Publishing year: 2017
The prologue of this new novel introduces us to Laura, who is in a private hospital, and she is about to make a phone call to her son, a difficult phone call, which she justifies will be what any mother would do. We don’t know what Laura wants to say to her son as the book moves back in time.
It is June, and Laura is happy since her son Daniel is back home after graduating from university. We know that Laura and her family are well-heeled. They live in Kensington, and we gather that the house is luxurious and even has a swimming pool in a basement they built a while ago. Laura writes drama series for ITV and has her own production company, and her husband Howard has an accounting company. Laura, though, is not a happy woman. Her marriage is just a facade. Howard has had an affair with a married woman, Marianne, for years, and when Laura discovered the affair, she was angry and Howard broke up with Marianne for a while, but then shortly afterwards they were back together again. Laura could have divorced Howard, but Daniel was young, and then when he grew up, she simply didn’t bother enough to do it, and in a way a divorce is what Howard would want, and she refuses to give him that satisfaction.
This situation made Laura focus on her son, especially as we learn that a year before Daniel’s birth, Laura had lost her first-born, a baby girl called Rose. The girl was only seven days old when she got an infection and died. We can see that Laura is a bit possessive with Daniel, but not in a negative way. They actually have a good possession.
Since Daniel came back from university two days ago, Laura hasn’t seen her son. When they finally talk, Daniel tells her that he is looking for a flat of his own, and when he started the hunting for the flat, he met Cherry, the estate agent, and he has fallen in love with her. Laura is curious and wants to know the girl, and she does a week later.
Cherry is a girl who comes from a less privilege background. Actually, she hates her origins, and when Daniel first asks her where she is from, she is vague, telling him that she is from Surrey, which is the county which Croydon used to belong to. Cherry is ambitious and clever. We know that she couldn’t go to university because there was no money for that. She used to work in a restaurant, which she hated, and then she decided to travel to Australia, thinking that she could have a new life, but in Australia the chances weren’t better. So she returned, and then she decided she wanted a career. So she pretended to be a house hunter, seeing dozens of houses, and then embellishing her curriculum vitae he got the job as an estate agent.
We know that Cherry’s desire to succeed comes from her despise to her mother and previous life, and also from a bad experience she had with a man. The man was Nicholas and he was wealthy. They had a relationship, but he broke up with her when his parents thought that she was not the woman their son needed. Just recently Cherry learns that Nicholas has married someone else, a rich heiress.
We don’t know if Cherry likes Daniel or she sees him as a means to an end. He could be the one to give her the money and class she lacks. Cherry gets to meet Laura and Howard, and she is nervous around them. Laura is kind to her, and even invites her to spend a weekend with her and Daniel in their villa in Saint Tropez. We can see that there is something sinister about Cherry. She is capable of doing anything that stands in her way. When she is invited to Saint Tropez, she doesn’t hesitate to making up a story about a sick grandmother so that her boss lets her have time off. In France Cherry is not too happy as Laura is always around, and when she is forced to meet some friends of Daniel’s and Laura’s, she has to hide her real feelings. Isabella has been Laura’s best friend for years, and the two women had hopes that Daniel and Isabella’s daughter Brigitte would end up married. At once Cherry decides she doesn’t like Brigitte, who we see is a bit spoilt and immature, and Cherry thinks how hard it is for her to get a good job, but this girl who doesn’t even know where Malta is has the connections to get a much better job or she might decide not to work at all. In the house they also meet Nicole, a French friend of Brigitte’s, and Nicole doesn’t hide the fact that she likes Daniel. Cherry gets annoyed. Nicole and Brigitte are sunbathing in their bikinis, and when they leave to get changed, Cherry gets hold of Nicole’s dress and makes it look as if the wind blew it away, sending it to the swimming pool.
After that, Cherry makes sure there are no other interferences between her and Daniel. Laura had planned for the three of them to visit the vineyards, but Cherry doesn’t want to spend her time with her, so she convinces Daniel to spend the night on the beach instead. When Laura hints she might accompany them, Cherry says she will be studying there, so that means Laura has to stay at home alone, and they don’t even come back in time for them to have dinner together in the restaurant Laura had booked. I find Daniel a bit of a pushover. I know he is besotted, but I hate it when men or women can only think about themselves and the person they are in love with, ignoring everybody else.
I have the feeling that Cherry’s attitude is going to get worse as she feels more and more secure about Daniel. What will she be ready to do to ensure Daniel is hers alone?