Thursday 31 October 2019

Review - the Understudy by Sophie Hannah, Clare Mackintosh, B.A. Paris and Holly Brown

The Understudy by Sophie Hannah, Clare Mackintosh, B.A. Paris and Holly Brown
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Release date: 3 October 2019
Back cover blurb: HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO TO PROTECT YOUR DAUGHTER? Carolyn, Bronnie, Elise, and Kendall are bound together by one thing - their four daughters are best friends at the highly competitive Orla Flynn Academy for the Performing Arts. Imogen Curwood is a new girl at the Academy and her behaviour is odd from the start. On the day she arrives, bad things start to happen. As one threatening incident follows another, the four mothers begin to ask themselves: are their girls in danger? When an attempted murder rocks the school, Imogen is pleased to report that she has an alibi. If she isn't the guilty party, someone else must be. Carolyn, Bronnie, Elise and Kendall are determined to uncover the truth and protect their daughters. But are they prepared to risk their own secrets being exposed?

The Understudy is the first collaborative novel that I've read in a long time. Written by four amazing authors, I had been looking forward to it's release for a while, and I wasn't disappointed.

Carolyn, Bronnie, Elise and Kendall are four very different women, with only one thing in common; each of their daughters attends the Orla Flynn Academy for the Performing Arts, and wants to be a star.

Unfortunately is it impossible for all four girls to get the female lead role in the academy's productions and this causes natural rivalry and jealousy amongst the girls (and the parents). 

In the opening chapters of 'the Understudy', we learn that the previous academic year was difficult for two of the girls, one's natural talent far outshone the others limited ability and caused some rather nasty bullying.

In the present day, things seem to be ironed out between them, the error of their ways learnt, and reluctant apologies accepted. But then a new student arrives, and old insecurities and jealousies arise once more.

One Mother calls for the exclusion of one of the students, but she is adamant that it wasn't her. The finger points to the new girl, but what could she possibly have to gain, when she doesn't know the other girl's history. As incidents escalate and no-one is found guilty, the girl's mothers must all pull together.

The majority of the characters in this novel are not particularly likeable, but I think that is intentional on the authors' behalf. They do not want, or need our sympathy, they just need to figure out what the hell is going on!

The Understudy is available now via Amazon online and all good book shops.

Thank You to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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