This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Jenni Cahill
Callie and Suzy are best friends; they live across the road from one another and have children in the same class at school. Callie is a single mum to Rae and is overprotective of her daughter but it soon becomes apparent the reason for this is the heart condition Rae was born with.
Suzy is married with three sons – Henry and twins Peter and Otto. Her husband, Jez, is successful and well-paid but while Suzy has an enviable house and three lovely boys, all is not well within her household. Her marriage is on very shaky ground with Jez being cold towards Suzy, practically ignoring her and the children. Suzy believes having another baby – a girl this time – will save their marriage. In the meantime she pretends to have a perfect, happy family, even keeping up the pretence with best friend, Callie.
But Suzy isn’t the only one keeping secrets. Callie also needs to tell Suzy something but can’t bring herself to do so. When she starts back at work for the first time since Rae was born, Callie begins to distance herself from Suzy and we begin to realise their friendship isn’t as solid as it first appeared.
When a married couple move in next door to Suzy, she suspects there is something not quite right. Debs is a strange woman who doesn’t like talking to people, especially about herself, and becomes agitated at the slightest noise from her neighbours – or even planes flying over the house. Something bad has happened in Debs’ past and she is plagued by dreams of a girl called Daisy Poplar. When she begins to receive nuisance phone calls she assumes it is Them again. The Poplars. Debs escaped from them once before but becomes convinced they have found her again.
As the days pass we see how the three women’s lives are unravelling and we discover the secrets they are hiding. As those secrets surface, Rae’s life is put in danger.
The Playdate is told from Callie, Suzy and Debs’ point of view and takes place over a few days. Despite the short time frame the plot felt fast moving and I found the pages were flying by without me realising. I felt a bit sorry for Suzy as she struggled to cling onto her marriage, especially when Callie planned to distance herself from their friendship as soon as she went back to work and started to socialise with new people. I found that attitude quite callous but we learn why Callie behaves this way later on. Her secret made my jaw drop!
Although I was riveted by The Playdate and keen to keep reading long after I’d planned to stop, I do think there could have been a bit more tension when Rae is in danger. I knew something bad was going to happen to her but I didn’t feel it. The tension seemed to remain the same throughout the book.
Overall, I thought The Playdate was an interesting read with some surprising twists and turns.
Find out more about Louise Millar here