Having read - and enjoyed - The Ice Cream Girls (see my review below) I found The Rose Petal Beach in the local library and just had to borrow it. It was on a "Quick Choice" so had to be returned within a week but
I was pretty sure, from past experience, that this wouldn't pose a problem.
I have to say that this was not my favourite Dorothy Koomson novel. At 657 pages, it's rather long drawn out, with not a
lot happening for considerable stretches. The author also uses a somewhat complicated structure of flash-backs which makes for a confusing read at times, though in her favour, the various voices of the main characters whom she uses to tell the story are
all distinctly different.
At the centre of the book are relationships and secrets -Tami's with her husband Scott who turns out to have a sordid secret which shakes Tami's world; Tami with Mirabelle,
a beautiful neighbour with a painful secret in her past; Tami's with best friend Beatrix who also - you guessed it - has a secret. The story starts when police turn up at Tami's house and arrest Scott for sexual assault. It is the start of a painful
unravelling of everything that Tami has held dear in her life.
The pace picks up a bit with the discovery of a body, turning the book from kitchen sink into a crime novel. However it slows down
again, rambling into new, but not necessarily gripping, avenues
My favourite character was Fleur, Mirabelle's long lost daughter, whose search for evidence that she had always had
a place in her mother's heart rang true. The moment when she discovered the truth about her mother's role in her life moved me more than anything else in the book. As always, with Dorothy Koomson's books, I enjoyed the faithful and affectionate depiction
of Brighton as the main centre of the action.
There was, of course, the expected twist in the tale when we discovered "who dunnit" - but I am afraid I didn't find it in the least
bit plausible. It seemed manufactured, not at all reasoned. Perhaps that was just me?
In the notes at the back of the book the author explains how she had cut 50,000 words out of her original maunscript.
I think she should have gone a lot further and made this a tighter, brighter read.