Title: I Invited Her In
Author: Adele Parks
Published: September 24th 2018
Publisher: Harlequin – HQ Fiction
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Domestic, Psychological, Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
‘I invited her in… and she took everything.’
When Mel hears from a long-lost friend in need of help, she doesn’t hesitate to invite her to stay. Mel and Abi were best friends back in the day, sharing the highs and lows of student life, until Mel’s unplanned pregnancy made her drop out of her studies.
Now, seventeen years later, Mel and Abi’s lives couldn’t be more different. Mel is happily married, having raised her son on her own before meeting her husband, Ben. Now they share gorgeous girls and have a chaotic but happy family home, with three children.
Abi, meanwhile, followed her lover to LA for a glamorous life of parties, celebrity and indulgence. Everything was perfect, until she discovered her partner had been cheating on her. Seventeen years wasted, and nothing to show for it. So what Abi needs now is a true friend to lean on, to share her grief over a glass of wine, and to have some time to heal. And what better place than Mel’s house, with her lovely kids, and supportive husband…
This dark, unsettling tale of the reunion of long-lost friends is thoroughly gripping exploration of wanting what you can’t have, jealousy and revenge from Sunday Times bestseller Adele Parks.
British novelist Adele Parks, is the author of almost twenty titles. Her latest is a domestic thriller, titled I Invited Her In. It is a tale of the difficulties of female friendship, envy, revenge and explosive secrets. This was a tantalising read, that I devoured in a short space of time, despite the fact that the book was almost 500 pages!
It is hard to visualise the worst possible thing a friend could do. There are a few options that come to mind, but the scenario Adele Parks presents in her new novel I Invited Her In completely shocked me! At the crux of this story is the friendship between two women that formed in university that splinters over a time frame of seventeen years and picks up again when one of the women reconnects to ask for help. Each woman has led a very different life path. For Mel, a now happily married mother of three, her life journey was determined by a shock pregnancy in university that forced her to make the decision to quit her studies and devote her life to her baby. For Abi, life has delivered a world of luxury and glamour, with plenty of schmoozing with celebrities, but it has recently come crashing down. When Abi seeks Mel out, despite the time that has separated them, Mel cannot deny her friend help she calls out for. However, as Abi nestles into Mel’s life, things are about the change, big time!
A quick perusal of the books I have read, revealed strangely that I have not read one single book by Adele Parks. For such a prolific writer with a good selection of back list titles to her name, this really shocked me! However, I do aim to rectify this by seeking out some older titles by Adele Parks over the upcoming holidays. My understanding of Adele Parks is that she is a very well known women’s fiction author. Her recent switch in direction genre wise to domestic psychological fiction seems to be a successful one. I Invited Her In offered plenty of entertainment and shock value!
I have to say that I wasn’t entirely invested in the relationship between Mel and Abi in their university days. They didn’t seem quite as tight as they could have been. While all my sympathies were directed towards Mel, her life situation really got to me. Abi on the other hand was absolutely awful, despicable and incredibly ungrateful. I think we are directed towards these ill feelings for Abi, thanks to the characterisation skills of Adele Parks. Likewise, I detested Abi’s ex husband Rob, but I found much to love in Ben, Mel’s husband. Mel’s family, her daughters and son Liam play a dramatic role in the book and I felt they were well drawn by the author. I think credit is due to Adele Parks for making me feel so much for these characters. I wanted to cry for them, hug them, but also throw things at them! This set of characters that will be sure to get right under your skin!
The atmosphere and strained tension is built up from the very opening of the novel. The front cover tagline ‘I invited her in… and she took everything’ gives the reader a very good indication of what is going to befall the lead of the story, Mel. Parks manages to maintain this ominous and suffocating atmosphere throughout the novel. The plot was easy to follow, characterised by plenty of twists, turns, emotional confrontations, earth shattering shocks and explosive secrets. Parks has structured the novel in a shifting style of points of view. As a result, we get right inside the heads of leading ladies Mel and Abi, along with Mel’s husband Ben and an additional outside character. This works well to build the intrigue of the novel and enhance the psychological features of I Invited Her In. Parks works hard to establish a good grounding for her novel in the first half, but when a life changing event occurs around the half way mark, the book really takes full flight and spirals towards an unexpected conclusion!
With an intriguing and diverting plot, full of challenging characters, I Invited Her In proved to be one mind-boggling and messy read of a friendship gone terribly wrong! I know it made me think twice about letting old friends back into my life, you can never be too sure!
I Invited Her In by Adele Parks was published on 24th September 2018 by Harlequin – HQ Fiction. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of I Invited Her In, Adele Parks, visit here.
*Please note that a free copy of this book was provided to me for review purposes through Beauty & Lace and Harlequin – HQ Fiction. To read the original review on the Beauty & Lace website please visit here.