3.5 of 5 stars
Published July 2016
Three couples got together for an afternoon barbeque. Something happened that changed everything and it’s now two months later. Relationships are irrevocably changed. Can their relationships and friendships survive? All six adults are still alive so it wasn’t a death but like another book by Moriarty, Big Little Lies, we don’t find out what happened until near the end with the rest of the story told with flashbacks.
Three couples, all with seemingly good marriages. Old friends mixing with new ones.This is a character study that teases the reader about the event in question, not a thriller, or whodunnit and I have to say it does get a bit tedious after awhile. There’s no threatening villain. You pretty much assume that someone said or did or saw something that had a huge impact on the others because those friends that are still talking to each other in the present aren’t on easy terms and all three relationships seem to have been affected.
Did someone get roaring drunk and let a secret out of the closet? Was there serious flirting involved? These were all things that went around in my head as I read the book and every time they teased you about something happening on the day of the barbeque, I got more and more annoyed but I still had to finish the book to find out what it was, even if it was going to be a “Is that all?” reaction. So the event happened a little past the halfway mark and the real importance of it was the after effect on all of the characters. Guilt is powerful, especially when it stirs up old resentments and stirs up the past in other ways. Even then, there were things that were not revealed completely and these were fed into the plot in drips and drabs through to the end of the book, some extra twists and revelations about the event in question. There was one other little twist, unrelated to “the event” as well that was interesting though not especially surprising considering the long term dynamic between the two people involved.
I like character based stories and while they can be a bit slow moving, I like finding out the background of them all and how it affects the dynamic of the group as a whole. That part of the book was quite good. It was only the vague part, the teasing part and the ongoing sense of a piece of the puzzle missing that was a bit annoying.