Laura Cavendish is like any mother, she loves her son Daniel, to whom she is very close and would do anything for him. She is looking forward to spending the summer with him when he comes home from Cambridge University before he begins his training as a surgeon. When Daniel announces he has a new girlfriend Laura is over the moon and has high hopes of them spending time together and becoming friends. However, when Laura and Cherry meet it is obvious that Cherry has different ideas. Cherry not only wants Laura’s son for herself but also the life that Laura leads.
Laura doubts Cherry’s motives when it comes to Daniel and after tragedy strikes she sees her chance to take Cherry out of the picture with a simple lie. Little does she now how damaging this will be and how it will turn her life upside down. Cherry wants revenge, and just how far will she go to destroy all that Laura holds dear and take it for herself?
The Girlfriend is Michelle Frances’ debut novel. The narrative is told from the perspectives of Laura and Cherry and through them we see their very different views of each other and how they see themselves as a part of Daniel’s life. Laura lives a very comfortable life in an expensive house, with nice clothes and a property in St Tropez and has a successful career as a producer of television programmes. She comes across a very strong and confident in all she does but weakness is in her marriage; she stays with her husband even though the live separate lives and he has been having an affair for many years. Cherry is Laura’s opposite, she comes from a one parent family where her mother had to work long hours to keep a roof over her head, and grew up wearing hand-me-down clothes. She now wants a better life, meaning a rich boyfriend to support her and where she can live the life Laura has, except she doesn’t want to work. Both characters have a cold and calculating side, that brings out the worst in them. Michelle Frances’ characterisation of not only Laura and Cherry but the extended family and friends is believable and makes the reader realise that this narrative could happen to any family.
The book is well written and grabs the reader from the first page. The descriptive writing gives a detailed visual to London, St Tropez and the Lake District so you feel you are there with the characters. The rapid pace of the story line builds the anticipation of the plot, which has its fair share of menace and culminates in one last shocking twist. The Girlfriend is a brilliant dark and chilling debut from Michelle Frances that will make you think about vetting your children’s partners in the future.