Title: Friend Request
Author: Laura Marshall
Published: July 25th 2017
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Crime, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Rating: 5 stars
Maria wants to be friends.
But Maria is dead . . . isn’t she?
When Louise Williams receives a message from someone left long in the past, her heart nearly stops.
Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook.
Maria Weston has been missing for over twenty-five years. She was last seen the night of a school leavers’ party, and the world believes her to be dead. Particularly Louise, who has lived her adult life with a terrible secret.
As Maria’s messages start to escalate, Louise forces herself to reconnect with the old friends she once tried so hard to impress. Trying to piece together exactly what happened that night, she soon discovers there’s much she didn’t know. The only certainty is that Maria Weston disappeared that night, never to be heard from again – until now. . .
Mrs R’s Review:
Friend Request is the debut thriller novel that is set to be a series by British author Laura Marshall. With alternating chapters, the book is set in 1989 and 2016 in Britain. Single mum Louise Williams tells her story in the first person in both the 80’s and noughties. Interspersed between the dual timeline is a mysterious third narrator who is cleverly concealed until the end. Laura’s first novel is both a relevant and timely read as it deals with marriage, the impact of the past upon the present, face book and high school bullying.
I liked getting into the headspace of Louise because she is an ordinary woman. Like all of us, she is juggling with different aspects of life. For Louise it is motherhood and work. Louise’s son, Henry, is at the gorgeous age of 4 but with him being so young it has meant that she has had to keep in contact with his father. Despite them being divorced for a couple of years and Henry’s father remarrying, Louise has been unable to let her relationship go. I felt sorry for her because she was not able to move on to the next part of her life. It took a major, shocking revelation for her to do so. Without this happening, I think Louise would have been stuck in the past for the rest of her life.
Another stage in life that has a big hold on Louise is high school. Despite being in her early 40’s she is unable to forgive herself for her actions as a teenager. I initially rolled my eyes at the drama of it all. Everyone can relate to high school…Louise is the girl that will do almost anything to fit in, Sophie is the popular girl while Maria and Esther are the outcasts. The majority of us can leave high school behind. When I realised the what the event was though, I understood why it still had a grip on Louise. It would be difficult for anyone to forgive themselves, especially when you are unknowingly being held back from doing so.
To compound her high school experience is Louise’s obsession with Facebook. She becomes overly conscious of every little thing, from not being invited to her high school reunion immediately to being jealous of her high school best friend’s perfect life. Louise tries to tell herself it doesn’t matter but doesn’t convince herself at all. Personally, I couldn’t understand at all this obsession with Facebook, mainly because she is the wrong generation to invest so much of her time and energy to it. Or frankly to care. So this didn’t ring true to me. Towards the end though, Louise’s attitude towards Facebook turned around, making her relatable once again. Louise’s experience with it became quite dark and sinister but totally feasible, which is why I really liked Friend Request. Everything was in the realm of possibility. I never once thought no one would do that as I tend to in some thrillers.
Friend Request is the perfect read for a thriller that could happen in the real world.
Friend Request by Laura Marshall was published on July 25th 2017 by Hachette Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of Friend Request, Laura Marshall, visit here.