Monday 7 March 2022

The Baby Shower by S E Lynes BLOG TOUR #TheBabyShower @SELynesAuthor @bookouture #BooksOnTour #BookReview


She doesn’t know I’m there, watching her in the mirror. She slides her hand under her blouse. And then I see something impossible. She isn’t pregnant…

She bursts into my life like a storm, and nothing is the same again. She seems so perfect, with her lilting laugh and her beautiful face. One by one, I watch as my friends fall under her spell.

Only I seem to suspect something. Only I see that her smiles don’t reach her cold, furious eyes. And when I’m accused of things I didn’t do, when my home is vandalized, I know she’s behind it. But she only lets her mask slip when no one is looking, so if I say anything, I’ll look crazy.

So when the baby shower comes around I’m there, sitting on a velvet sofa in a posh hotel room, surrounded by balloons. We share gifts, we pour small glasses of champagne, and she beams, her bump just visible under her bright red shirt.

But that afternoon, I finally learn the unbelievable truth.

There is no baby…

The Baby Shower by S E Lynes was published on 1 March 2022 by Bookoutre. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #BooksOnTour Blog Tour 

I am positive that I've said this is her best book yet when I've reviewed every one of S E Lynes' books. I'm a creature of habit and I'm saying it again about The Baby Shower. This really really is a wonderful read, I flew through it in two sittings, staying up far later than usual, totally engrossed by these characters and this stunning, immersive plot. 

Female friendships, for most women, can be the most joyous of relationships. They can also be the most toxic, the most hurtful and the most damaging experiences. There are parts of the narrative within this novel that resonated with me so much that I wondered if the author had actually been part of my life. Some of Jane's experiences and feelings totally mirror my own, although this happened to me over ten years ago, the scars are there, on my heart, forever. 

Jane is a complex character. I loved her. She's a Northern girl living in London. Happily married to a wonderful bloke; Frankie. Jane has worked hard to get where she is, owning and running an independent coffee shop. She has regular customers who seem to love her, and a group of friends who keep her sane. 

The one blot on Jane's otherwise happy life is the fact that she doesn't have children. She and Frankie face disappointment after disappointment every month, when yet again the test says no. Jane's closest friend Sophie announces that she's pregnant, and whilst this hurts Jane deeply, she is her friend and she is happy for her, although weeping inside. 

It is this pregnancy that is the catalyst for the events to come, and oh what a tangled and twisty and totally compelling story it is. 

Not only is Sophie pregnant, but she seems to have found a new best friend. A younger woman called Lexie. Full of glamour, and glitz, designer bags and HD brows, it seems that Sophie has fallen for her really hard and that Lexie hates Jane. 

Lovely Frankie has also changed. He's working lots of hours, he's lost weight, he's distracted. We, the reader, know exactly what's going on, but Jane is in the dark .... for now. 

Frankie's story on its own would make a fabulous thriller, dealing with issues that are rarely covered in fiction. Often covered up, looked at with disbelief and sometimes shame. However, Lynes doesn't do stop there, she's woven this story with the inevitable and brutal break down of Sophie and Jane's relationship and it's so tough and so tragic and so moving. 

I don't know what it is about females. I'm not sure how we fall so hard for our friends, but we do. We share confidences that we wouldn't tell other people, we have special moments and memories that can never be erased. However, we can also be mean and bitter. We can hold grudges, we can become paranoid and over sensitive and we can begin to doubt everyone around us, and most of all, ourselves. 

The Baby Shower is so powerful, it is perfectly crafted and utterly compelling. I was left breathless by this story. It hit me like a punch in the guts and will never leave me. 

Former BBC Producer, S.E. Lynes is the Amazon best selling author of 'intelligent and haunting',

After completing her MA, Lynes taught creative writing at Richmond Adult Community College for over ten years. She now combines writing, mentoring and lecturing.

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