The Fox family consists of Kate Fox, her partner Jonny, her brother Jack and his wife Helen, and her brother Si and his wife Olivia. Their mother Ella is another strong woman in their lives.
We are introduced to this family at a Sunday dinner hosted by Kate, at her family home 19 Lovelace Road in the suburbs of London. Kate is a pivotal force in the life of the whole family, as she has been since her father was killed in a car accident when she was 16.
At this particular luncheon, Kate has also asked along an acquaintance, Sasha Morton. A newly divorced mum of two who she has felt sorry for. As she arrives though, Kate gets an uneasy feeling as Sasha seems to be flirting with both of her brothers and also her own partner Jonny. Life as they know it is about to change, and the family as they know it is about to be ripped apart. What will they be able to salvage from the wreckage? And whose husband will Sasha manage to steal?
The relationships in this book are so rich and are established right from the start for me. The 3 sister in laws, Kate, Olivia and Helen are keen to keep things ticking over smoothly and maintain the status quo, but they lack the bond and closeness of real sisters and there is a lot of jealousy and trying not to step on each others toes, whereas in fact if they had talked about events as they happened, the outcome might have been very different in this story.
I was drawn to the book from first seeing the cover. A woman in a black cocktail dress dramatically drops a champagne flute to the floor.
The story is told from the point of view of the different woman, while the opinions of the men are there but not as strong. The women are each strong in their own way, but each has a weakness that Sasha can use as an advantage over them. Kate is not married even though she longs to be, and her home is at risk because they are not bringing in enough money. Olivia and Si have been unable to conceive during their 20 year marriage and this has left Olivia with a surpressed longing for the missing element in her life. Helen has a horrendous childhood behind her, that she has kept secret from all of the Fox family and she is living in fear of the family finding out and not wanting her.
I loved the authors way of being able to switch between the different perspectives without causing me the reader any confusion at all, and without losing any of the flow of the story.
This has been by far one of the best books i have read this year, and i would not hesitate to recommend it. Nina Bell is a fairly new author, and if this is a sign of her style then she is one to watch out for.
Love them or hate them, you have to treat your sister in laws like your sisters.
I bought Sisters in Law for my sister for her last birthday and she enjoyed it so much that she then gave it back to me to read. The author, Nina Bell, has only written two novels and I can't quite work out of this is her first or her second, but it is definitely a brilliant early novel and I hope that there is much more to come from this new author.
Sisters in Law is about three women who probably would not have very much to do with each other were it not for the fact that they are related by marriage. Olivia and Heather are married to Kate Fox's two brothers, Si and Jack. Although not having that much in common with them, Kate has a strong sense of family and likes to host family gatherings at her and partner Johnny's newly renovated house. Although they keep turning up, these are always a bit of a chore for Olivia and Heather. Relationships are further strained when Kate invites an acquaintance, Sasha, to join them for lunch. Sasha is newly divorced and very bitter and is extremely envious of the three women's relationships. So much so, that she sets out to see who or what she can get!
From that moment onwards, the story is wonderfully compelling as Sasha does her utmost to wreak havoc on the women's marriages and relationships. She is a wonderfully scheming character but also very clever. It is not long before cracks start to appear and the once strong and solid relationships start to feel quite shaky. However, as Sasha would argue, if they had been strong enough to begin with, she would never have been able to cause any damage would she?
I really loved the way that this book hooked me from the very start and compelled me to read it in a very short space of time. I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next and whether scheming Sasha would get her wicked way with any (or all) of the three men. Although I was sort of guessing what might happen next, the story was by no means predictable and had lots of wonderful twists and turns!
Overall though, it is a story about relationships and there are lots of fascinating combinations in the book. The characterisation really brings the story alive and all of the women are fabulous characters that you want to know more about and warm to when doing so. I'm not sure if it was intentional on the author's part, but I definitely found the women much more likeable than the men who seemed much more shallow and weak. That is apart from Sasha of course who was not at all likeable but she is the sort of character that you love to hate and she was pivotal as far as the story was concerned.
Sisters in Law is a fabulous read and one that will make you want to keep on turning the pages. I read it in just a couple of days as I just did not want to put it down. It is fast paced and gripping and a great story as well. Having read this book and enjoyed it so much, I will definitely looking out for more from Nina Bell. It is currently available on Amazon in paperback for £4.49 (September 2010).
Kate, Heather and Olivia are sisters-in-law and are all hiding something from the Fox family. The family have big expectations and the 3 women sometimes struggle to keep up with them. When the mysterious Sasha enters their lives one mealtime, all 3 women are immediately suspicious. Kate wonders why her partner Johnny has started working long hours at the office without a worry about their 2 children, can army wife Heather trust her husband Jack when he is home from duty, and is Olivia able to keep Simon's secret forever, or will it spell the end for one Fox marriage? Will Sasha will be able to penetrate the Fox family, and if so, which Fox husband is about to play with fire?
This book first caught my eye when I noticed it on Amazon many months ago, and I've been looking forward to reading it since then. I very much enjoy books based around family relationships as I find them interesting, so I hoped this one would be good too. This is Nina Bell's second book, but I haven't yet read her first which is called Inheritance, however I'll be looking out for it on my next visit to the library! The book's striking cerise pink text stands out against the cover image, and I think it is a well crafted cover that will catch people's attention!
Kate is introduced to us as the main character of the story, with the other storylines revolving around her and her family. Kate is the only Fox woman in the story (bar her mother), yet she is possibly the most insecure of the sisters-in-law. Her relationship with Johnny isn't as good as she wants it to be, and I very much enjoyed the twists and turns their relationship took through the book. I liked Kate very much, she was a very normal character, one that you can relate to easily, and I wanted things to be okay for her with Johnny.
The other two women also feature heavily in the book but aren't the driving force behind it like Kate is. Olivia is a career-girl who takes the blame for the lack of children in her marriage to Simon yet won't reveal his secret. I liked her very much, she was headstrong and her storyline was unexpected and very fun to read, it surprised me and I liked the way it concluded for Olivia. Heather is the one I wasn't so fond of. She has a bad background but it didn't make me like her anymore, I just found her irritating and a tad weak, so for me she wasn't the best character but did add something to the book regardless.
The story is very much focused on the evil Sasha, and though I could see where the general direction was going from early on, it didn't ruin my enjoyment of the book and I liked it very much. Sasha was incredibly wicked and a great villain, I absolutely hated her and I was so annoyed the Fox women didn't stand up to her much sooner! However, she allows the twists and turns to progress and the book wouldn't have been fun if they had found her out within 100 pages! The twist with her and the Fox family was surprising as I didn't expect it, so this was good and I felt Bell has done a good job with keeping the plot exciting and readable!
If you like family-relationship driven books with a twist, then Sisters in Law may well be the book for you! I loved Nina Bell's writing style which kept me hooked through the 400+ pages, however I found myself powering through them very quickly as I just couldn't put it down! I loved the third person narration, and I found it easy to keep track of all the stories despite the change of them quite frequently. I look forward to reading Nina Bell's debut and any other releases, and this one is highly recommended by me, a really great read overall, very enjoyable!
Thank you to the publishers SPHERE for sending me a copy to review.
ISBN: 978-0751539066. Published by Sphere in September 2009. The paperback has 432 pages and an RRP of £6.99.
Thank you for reading.