The Book Club by C.J. Cooper – Review
By Helen Johnston
If you belong to a book club, you might start wondering about the other people in the group and their choice of reading material after finishing this page-turner.
Lucy has moved from London to a picturesque Cotswolds village after a failed affair with her married boss and she is settling in well until Alice moves in next door.
Lucy still considers herself a newbie among her small circle of village friends and begins to feel a bit pushed out as Alice charms her way into their group. It’s her suggestion that they should start a book club and the others – Maggie, Rebecca and Tom – agree to join in.
All of them are hiding secrets from each other. Lucy is fearful they might judge her if they find out about her affair; Maggie has been hiding something from her husband for years; and Rebecca is having an affair with Maggie’s husband. Tom is gay and has his own secret life as a prostitute. Oh, what a tangled web they weave.
It soon becomes clear to Lucy that Alice has sinister intentions as she begins to manipulate the group. She chooses the first novel Jane Eyre and Lucy starts to feel that Alice knows her secret. When Lucy’s friend Liz comes to stay she has a run-in with Alice and is convinced she has met her before.
Alice has done her research well and soon the friendships between the group are crumbling as she executes her vengeful plan, with devastating results. The reason why Alice is out for revenge will keep you guessing right up to a clever twist which I didn’t see coming.
The action is set during a summer heatwave which fits the storyline as tempers rise along with the mercury. Claustrophobic sets in as the friends start to feel as though they are being watched at every turn.
This is a gripping psychological thriller which will keep you guessing until the end. It would make an intriguing choice for your next book club novel?
‘The Book Club’ by C.J. Cooper is published by Hodder & Stoughton, £14.99 paperback