Thriller Tuesday! Are you ready to get poisoned?
My biggest thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to be part of this blog tour!
Title: Her Closest Friend
Author: Clare Boyd
Date of publication: 2019
Number of pages: 372
Pop music blares from the radio. She sings drunkenly from the backseat. The thrash of windscreen wipers against the driving rain. The screech of tyres. A thud.
Naomi and I are best friends.
School runs, dog walks, a shoulder to cry on over a glass of wine, we’re inseparable.
But now my husband has walked out, I need her more than ever.
I know she will help me pick up the pieces.
Because she knows about the lie I told to protect her.
She knows how much I’ve sacrificed for this friendship.
And she’d never let anyone hurt me.
This extraordinary page-turner will suck you in from the very first page and keep you gripped until the breathtaking finale. Fans of The Wife Between Us, The Girl Before and Gone Girl will adore this twisted tale of toxic female friendship.
First of all: LOOK AT THIS COVER! I love the colours and contrast!
I often say I love exploring toxic relationships in books. Couples, best friends, twins, you name it, I read it. But few have felt as wrong (in the best way!) as Her Closest Friend. Because there is something terribly wrong between Natalie and Sophie. So wrong that it got me addicted. I’ve never used drugs or smoked cigarettes, but I think reading this novel gave me a similar experience. I wanted to stop reading, my head was shaking from one side to the other – a silence ‘no’ that would last until the very last page, but the urge to keep going, to dig deeper, to see how deep the hole I’d jumped in was, it was all so strong that I literally could not put an end to it. I know it was wrong (that word again) but a kind of voyeurism and the need to find out where the author would swept me off my feet and into the darkness. It takes a brilliant writing style to have this effect on me.
Something else might have put me off the book had Clare Boyd not written so well. Animal mistreatment/cruelty is part of the novel. Oversensitive as I am, I really can’t stand any form of violence against animals. After finishing the novel, I realised this was part of the plot. Was it necessary? Well, everything in one of the main characters, Sophie, is extreme, so yes, I think I can understand the author’s choice to go this way. Still, I had to take breaks from reading because it triggered my anxiety and even had me crying. Now, not everyone will be as sensitive as I was, and you might just cringe, but I feel the need to let you know. Grab chocolate when you read this book!
Off to the novel itself… Wow! I thought I’d read toxic, but Her Closest Friend is nuclear! Sophie and Natalie have been friends for a very long time, though they are quite different. If their lives were had been on parallel paths forever, when Sophie’s husband wants out, she automatically turns to her best friend, but not just for support. We’ve all been guilty of comparing ourselves to others, even friends or family. For Sophie, Natalie has it all: two girls, a beautiful house, a nice car, a good business, and a charming husband, while her life is crumbling in the little house she lives in with her son, right next to her grandfather’s cottage. When did life decided that Natalie should have it all? Why isn’t Natalie more thankful and understanding towards Sophie after all she’s done?
But… What has she done? There were millions of theories in my head and flashbacks, like a pinball machine, would send me on the right path with heavy shots from left to right. Women friendships are intense and the bonds created sometimes last forever… But we don’t get all the pieces of the two women’s past until the wine in the bottle turns sour. I loved to hate Sophie. She scared the hell out of me! You can’t see it from the outside because Clare Boyd knows how to create wonderfully manipulative and on-the-edge characters, but if I ever meet a Sophie, I hope I’ll run the other way!!!
Yet… Is Natalie as white as a dove? That’s the beauty of Her Closest Friend. Events unfold – small ones at first, then big holes that make you pick a side, pity another, wonder about what can drive someone you love to do something – and you realise love itself can be toxic. Because the force behind the two women is definitely love. But love grows depending on how we nurture it and there is no recipe. Extreme love stems from extreme personalities or traumas, and it never ceases to change, to evolve, to colour the world around us. So did I really hate Sophie? I can’t be so certain. Did I understand Natalie? Not all the way. Do I believe their past is the only reason this book is so crazily good? No. It takes more than one point in that wibbly wobbly thing called time to forge a life, a bond, and what we do with it. Do I make sense? Probably not. It doesn’t matter, as Her Closest Friend explores the grey area and blurs all the lines. I LOVED THIS.
It all comes down to a secret. A secret that has slowly intoxicated Natalie and Sophie’s lives. A deadly secret that sealed their fate years ago.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy watching Natalie and Sophie’s world unravel. I relished the drama, I craved the next chapter for more tears, more lies, more deceit, and yes, more love. I NEVER saw the ending coming. Yet, it felt right. Absolutely right and perfect.
Her Closest Friend is truly addictive and intensely disturbing! Think twice before making someone your BFF!!!
You can find the buy links right here!
Apple Books: https://apple.co/2E665pM
Clare lives with her husband and their two daughters in Surrey, where her little green shed at the bottom of the garden provides a haven for her writing life. Before becoming a writer, she enjoyed a career in television, as a researcher in documentaries and then as a script editor in drama at the BBC and Channel Four, where her love of storytelling took hold.
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