by Mhairi McFarland
Uncovering an affair wasn’t a one big fact headline story. It was like Matroyshka dolls, lies inside lies inside lies.
Mhairi McFarlane is a master at creating lovable interesting female heroines and matching them up with intriguing mysterious men that they have tons of chemistry with. Her secondary characters are complex and unusual: In this one there is a plethora. There is her best friend Emma, a brilliant lawyer who looks like Marilyn Monroe. “They think they’re dealing with Shirley Temple and discover it’s more Temple of Doom.” The internet troll that turns out to be her true friend and a hero (the progression of their friendship and the mystery of who he is is a source of anticipation and suspense.) Delia’s brother Ralph: “Who would have thought I could care so much about an overweight gamer who still lives at home, and fries food for a living?” Adam, a ruthless blackmailer who turns into a love interest. Talk about a turnaround! And it made sense! Even Paul, the Cheating Cheater from Cheatville, turns out to have goodness in him. And even the “other woman”. And Kurt, an evil and dangerous boss even gets off some funny lines and is a source of humor, particularly in a hilarious restaurant scene. “‘Fuckin’ troublemakers. If God didn’t want us to eat animals, why did He make them out of meat?’ Our heroine’s development and appeal rests with her interactions with all of these supporting players.
Best of all besides the humor, intriguing characters, nailbiting intrigue, lovely romance, and will she or won’t she what will she do? suspense, there is some genuine wisdom and insights into the nature of relationships and other things.
My only criticism is with Delia’s motivations for compromising her integrity to keep a crap job.
Left alone with the last inch of her beer, Delia took stock. She was working for a principle-free sexual harasser who’d spy on and threaten young members of staff he’d sacked, invent cancers, suicides and sex tapes for the press and plotted to throw clients overboard if his machinations were exposed. Not quite what she’d hoped and dreamed for her new life in the capital. Delia was ashamed it had taken her so long to realize what she had to do.
Not half as ashamed as we are at her. Not good in a heroine you want to root for. Even at the end, when she has partially redeemed herself I was still questioning “why?”. This book was jam-packed with characters and plot-lines and I was fascinated by every single one. including the fictional fiction character of The Fox. **4 1/2 stars out of 5**
March 21, 2020