broken up, and they all struggle to move on from Alex's departure. Meanwhile Rebecca's scary co-worker Lorna is about to gatecrash their social circle!!
The book is written in the first person from Rebecca's perspective. Although I tend to prefer a third person narrative, I found the narrative to be descriptive enough that you really got a feel for all the other characters. Rebecca is written as Mrs Average - a happy working mother contented with her lot, who finds herself lost when the friendship network she has had for over twenty years breaks down. I found her easy to empathise with. She is instantly likeable and comes across as friendly and loyal - although sometimes too much. She is secure in her relationship with Dan, and this hardly seems to be rocked at all by Alex's actions.
It made a refreshing change for the book not to be from the perspective of the wronged woman - it is not your standard chick lit story line, instead focusing on the friendships that women build to support them. There is a part in the book where Dan and Rebecca are going through their acquaintances to see if there is anyone worthy of forming a new foursome with, which I found quite funny!! The book has some quite dark moments, and bits that you want to read cringing from between the cracks of your fingers - a bit like real life really! Although it wasn't fast paced action that drags you along, Jane Fallon's style of writing is so compulsive that you just cannot put it down. You feel like a voyeur on Rebecca's life and I couldn't draw myself away! It was one that I had to stay up well past my bedtime to finish...
The only thing I did not like about the book was the cover - It did not seem to suit the book at all. It showed a woman undoing her dress as if to step out of it, which seemed to suggest the book was going to be more risqué and a play on the title of Foursome, which seemed totally unnecessary. Still that is definately a minor criticism!!
This is one of the best books I have read lately, and I have picked up some corkers so far this year! I would definitely recommend it. It is in the book charts so available cheaply from all the supermarkets, or on amazon for £3.84.
Paperback by Penguin Books - 391 pages.
Foursome is the third book that Jane Fallon has written and each book has been a winner as far as I am concerned. Foursome is no exception and it has all the ingredients for a really good read. I loved it from the moment I picked it up to the very last word and it definitely left me wanting more.
The book tells the story of two couples who are all great friends and have been so ever since their university days twenty years before. They live near each other, spend a yearly holiday together and often look after each other's children. Life is ideal for Rebecca, Dan, Isabel and Alex. That is until Alex announces one day that he is leaving Isabel and their cosy circle is torn apart! Life becomes even more complicated when Alex declares undying love for Rebecca. She tells him in no uncertain terms that she is not interested but should she tell Dan or Isabel or should she keep Alex's behaviour to herself?
Once Alex has been rejected by Rebecca, he turns quite nasty and it makes all three of the others wonder whether they ever really knew him. He uses Rebecca's colleague Lorna and then when he finishes the short lived relationship, Lorna goes to pieces and Rebecca finds herself having to cover in the theatrical agency where they both work. This often takes the reader into another aspect of the book which is a glimpse into the life of a small but reasonably successful agency and some of its more interesting clients! I loved this aspect of the novel and found it quite absorbing and fascinating.
This is just a flavour of the many complications that arise in this novel and some of the dilemmas that face the characters. Rebecca does not know whether to share some of Alex's behaviour with her best friend and husband, and when she discovers something about Isabel's new man, she does not know whether to divulge that information either! Also, Rebecca and Dan feel totally adrift as they have lost their best friends as a couple and as a consequence their social life suddenly plummets. Therefore they are on a quest to find some new best friends! This part of the book, when they discuss possibilities is actually quite funny but also illustrates well how difficult it is for friends when a couple separates.
Rebecca is the main character in this book and she is the one who tells the story. I always like first person narratives as you feel that you are really able to get inside a character's head and this is definitely the case with Rebecca. She is a great character - often trying to do her best although not above having a few flaws of her own. Her relationships with the other characters are totally believable and she is the sort of person you could quite easily want for your own best friend!
The pace of the novel is very good and makes you want to keep reading more. There is enough going on but not too much and the different storylines are interwoven well. I don't really want to say anything about the ending but I must say that it is very satisfying. I say this because too often I feel that the end of books I read are hurried or inconclusive and I end up with a big question mark in my head. In contrast, this is very satisfying as is the whole read.
I read this very enjoyable book in a matter of days which is always a good sign and towards the end it was virtually 'unputdownable'! It's a great book and I will be eagerly anticipating Jane Fallon's next offering! The paperback is currently available from Amazon for only £3.86 (March 2010) and that is a great buy!
Rebecca and Daniel are happily married, and love their life together with their two children. They've known their best friends Alex and Isabel since they were at University and they've always done everything as a Foursome, from getting married to babies and even group holidays.
So when Alex leaves Isabel, it shatters their foursome once and for all and Rebecca isn't happy. It's made even more awkward when Alex makes a shocking confession to Rebecca, one of which might change the group dynamics forever. Suddenly, Alex appears with new girlfriend Lorna, who also happens to be Rebecca's enemy at work, and the two instantly clash. Is their foursome destined to be broken forever?
I adored Jane Fallon's debut novel Getting Rid of Matthew, and then went straight to the shops last year when her last book Got You Back was released, and I loved that too. I've been waiting for news of Jane's third book for ages, and so when it finally went up on Amazon I was so excited! I didn't like the first cover that was released so when the finished version seen above was shown to us, I thought it suited the book much better. When the book was delivered to my house a few weeks ago, I eagerly started to read it and devoured it in just a couple of days, it was fabulous!
As usual with Jane's books, it centres around a strong female lead characters whose friends and family feature in the main storyline around them. Our narrator is Rebecca, married to Daniel, and best friend to Alex and Isabel. Rebecca is a character I warmed to immediately, and I loved her narration of the story. We get Rebecca's thoughts on the failure of her friends marriage and the knock-on effect this has on the other characters around her. It's at time an amusing narration, but it also gets the raw emotion, and this I find is where Fallon really does well.
Her previous novels have focussed on the wronged woman, but this book seems to change tact because the wronged woman in this story is actually the one we see least of all. I expected for Isabel to feature heavily in the book but she's in only around 5 or 6 scenes in total, and even then not for very long. Therefore, while I sympathised with her I couldn't necessarily feel much for her character. Fallon instead chooses to focus on Alex and Lorna in the book, and their relationship with Rebecca. This made for an interesting dynamic and shows us how hard it can be bringing a new person into an established friendship group.
As ever, Fallon isn't afraid to tackle some of the more awkward moments in relationships, and this book is no different. The non existent relationship between Rebecca and colleague Lorna is great to read because its so awkward between the pair, and I was cringing at times with the interactions I was reading! I love how Fallon doesn't make Rebecca a weak character, she does stand up for herself and I quickly found Lorna to be a character I disliked immensely, although she made for great reading. I also enjoyed reading Rebecca and Daniel's marriage, it shows a relationship after many years and seemed very realistic.
The book touches on the world of acting because Rebecca works for an acting agency, and I enjoyed these little offshoots in the novel. Ithink it added a new perspective to the story and gives you a little break from the more emotional storylines that feature in the book. Fallon's writing is so easy to read, you can lose yourself in the shortish chapter in the books and find that you've ploughed through a quarter of it before you've realised as its so enjoyable. I really couldn't put it down because I wanted to find out what was going on next!
If you've loved Jane's previous books then you'll love this, but its also a great place to start if you haven't read any of her work before. It is great chick-lit, lots of characters that you can care about, plot twists and turns that keep your interest for the duration of the book and I loved it. Jane's debut novel Getting Rid of Matthew remains my favourite book by Jane, but this one is definitely a close second. Jane's books seem to appeal to a large age generation, and I know I'll be sending my mum this to read next! Very enjoyable, and a great one to pack for your holidays!
Publisher: Penguin - March 2010
Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitreviews.com
Thanks for reading.