This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Jenny Banks
In the Swinging Sixties of London, Jennifer makes a mistake that will come to plague the rest of her life. Years later and still struggling to come to terms with her husband’s death and the guilt that has haunted her, Jennifer embarks on a journey to find out the answer to a dangerous question; one that can only be found through old flame Hugh.
Jennifer’s eldest daughter Kate finds her marriage to kind, dependable Miles stalling after a chance encounter with handsome stranger, Jack. Now she is faced with the possibility of an exciting future, but Jack has a secret Kate needs to know.
Kate’s sister Amy has everything she could wish for in life – a loving handsome husband, two great kids and a seemingly endless supply of money. But when her happy life begins to crack, will she have the strength to stop her family from falling apart?
Having never been grabbed by a novel with different character strands, I was interested to see how Helen Warner’s second novel would weave together each woman’s story. From the intriguing prologue, it is evident that the secrets the three women hold are going to deeply influence each other. Through interspersed chapters, something new is revealed about each of the women and the story moves quickly which makes it all the more enticing to read. There is one secret that was the crux of the novel, and although I’m unsure of whether it was meant to be obvious, I predicted it quite early on which subtracted from the mystery the novel is shrouded in.
The voice of each character was captured very well, particularly Amy who out of everyone I was most unsure of prior to reading. But she was extremely likeable and although she leads a life that can only be dreamt of, was also very relatable. It was brilliant to see how her character developed from someone whose daily worries changed from which new shoes to buy to picking up the pieces of an almost shattered family. There were occasions when I wanted to shake Kate out of her attraction for Jack when she has lovely, caring Miles. The scenes set in the Sixties, showing a vibrant young Jennifer consumed by love for Michael were enjoyable. This switched to real sympathy for Jennifer in the present day at the raw pain she is still feeling for Michael but covers with a brave face. Although Michael was only in the novel for a short time in the Sixties, this happy snapshot with Jennifer made me want to read more about him.
Stay Close To Me was a thought provoking novel, about family, love and the secrets that you can’t run from.