I’ve been so lucky recently with the books I’ve been reading. That means another wonderful book review for you today in the form of The Good Friend*.
The Good Friend by Jo Baldwin begins with Olympic swimmer Jenny heading to France to visit her once best friend Kath, whom she lost when she moved from the UK to Australia. She will also see Tom, the soul mate that she lost – and Kath’s husband. At first, everything falls back into the way it was when they were teenagers but it’s not long before Kath’s strange and manipulative behavior begins to drive a wedge between that two friends forever.
I devoured this book. I love stories about friendship and this is a great one. Friendships can be more complicated and emotional than any romance and as soon as I was one chapter in, I just knew I wouldn’t be able to rest until I found out what would happen between these once inseparable friends.
The layout of The Good Friend reminded me of Unravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent: we know from the start that the character is bad (Kath in this case) and we spend our time waiting to see how it will play out and discover why they act the way they do. This has me utterly gripped and I can confirm I wasn’t left disappointed.
There is no doubt that Kath is not a likable character. People don’t like her the way they like Jenny, and Kath knows this herself. However, Kath is much more interesting. I wasn’t as invested in how it would work out for Jenny than I was in getting deeper inside Kath’s mind. The reader does get some explanation of why she is the way she is but unfortunately not enough for my liking.
There was one other part of The Good Friend that disappointed me. The storyline touches somewhat on mental health, especially Kath’s. Even before anything is mentioned about her mental state, it is clear to the reader that not all is well with Kath. However, Jenny and Tom appear to dismiss her need for help (to an extent) and instead take to labelling her crazy. I didn’t like this. I felt the author should have delved deeper into the subject or not have mentioned mental health at all.
Saying that, this didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of the book. For the three days it took me to read it, I was at the edge of my seat. No doubt you will too so go on, give it a try.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.