My Rating: 4/5

This story introduces us to four women who are firm friends. Caroline, Stella, Izzy and Harriet and their partners/husbands are the focus of this story starting in the nineties. Initially, it can seem a little overwhelming with the amount of characters that appear very early on. However, when you begin to understand each of their lives it becomes easier to distinguish between these very different characters.

 Jessica Ruston introduces each character and their partner or husband and how they fit into each others lives become apparent very early on. The first thing that struck me about this book was how different it was to the previous book of hers I had read. She fell firmly into the Bonkbuster genre with her debut novel, but this story is slightly different. It’s clear from the outset that this is, as the tile suggests, the darker side of romance. Call it reality if you will and we see each person face their own issues or demons.

The story itself kept me interested as you see each woman face challenges and we get to see the vast differences in the women as they try to tackle their own problems. This book certainly has the element of reality in it and I think many people will be able to empathise with something in the book. Jessica Ruston certainly had her work cut out to cover all the different elements that were found in the book.

The synopsis shows the reader that eventually a crime will take place but you have no idea with which character, and to be frank, as I read further into the book it could have been any of them! We see adultery, drug use, domestic abuse and the general hard work it takes to make life work. I found myself more and more embroiled in the story and eventually read the last quarter of it in one sitting.

This book was certainly a departure from the normal but I still finished the book having enjoyed it thoroughly.

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