Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Book review - About Last Night by Adele Parks

From the back cover:


For thirty years, best friends Steph and Pip have been through thick and thin. Selfless and trusting, there's nothing they would not do for one another. Until a few simple words change everything.

'I need you to say that I was with you.'

Steph, eternally solid and dependable, is begging her friend to lie to the police as she's desperately trying to conceal not one but two scandalous secrets to protect her family. Pip, self-consigned to the role of scatty hot-head, is overwhelmed; she's normally the one asking for help in a crisis.

Steph's perfect life will be torn apart unless Pip agrees to this lie. But lying will jeopardise everything Pip's recently achieved after years of struggle. It's a big ask.


The question 'what would I do?' ran through my head constantly as I read this book and even after finishing it I am still not sure what I would do. I found it hard to put it down especially towards the end when the emotions were running high. The story feels a very honest portrayal of many women's friendships covering the love, resentment, obligations and care many relationships involve. What I enjoy about Adele Parks' books is that she doesn't shy away from these more ugly sides to us humans. Who can honestly say they have never resented a friend, been jealous or felt obliged? Because these ugly but real emotions are dealt with often I find some of the characters difficult to like but that makes it all the more real for me. To be annoyed by someone in a book is a wonderful thing to me!

About halfway through the book I decided it would be my April review. From that point on I kept half a mind on why I was enjoying it and what I felt was working so well and I think part of the answer is the detail. Each character has clear characteristics that are sewn in amongst the plot. It makes them more human and allows you to know the characters and visualise them clearly in your head.

An example I like of this involves Steph's father on page 354:

'He never came downstairs without showering and dressing first, not even on Christmas 
morning. Steph had never seen him in his pyjamas, except once when he was bed-
bound with a particularly vicious bout of flu. His rule was that once up, you should get 
dressed, open the curtains and, ideally, go for a walk; he believed each day should be 
greeted with some enthusiasm.'

All these little details and anecdotes make for well-rounded characters and it hit me smack between the eyes that I don't know my characters as well as this and I am nearing the end of my WIP. This is something I really need to work on and I knew it but I was ignoring it. It is all a learning curve though so I am not going to worry! I will save that until the editing stage.

Since publishing her first book in 2000 Adele Parks has published a book a year, how inspiring is that? To me that is the dream. To be focused enough to produce interesting, heartfelt stories year after year. I am so excited that her next book (according to the Bonus Material at the end of this book) is set in Dartmouth, the town in which I live! I cannot wait to see what she makes of this beautiful place.

If you like novels that focus on relationships of all kinds and have challenging and interesting characters you should really check out any of Adele Parks' books. Each one I have read I have enjoyed and they make me think long after I have finished them. 

A link to her website can be found here.


  1. Love this review! It sounds scandalous and heartbreaking at the same time. I have never read Adele Parks, but I might just have to give it a try. I thought it might amuse you to know that when you said Dartmouth, I was like WAIT I'M IN DARTMOUTH RIGHT NOW. And then I realized WRONG Dartmouth. Ha!

  2. I have to get this book, sounds great! I'll scan the library first...always trying to save a buck...but if not, I'll have to buy it to my Kindle. :}

  3. Thanks for the recommendation Em. I will put Adele Parks on my to-read list. :)

  4. I'm reading it right now. Can't read the review in case it gives anything away (i know u wouldn't, but keep doing that to myself at the mo). Will come back when I've read it.
    Ps, I've met Adele, she's lovely :-)