Friendship, secrets & failed relationships
I was addicted from the very first moment I picked up one of Katharine D’Souza’s novels. Her intelligent women’s fiction is so easy to read that normal life takes a back seat until the book is finished. Fortunately, Friend Indeed is a short novella of 90-odd pages. You can zip through it in a few hours, although it will stay with you long afterwards. Leaving a sense of unease in its wake, the story studies friendship, secrets and failed relationships.
Jane, the narrator, shares her birthday with schoolfriends Maya and Sandra. As grammar school girls with the world at their feet, they swore they would meet up on their fiftieth birthday. That’s why Jane and Sandra travel from Birmingham to Maya’s flash party in London.
A unlikeable narrator
Maya is the only one of the trio to escape their hometown. She’s a respected journalist, her weekly columns read avidly by the other two. Sandra is pleased for her and thrilled to be included in her birthday plans. By contrast, Jane feels overshadowed and resentful of Maya’s success.
Jane is honest in revealing her thoughts to the reader: possibly too frank. She comes across as a reliable narrator, but not a likeable one. If I met her at a party, I’d avoid her like the plague. Ms D’Souza deals with her gently, however. There is a hint that Jane is capable – perhaps – of leaving envy behind.
This is no crime thriller, but in its exploration of family drama and secrets, it verges on domestic noir. For a short book, Friend Indeed has a powerful, lingering effect. Don’t be surprised if old friends invade your nightmares once you’ve read it.
Do you enjoy a really dark slice of domestic noir? My new psychological thriller, Bright Lies, delivers exactly that. Emily is only 13 when David becomes her stepfather, and she’s thrilled that the handsome artist wants to mentor her. She doesn’t know she’ll end up running for her life…
“Compelling drama – 5 stars” – Readers’ Favorite, USA.