Friday 1 December 2017

The Party by Robyn Harding @simonschusterUK @harriett_col #TheParty

Sweet sixteen. It's a coming of age, a milestone, a rite of passage. Of course Jeff and Kim Sanders will throw a party for their daughter, Hannah. She's a good kid with good grades and nice friends. And it isn't going to be a big, indulgent affair. Just four girls coming over for pizza and cake, movies and a sleepover. What could possibly go wrong?

But things do go wrong, horrifically wrong. After a tragic accident, Jeff and Kim's flawless life in a wealthy San Francisco suburb begins to unravel. The injured girl's mother, Lisa, files a lawsuit that turns friends into enemies, reveals dark secrets in the Sanders' marriage, and exposes the truth about their perfect daughter, Hannah. Lisa's determination to make the Sanders pay stems from a fierce love for her only child and Lisa's own dark and damaged past.

In The Party, Christos Tsiolkas's The Slap meets Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies, taking us behind the fa├žade of the perfect family, exploring the secrets, betrayals, and moral lapses the neighbors don't see.

The Party by Robyn Harding was published in paperback by Simon & Schuster on 5th October 2017, my thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

The Party opens with a bang when sixteen-year-old Hannah Sanders stands at the end of her parents' bed, covered in blood and crying. It's her birthday.

The novel continues at a hectic pace and is narrated in turn by Hannah, her parents Jeff and Kim and Lisa; the mother of one of Hannah's friends. I'm a fan of the multiple narrative and this worked especially well in The Party, enabling the reader to get some insight into the minds of the characters.
Oh what characters they are! Not a likeable one amongst them; selfish and self-centred, dismissive of others and defensive of their flaws; this certainly is a nasty crowd.

The incident at Hannah's Sweet Sixteen party doesn't just affect the injured party, it blows open a whole lorry load of worms. It's clear that Kim and Jeff's marriage, whilst glossy and perfect on the surface, is fractured and on the verge of disaster. Hannah is a girl who is prepared to do anything to be accepted by the in-crowd and her friendships are superficial and shaky.

The Party is not a crime thriller or a mystery, it's a completely riveting reveal into a family who lie to each other, and to themselves. It's a tense and intense look at relationships and beliefs and whilst there were times that I got a little fed up with the legal aspect of the aftermath of the party, there's enough of a story to keep the reader turning the pages.

The Party is a reminder to parents that their children often learn from the things that are hidden, and sometimes know much more than they tell you.
A well written story, with characters to loathe!

Robyn Harding is the author of several books and has written and executive produced an independent film.

She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband and two children.

Find out more at
Find her Author page on Facebook

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