The Good Girl by Fiona Neill begins with this quote:
"The truth may be stretched thin, but it never breaks, and it always surfaces above lies, as oil floats on water."
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
This is the first book I've read by Fiona Neill and I did like it. It was not quite what I was expecting, but honestly, I'm really not sure why I expected a thriller. Perhaps I didn't read the info closely enough. It's certainly got some tense moments, but this book is more of a study of a family in crisis. Or maybe two families in crisis. There are adults with secrets from their kids. There are kids with secrets from their parents. There are neighbors with secrets from each other and that doesn't even take into account the school scenarios. A story of modern families that are trying to raise their teens and get them to adulthood without too much drama. And how do you suppose that works out? Well, about like you'd expect.
The Good Girl begins with the pivotal 'event' in March and then takes us back three months to see what leads up to that first scene. Ailsa and Harry Field have moved from London to Norfolk, along with their three children, Luke, Romy, and Ben. Ailsa Field is the head teacher at Luke and Romy's school. Harry, who taught at a university in London, is taking on the house duties, along with writing a book. Everyone has settled in pretty well or so it seems...until the Fairport family moves in next door.
Wolf and Loveday Fairport are sex therapists and live quite the different lifestyle from their neighbors. They have two teenage sons, Jay and Marley. The Fairport parents, who have lived all over the world, do yoga in unusual ways and have spirit guides and build a sweat lodge. All kind of fascinating to the Fields, but out of the norm. On New Year's Eve, the two sets of neighbors get together for a meal and to get acquainted. Jay and Romy really seem to have hit it off. They become friends and then a little more than friends and then perhaps boyfriend/girlfriend. The problem is that there are all these secrets. With the adults, even before they came to Norfolk, with the kids, and with extended family and work colleagues. And secrets do have a way of getting out.
This story felt more than a little slow getting started. After the prologue, where we hear about the 'event', the chapters alternate between Romy's viewpoint and her mother Ailsa's perspective. Some parts were interesting and some got a little long. There was a lot of information about the brain and how it processes decisions. And as I said, secrets abound, and the trail of revelation for the various stories took us round and round and round. The final 75 pages were pretty gripping. This book points out how standards of privacy have changed and how so many young people do not understand appropriateness and Internet sharing. It just isn't something they think about. But they should. Oh, they definitely should.
So, would I read another book by Fiona Neill? Yes, I think I would. The secrets related here are not especially unique, but I think the author did a nice job with some contemporary issues. I give it 1-3/4 thumbs up.