Initially I found it hard to relate to the luxurious, materialistic and privileged lifestyle portrayed in the first few chapters of the novel, or to empathise with any of the characters. However, as the storyline evolved and I accepted that this was an ‘over the top’, light-hearted romp, I swiftly raced through the book and found it witty, unpredictable and pure escapism!
Sally Parker, the central character feels redundant in her own home, Cedar Vale, with staff who effectively manage the running of the house and grounds and an Australian au pair to oversee her now teenage children. Her days revolve around visits to the Park Club gym and sauna, plus coffee mornings with her friends to plan various charity fundraising events. Her husband Frank and business partner Amerjit, co-founder of HNB Capital a city hedge fund, make an obscene amount of money through their dealings. Meals out in exclusive restaurants, top of the range designer clothes and the resources to throw lavish social events are simply taken for granted. That is of course until the day when the financial markets crash and their world is turned upside down! The gradual realisation that they have lost everything affects each member of the Parker family and their close associates in very different ways. Frank immediately goes into a ‘meltdown’, whilst their daughter Mikey shows her true entrepreneurial talent and Sally desperately tries to hold things together!
Although this wouldn’t be my usual choice of novel, I thoroughly enjoyed it and the unexpected twists and turns kept me engaged. To me the key message I think that the author endeavoured to convey was that it’s not what happens to us in our lives, but how we respond to it which can make us better people or not.
Reviewed by Hilary Whorrall
Published by Headline Review (1 April 2021)
Hardback, ISBN 978-1472256218