Strictly Between Us by Jane Fallon 

You know that feeling when you’re watching a scary film, but you can’t not look, even though it’s horrifying? That’s how I feel when I read Jane Fallon’s novels. 

Don’t misunderstand me, she is a brilliant writer. Fallon’s character are realistic and relatable, the plot is usually based on a relationship, platonic or romantic, and completely believable. It’s just that there is always a metaphorical car crash, and you have to look. Fallon is credited with creating a new genre, Chick Lit Noir, which I like to think of as “oh-my-God-why-did-they-do-that – cringe-humiliation-cringe”. 

From the blurb: 

Rumours, secrets and lies. It’s all in a day’s work. Tamsin and her best friend Michelle have been inseparable since they were teenagers. Even now they spend all their time together, along with Patrick, Michelle’s handsome husband. So when Tamsin hears a rumour that Patrick is having an affair, she is furious. Unwilling to ignore it, Tamsin plots a scheme to catch Patrick in the act, using her assistant Bea as live-bait. It should be fool proof. After all, Tamsin can trust Bea with anything. From her daily coffee order to fetching her dry-cleaning, writing reports and doing all the filing – Bea does everything with a smile on her face. Except Tamsin never considered Bea might have her own agenda. And if she does, then Tamsin really needs to watch her back…

Sooooo Bea sounds like a solid friend, doesn’t she? I’m going to emphasise no spoilers, because it may seem like there are spoilers in this review, but I promise you that I’m not revealing anything that isn’t disclosed at the start of the book. If you don’t want to know anything about the story beyond the description look away now!!!

Still with me? Okay. Continuing on. 

So Tamsin and Michelle are best friends, have been since they were young and are practically sisters. Michelle is happily married to Patrick and has a successful career in advertising. Patrick is a commissioning editor for a television channel.Tamsin is single, but she refuses to settle for just anyone so as not to be alone. She is a partner in a production company that produces television documentaries and loves her dog Ron (I know, random name for a dog. Love it). 

Tamsin isn’t Patrick’s biggest fan, and thinks he’s a bit of a cocky git, but Michelle loves him so she tolerates him. Until she starts to hear rumours from colleagues that Patrick has been playing away from home. She gets the brilliant idea to get her PA Bea to try it on with him at a corporate event, to catch him in the act. Because nothing will go wrong with that plan?!?!

Bea and Tamlin’s relationship is a bit odd by the way, Tamsin relies on her waaaay too much, Bea organises her personal and professional life. I know PA’s do sometimes manage elements of their bosses personal lives, but seriously, it’s weird. This is coming from someone who worked with a guy who got his PA to go out and buy him fresh packs of Hugo Boss socks every week. They could only be worn once and then had to be thrown away. Just saying…

So Bea does her honey trap thing and reports back that it doesn’t work.  Patrick calls round to see Tamsin, apparently distraught because he thinks Michelle doesn’t trust him and has set some sort of investigator onto him. Tamsin guiltily reassures him, helps him drown his sorrows, oh yes, and then has sex with him. Yeah. Didn’t see that on the back cover.  Again, all in the beginning of the book. 

Tamsin is consumed by guilt and self loathing, but chalks the indiscretion up to too much wine between old friends. Then Patrick starts to use Tamsin as his alibi for other indiscretions and threatens to tell Michelle everything if she doesn’t cover for him. It turns out that Patrick will stick it in anything.  Also, he’s very manipulative.

Will Tamsin ruin her lifelong friendship with Michelle to spare her the pain of being married to a serial cheater? She has a difficult decision to make, but at least she can trust her assistant to help her make the right choice…can’t she? 

I don’t think I can say anything more than I already have; it’s an excruciating, cringe worthy read that will have you turning the pages so quickly  you’ll give yourself a paper cut.

Cheerio!

Stephanie Xxx 

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