Imperfect Women
From the author of Our Kind of Cruelty comes an enthralling, irresistible novel of psychological suspense about three women and the destructive power of buried secrets.When Nancy Hennessy is murdered, she leaves behind two best friends, an adoring husband and daughter, and a secret lover whose identity she took to the grave. Nancy was gorgeous, wealthy, and cherished by those who knew her—from the outside, her life was perfect. But as the investigation into her death flounders and her friends Eleanor and Mary wrestle with their grief, dark details surface that reveal how little they knew their friend, each other, and maybe even themselves.A gripping, immersive novel about impossible expectations and secrets that fester and become lethal, Imperfect Women unfolds through the perspectives of three fascinating women. Their enduring, complex friendship is the knot the reader must untangle to answer the question Who killed Nancy?Imperfect Women explores guilt and retribution, love and betrayal, and the compromises we make that alter our lives irrevocably. With the wickedly sharp insights and finely tuned suspense that has drawn comparisons to Patricia Highsmith and Paula Hawkins, Araminta Hall returns with another page-turning, thought-provoking tour de force.

Imperfect Women Details

TitleImperfect Women
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 16th, 2020
PublisherOrion Fiction
Rating
GenreMystery, Fiction, Thriller, Adult Fiction, Mystery Thriller, Suspense, Audiobook, Adult, Psychological Thriller

Imperfect Women Review

  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    Araminta Hall's latest novel is a dark and intense exploration of women's lives, marriage, love, loss and long term friendships that evolve over the years. Nancy Hennessy, Eleanor Robert, and Mary Smithson first met at university, meeting in fresher's week and instantly forging a friendship and love with each other that, despite their personality differences and different paths in the future, survives. That said, that doesn't mean that that their friendship is straightforward or that they are pe Araminta Hall's latest novel is a dark and intense exploration of women's lives, marriage, love, loss and long term friendships that evolve over the years. Nancy Hennessy, Eleanor Robert, and Mary Smithson first met at university, meeting in fresher's week and instantly forging a friendship and love with each other that, despite their personality differences and different paths in the future, survives. That said, that doesn't mean that that their friendship is straightforward or that they are perfect, they are flawed and imperfect women, there is resentment, jealousies, rivalries, and betrayal. They lose their way, their ambitions and their identities, hampered by poor self esteem issues, and struggle with bringing up children, they love their children, no question, but being a mother and parent is not always what its cracked up to be. There is debilitating post-natal depression, along with the tedium and stress of being a full time housewife and mother, exacerbated by men who leave a lot to be desired when it comes to being fathers and husbands. Narrated by each of the women, Eleanor is a single woman whose career in the charity sector has flourished, she has had a particularly close and involving relationship with the beautiful Nancy and her human rights lawyer husband, Robert. After meeting Nancy the night before, Eleanor rushes to Robert in the early hours of the morning, Nancy has not returned home and he is worried. Eleanor tells him Nancy had left her to meet David, her lover, someone she had been having an affair with for more than a year. Events take a darker turn when DS Daniel arrives to inform them that Nancy is dead, discovered murdered by a path next to the river in Hammersmith. The narrative shifts from the past and present, following the fallout of Nancy's death on all of them, revealing their interior lives, their thoughts, decisions and secrets as Eleanor and Mary find solace and support in each other.Hall looks at marriage and the difficulties it can have evolving through time and the humdrum nature of everyday life where you can so easily stop seeing each other, sometimes never seeing each other until it is too late. Robert is devoted to and loves Nancy, but she struggles to live his version of their lives together, with him playing an insignificant role at home and in childcare. Howard, an academic, is married when he gets involved with Mary, and continues to have affairs throughout their marriage, contemptuous, controlling and disdainful of Mary as she brings up their 3 children without any help from him whatsoever. In a twisted story, we observe the evolution of friendship and love between the 3 women, recalibrated as they come to understand and accommodate their imperfections, particularly as it finally becomes clear what happened to Nancy. I listened to the audio of this book as well, and the first thing I must say is that I wasn't bored by this at all. In fact, the complexity of the storytelling and the in depth characterisation made my appreciation for the book increase. Sometimes when you only listen to the audio you can miss stuff, but because I was familiar the book, I believe it enhanced my audio experience. The narrator, Helen Keeley was great, her characterisation was good with each character feeling distinct. The tone kept me hooked, despite knowing where it was all heading. Many thanks to Orion and Hachette Audio UK for an ARC.
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  • Nilufer Ozmekik
    January 1, 1970
    I couldn’t agree more about the title of the book. The characters are definitely far from the perfect. They’re truly dislikable, insecure and problematic ones! You may not easily connect with any of them. And let’s not forget those inglorious bastards (at some parts they were even worse than Tarantino’s vicious Nazis!) call themselves husbands. I wanted to start a slapping contest between Robert and Howard the candidates of the worst husband characters in the literature world. I think Howard was I couldn’t agree more about the title of the book. The characters are definitely far from the perfect. They’re truly dislikable, insecure and problematic ones! You may not easily connect with any of them. And let’s not forget those inglorious bastards (at some parts they were even worse than Tarantino’s vicious Nazis!) call themselves husbands. I wanted to start a slapping contest between Robert and Howard the candidates of the worst husband characters in the literature world. I think Howard was the most despicable and disgusting one. (impregnating with one of the woman, marrying with the other, cheating the woman you’re married, iyk! I don’t know if I should hate him more than the women who accepted his unfaithfulness or I scream at the women’s face to advise them have some self-respect.)So we’re introduced to three main heroines: Eleanor: in love with her friend’s husband, seems like strong and smart but she isn’t!! She gets jealous of her friend Nancy because she got married Robert who she’s in love for a long time even though he didn’t remember the first time they’ve met and she accepted his absentmindedness. ( Oh girl, grow the hell up, wear better big girl pants and move on!)Nancy is the most freaking one, batshit crazy and more dislikable character between three women. So I never cared about her situation. And Mary was the most pathetic one, married with Howard who seems like soul mate of Harvey Weinstein, suffering from her own insecurities. I wanted to hold her from her shoulders and shake her till she gathers her wits and learn to show some respect to herself! R.E.S.P.E.C.T. ! ( When I read her parts, I keep on listening Aretha Franklin to cool my nerves down!) As a result, after brutal death of one of the characters, all those layered, hidden secrets start to emerge and the intercepted lives of those women and two scumbag husbands turn into a whirlwind complex misery. Especially I liked the bomb the author threw on our laps in the middle of the book but you expect more after a big revelation and better, moving, surprising, twisting ending but unfortunately we never get that one because the story’s ending was so predictable.Overall: I didn’t have problem about the progression or the pacing of the story. Even though I hate the guts of the story, it still picked my interest and I wanted to know its conclusion. But a better and mot so predictable ending would fit better for my needs. So I’m giving 2.5 stars and round them up to 3 and I’m getting out of here to find more gripping story with better characterization.Special thanks to NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for sharing this ARC in exchange my honest review.bloginstagramfacebooktwitter
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  • Ceecee
    January 1, 1970
    Mary, Eleanor and Nancy have been friends since university days nearly thirty years ago. Nancy appears to be happily married to Robert and Mary is unhappily married to Howard. One night at dinner, Nancy confesses to Eleanor that she has had an affair, later that night she is murdered. This terrible incident sets off a chain reaction of events which causes these ‘imperfect women’ to reflect on themselves, on relationships and what is actually important. This story is told from the point of view o Mary, Eleanor and Nancy have been friends since university days nearly thirty years ago. Nancy appears to be happily married to Robert and Mary is unhappily married to Howard. One night at dinner, Nancy confesses to Eleanor that she has had an affair, later that night she is murdered. This terrible incident sets off a chain reaction of events which causes these ‘imperfect women’ to reflect on themselves, on relationships and what is actually important. This story is told from the point of view of the three friends. This is a well written story of grief and guilt of those left behind, of secrets and lies and illusion and delusion. Most of it is enjoyable but I think that Eleanor’s and Mary’s perspectives are the most interesting. Eleanor’s shock and grief come across really well and it’s interesting to see how she gets drawn into Roberts life after Nancy’s death. The way all characters reflect on the impact of Nancy in their lives in varying ways is also good. Mary’s belief that they are all participants in a Greek tragedy is illuminating and it’s partly true but as the story unfolds you see that it’s a fantastical mythology. In my opinion Mary is the most interesting character and how she puts up with the insufferable Howard all those years is beyond me. The male characters are not likeable but in differing ways. Nancy’s story is the least appealing because she is made to feel like a goddess in her life story and she patently isn’t. Nothing seems enough for her, she’s constantly seeking more so she comes across as self absorbed and not very interesting. The pace picks up with Mary’s story and that contains some intriguing surprises. I like the end and it fits well with their examination of themselves and acceptance they are imperfect. Overall, it’s a bit of an uneven read but there is more that I enjoy than dislike. 3.5 rounded up. With thanks to NetGalley and Orion for the ARC.
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  • Bridgett
    January 1, 1970
    Imperfect women, indeed. And let's not forget their imperfect husbands, who were just as vile as the wives. It took me a full week to read this book. In 'Bridgett World,' do you know what that means? Imma tell you. It means this book was B.O.R.I.N.G. I had zero desire to get back to it once I'd stopped...it just wasn't that interesting. Told from three points of view, Eleanor, Nancy, and Mary, it's actually divided into three sections...one for each woman. I typically enjoy that technique, bu Imperfect women, indeed. And let's not forget their imperfect husbands, who were just as vile as the wives. It took me a full week to read this book. In 'Bridgett World,' do you know what that means? Imma tell you. It means this book was B.O.R.I.N.G. I had zero desire to get back to it once I'd stopped...it just wasn't that interesting. Told from three points of view, Eleanor, Nancy, and Mary, it's actually divided into three sections...one for each woman. I typically enjoy that technique, but for whatever reason, it simply didn't work here. Stories like this one usually make me happy--women in their forties dealing with all of life's ups and downs. In this instance, the women were so yucky...with so few redeeming qualities...I simply didn't feel compelled to learn more. There is a small twist at the end...but it's not really a twist, as it was pretty obvious from the start. Bottom line, I probably wouldn't suggest this book to my friends. Available now! My sincere appreciation to NetGalley and Farrar, Straus, and Giroux for my review copy.
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  • Edward Lorn
    January 1, 1970
    OUT NOW!!!Video review: https://youtu.be/eMtyOPRlU3kIMPERFECT WOMEN feels like the love child of Herman Koch and Lisa Jewell, yet is wholly Araminta Hall's own voice. The characters shine in this one. I was engaged throughout, eagerly following the lives of Eleanor, Nancy, and Mary. Each woman has her own history and struggles, their own ethics and hypocrisies. Such a well balanced cast of characters.This is one of those books I wanted to reread as soon as I finished, for two reasons: 1. I loved OUT NOW!!!Video review: https://youtu.be/eMtyOPRlU3kIMPERFECT WOMEN feels like the love child of Herman Koch and Lisa Jewell, yet is wholly Araminta Hall's own voice. The characters shine in this one. I was engaged throughout, eagerly following the lives of Eleanor, Nancy, and Mary. Each woman has her own history and struggles, their own ethics and hypocrisies. Such a well balanced cast of characters.This is one of those books I wanted to reread as soon as I finished, for two reasons: 1. I loved it that much.and 2. I want to go back through and see if I missed any breadcrumbs along the way, because the ending had me shook. So damn good.Araminta Hall is one of my favorite character writers. She's bold and brave, and does not play favorites. She sets up these characters' trials and tribulations with unique skill, and deftly showcases a talent for sleight of hand, leading the reader down one path, only to find a dead end. You went the wrong way, and I can only imagine Hall is back at the fork in the road gleefully chuckling while as you retrace your steps shaking a finger at her. "You tricked me," you'll say, but you'll also feel satisfied, as one will after having seen a truly mind-bending magic trick.In summation: What I love most about Hall's work is that sleight of hand. I never know what to expect page by page, and that's so rare for me. She's one of the most unpredictable authors currently working, and the only harsh criticism I have for her is that she doesn't write fast enough. Final Judgment: Perfectly imperfect characters.
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  • Louise Wilson
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars rounded up to 4When Nancy Hennessey is murdered, she leaves behind her two best friends, an adoring husband, a daughter and a secret lover. Nancy was gorgeous, wealthy and cherished by those who knew her. But the investigation into her death founders and her best friends, Eleanor and Mary wrestle with. Dark details come to the surface reveal how little they knew their friend.Eleanor, Mary and Nancy all met at university. They all cane from different backgrounds but they form a strong b 3.5 stars rounded up to 4When Nancy Hennessey is murdered, she leaves behind her two best friends, an adoring husband, a daughter and a secret lover. Nancy was gorgeous, wealthy and cherished by those who knew her. But the investigation into her death founders and her best friends, Eleanor and Mary wrestle with. Dark details come to the surface reveal how little they knew their friend.Eleanor, Mary and Nancy all met at university. They all cane from different backgrounds but they form a strong bond. They are now in their late forties. But Nancy has just unexpectedly died. Eleanor knew that Nancy was having an affair before she died. The story is told in three parts, each part told by one of the friends perspectives. The first part is told by Eleanor, then Nancy and then Mary. I liked the authors writing style. The story did seem to drag out a bit in the middle. This is not a murder mystery. It's more about the friendship the three women had. None of the women were perfect which which made it more realistic. This is an enjoyable read. I would like to thank NetGalley, Orion Publishing Group and the author Araminta Hall for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Mark
    January 1, 1970
    What to say? It’s a story about 3 women, life long friends, and their partners and the chaos that is caused when 1 of them dies and the other 2 ( plus hubbies ) find out secrets and things that have been ‘going on’ without the others knowing There is a story here, and parts of it where told well but it was all so, well, long and drawn out and so so many character flushes, dizzy spells, loss of ability to walk’s, feverish sweats and the like in the end it just felt like a lot if it was descriptiv What to say? It’s a story about 3 women, life long friends, and their partners and the chaos that is caused when 1 of them dies and the other 2 ( plus hubbies ) find out secrets and things that have been ‘going on’ without the others knowing There is a story here, and parts of it where told well but it was all so, well, long and drawn out and so so many character flushes, dizzy spells, loss of ability to walk’s, feverish sweats and the like in the end it just felt like a lot if it was descriptive padding The 3 plus husbands are not just unlikeable but repugnant and loathsome, not not likeable in a ‘love to hate you way’ but really unlikeable 100% full stop and brought a new meaning to the words self obsessed I loved the authors ‘Our Kind Of Cruelty’ and look forward to her next book but this sadly was not for meAnd that’s where I will leave it 🤗4/10 as there is a story there 2 Stars
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  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    Nope.Yes, it’s that bad. What a horrifically bad novel, especially after Our Kind of Cruelty.
  • Mandy White
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely loved Our Kind of Cruelty and was excited to see a new book from Araminta Hall. I really liked the sound of Imperfect Women but it fell short for me. I am not really sure what it was, a combination of the story dragging out and the attitudes of the 3 main characters. Perhaps my expectations were too high. It was a good story but not quite as good as I was hoping.Imperfect Women, these 3 are definitely that. It is thestory of 3 women, friends since university. When one of them is mur I absolutely loved Our Kind of Cruelty and was excited to see a new book from Araminta Hall. I really liked the sound of Imperfect Women but it fell short for me. I am not really sure what it was, a combination of the story dragging out and the attitudes of the 3 main characters. Perhaps my expectations were too high. It was a good story but not quite as good as I was hoping.Imperfect Women, these 3 are definitely that. It is thestory of 3 women, friends since university. When one of them is murdered their secrets start to come out. Eleanor, Mary and Nancy all led very different lives. They all envied each other and wanted what the others had. But when they really find out about each other they may find that they don’t really. Thanks to NetGalley and Farrar, Strauss and Giroux for my advanced copy of this book book is to read.
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  • Quirkychic
    January 1, 1970
    Since this would be only the second review on this book’s Goodreads page, I didn’t want to be too harsh but then I got to page 242 and now all bets are off.I read this book so you don’t have to.The concept of this story is great and the execution wasn’t too bad but the writing…oh, the writing!!! The writing is just a “NO!” for me and I have to blame some of that on whoever edited this. I realize I’m reading an ARC and maybe changes will be made but let’s talk about a couple of things that really Since this would be only the second review on this book’s Goodreads page, I didn’t want to be too harsh but then I got to page 242 and now all bets are off.I read this book so you don’t have to.The concept of this story is great and the execution wasn’t too bad but the writing…oh, the writing!!! The writing is just a “NO!” for me and I have to blame some of that on whoever edited this. I realize I’m reading an ARC and maybe changes will be made but let’s talk about a couple of things that really irk me in books when it comes to poor editing. 1. Grammar--such as words missing from sentences and words on the page twice. 2. The same adjective used over and over again. (I mean, how many times do I have to read the word “maudlin?”) 3. The same metaphor used more than once (in this case at least four times) just worded differently when describing different things. 4. Over ambitious words—this is not literary fiction. This is a mystery. Use words that the average mystery reader will understand. Get over yourself. 5. Melodramatic –not only was this particular word used over and over but many of the descriptions and sentences had a bit a melodrama themselves.The book:Let me preface this by saying that this is a contemporary book. This takes place in modern times. Do women still have the disadvantage? Sure. But this book paints all men in a horrid light and women as stupid and naïve to the wiles of men. If you read this book be prepared for the message the all men are detestable, selfish beings who only care about themselves and all women are destined to be miserable and unhappy because they can’t be who they truly want and there is nothing that can be done about it. Now let’s hit some characters and spoilers:Our main characters-Eleanor, Nancy (her husband Robert), Mary (her husband Howard)The only bright point in this whole book is Irena (Eleanor’s Neighbor). In fact, I added a star to this review just because of Irena’s meaning behind the phrase “You are Loved.” Page 111 “She said they meant more than I love you, she said they gave you ownership of what it means to be loved, it reminds you of the responsibility that comes with loving and being loved. She used to say if anyone loves you, then you have to be kind to yourself so as not to damage their investment.” Best thing in the whole book.Eleanor is supposed to be a smart woman but this portrays her as stupid and just plain naïve. It’s clear she’s been in love with Robert since she first met him and is jealous of Nancy’s life with him. When he doesn’t even remember the first night they met, she just lets it slide even though it hurts her deeply. Robert is trash. He cares about no one but himself and his own desires. Only his dreams matter and he’s literally shocked when someone doesn’t think like him. One of his worst qualities, wait for it….he sleeps with the wife he loves the morning before she dies and then five months later he’s sleeping with her “best friend” because he misses her so much. What. A. Crock.Nancy. Part of me wants to just break out and call her delusional but really, I think this woman is severely mentally ill. It should be obvious to everyone. There is one mention of her having a therapist, but what good was that therapist? It didn’t seem like she had been put on any medication and whatever they were doing wasn’t working. She also received no mercy or understanding from Robert even after she had to be committed for two weeks after her daughter was born for post partem depression. Howard is a predator. I just can’t think of enough nasty things to say about this character so I shall move on.Mary. Oh, Mary. Howard was married to another woman when you got pregnant by him and it still took a while for him to leave her and marry you. After you were married, he continued to cheat on you. It seemed to be ok until you found out the identity of the last woman. Why did you put up with this? The straw the broke the camels back for me was page 242. It implies that Mary was so desperate for affection and attention that she was willing to allow herself to be raped without putting up any fight until another person came along and scared off her would be rapist. At this, I repeated something I’d said earlier in this book, “I can’t believe a woman wrote this.”This book had so much potential with its concept and the actual twists and such would have hit the nail on the head (even though they were pretty easy to guess), but all in all, this book is just awful. The language used and metaphors and the unlikeable characters were just too much for me. I will never recommend this book. One more thing, these characters were supposed to have been three best friends for over twenty years yet they didn’t really seem to know each other very well at all. It just didn’t work. 2 out of 5 stars for Irena’s sake alone.
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  • Christina
    January 1, 1970
    I was totally obsessed with this author’s previous work, Our Kind of Cruelty. It was one of the best books I read in 2019. So I was positive I was going to love this one too. Alas, it wasn’t to be.The good news is that Araminta Hall remains a beautiful writer. She has a way with language and description, making her books much more literary than so many others in the genre.Unfortunately though, as “thrillers” go, I did not find this one at all thrilling. It moved really slowly and was more of a s I was totally obsessed with this author’s previous work, Our Kind of Cruelty. It was one of the best books I read in 2019. So I was positive I was going to love this one too. Alas, it wasn’t to be.The good news is that Araminta Hall remains a beautiful writer. She has a way with language and description, making her books much more literary than so many others in the genre.Unfortunately though, as “thrillers” go, I did not find this one at all thrilling. It moved really slowly and was more of a soap opera/Neighbours type drama than a murder mystery. I also did not like any of the characters. In contrast to “Our Kind of Cruelty, in which you hated the characters but were fascinated by them, I found little to interest me in any of these imperfect women and men. Hall’s great writing was not enough to get me through the slow plot and less-than-compelling characters.I gotta say, I take it really personally that I didn’t love this book, because her previous one made such an impression on me. I will surely read more by Hall. This one just didn’t capture my attention. Though murder happens in it, I also think it might have been better classified as women’s fiction than mystery/thriller in order to set expectations for a slower pace and more melodrama.Thanks to NetGalley, Farrar, Straus and Giroux and Araminta Hall for the advance copy. Here’s hoping Hall’s next book packs the thrills and intrigue once again.
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  • Rach
    January 1, 1970
    Nancy, Eleanor and Mary have been best friends since they met at college. Nancy is killed one night which leads to Eleanor and Mary working out why and who killed her while dealing with their own personal issues. There are three POV's in the book Nancy, Eleanor and Mary. It is told in the past and present. As the story unfolds in the past and present we learn how all the characters lives are intertwined whether they know it or not. Each character in the book isn't perfect and that is probably tr Nancy, Eleanor and Mary have been best friends since they met at college. Nancy is killed one night which leads to Eleanor and Mary working out why and who killed her while dealing with their own personal issues. There are three POV's in the book Nancy, Eleanor and Mary. It is told in the past and present. As the story unfolds in the past and present we learn how all the characters lives are intertwined whether they know it or not. Each character in the book isn't perfect and that is probably true to life. I would have to put this book into two genres. Mystery as we learn what happened to Nancy but also a psychological novel as it deals with the characters lives and the people around them. If you like a book filled with lots of secrets, imperfect characters and a bit of mystery than i would recommended this one to. I received a ARC from Netgalley and Orion Publishing Group for an objection review.
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  • Lyndie
    January 1, 1970
    perfect adjective: being entirely without fault or defect : flawlessIn Imperfect Women, Araminta Hall yet again brings us a gripping and psychological suspense about three women and the destructive power of their secrets.We follow the lives of three women who have been friends since college. Mary, Eleanor and Nancy each have a "perfect" life, ot so they want us to believe. But when one of these perfect women ends up murdered the investigation into her death shatters the mirage. Overall I really perfect adjective: being entirely without fault or defect : flawlessIn Imperfect Women, Araminta Hall yet again brings us a gripping and psychological suspense about three women and the destructive power of their secrets.We follow the lives of three women who have been friends since college. Mary, Eleanor and Nancy each have a "perfect" life, ot so they want us to believe. But when one of these perfect women ends up murdered the investigation into her death shatters the mirage. Overall I really enjpyed this book alot! Imperfect Women is a true guilty pleasure read, packed with long term friendships, rocky marriages, love, lies, secrets and betrayal.I recieved a digital copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Jessica Kafka
    January 1, 1970
    Nancy, Eleanor and Mary are best friends. Nancy is killed, so Eleanor and Mary try to find out what happened. I thought this book would be about Eleanor and Mary figuring out what happened to Nancy. The book is more about what is going on in the three women's lives and the secrets they are keeping. All three women really are imperfect. The mystery aspect of the book is in the background. I did enjoy the book but it wasn't what I was expecting.Helen Keeley did a good job narrating.I recommend thi Nancy, Eleanor and Mary are best friends. Nancy is killed, so Eleanor and Mary try to find out what happened. I thought this book would be about Eleanor and Mary figuring out what happened to Nancy. The book is more about what is going on in the three women's lives and the secrets they are keeping. All three women really are imperfect. The mystery aspect of the book is in the background. I did enjoy the book but it wasn't what I was expecting.Helen Keeley did a good job narrating.I recommend this book for fans of Big Little Lies and books where there is a mystery in the background by the main focus is on the characters' lives.Thank you NetGalley and Hachette Audio UK for this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Stacey Camp
    January 1, 1970
    **3.5 Stars** "Marriage is very strange. It's as full of hate as it is love. We can't possibly speculate at what happens between any couple when all the doors are shut and all the curtains are drawn.""Anger is often not cruelty...it is more often love." I was excited to get an advanced reader copy of Araminta Hall's newest book,  Imperfect Women, as I really enjoyed her book, Our Kind of Cruelty, last year. Hall's writing, especially at the beginning of the book, was first rate. There a **3.5 Stars** "Marriage is very strange. It's as full of hate as it is love. We can't possibly speculate at what happens between any couple when all the doors are shut and all the curtains are drawn.""Anger is often not cruelty...it is more often love." I was excited to get an advanced reader copy of Araminta Hall's newest book,  Imperfect Women, as I really enjoyed her book, Our Kind of Cruelty, last year. Hall's writing, especially at the beginning of the book, was first rate. There are some jewels scattered throughout the book, too, that I highlighted and certainly won't forget. She has a gift for prose and for writing things that really hit home for me as a woman and working mother.So why the 3.5 stars? I so wanted to like this book, but about 25% of the way in it seemed to go on a number of tangents. I think heavy-handed editing could have helped the narrative, as Hall often has her characters go into long diatribes on life and feminism. This is certainly not a bad thing in my book, but all of her characters are deeply introspective people who make questionable choices despite their reflectiveness. I am not confident that most people operate with that level and depth of self-awareness on a daily basis, and that's probably what struck me as the most problematic part of the book.The book is about three female friends who met in college and are now coming of age (despite being of middle age like myself). The friends find themselves tethered to one another when one of them disappears and then is found dead under what is believed to be suspicious circumstances. As the friends investigate what happened, betrayals and unfaithfulness are revealed, making the reader wonder how these three women ever stayed together and trusted one another in the first place.I've read other reviews of this book now that I'm done with it, and some people have complained that everyone in the book is "imperfect" (hence the title) and irredeemably flawed. Every person out there is flawed, so I don't see this as a big problem. What is a problem, in my opinion, is how self-absorbed all the characters are despite being "friends." They seem to be so flawed that they lack a moral compass needed to have friends - maybe that's Hall's point, that all of these characters were drawn together because they were missing what makes them human. I am not sure.Nevertheless, I will definitely read Araminta Hall's next book because I enjoy her writing style so much. The plot is where the book fell short for me. Thank you to Araminta Hall, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and NetGalley for an advanced reader copy of the book!For more of my book reviews visit me here: Book Review Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
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  • Vanessa Menezes
    January 1, 1970
    Nancy, Eleanor and Mary have been best friends since college. All three of them hoped for a perfect life but each of their lives are far from perfect.Nancy married her college sweetheart and is now missing that excitement of her youth. Whereas, Eleanor put her career above all else and hasn't looked back, despite her soft spot for Nancy's husband. While, Mary fell pregnant far too young and is now coping with three children and a mentally unwell husband.But when Nancy is killed, Eleanor and Mary Nancy, Eleanor and Mary have been best friends since college. All three of them hoped for a perfect life but each of their lives are far from perfect.Nancy married her college sweetheart and is now missing that excitement of her youth. Whereas, Eleanor put her career above all else and hasn't looked back, despite her soft spot for Nancy's husband. While, Mary fell pregnant far too young and is now coping with three children and a mentally unwell husband.But when Nancy is killed, Eleanor and Mary must align themselves to uncover her killer. And as each of their stories unfold, they realise that there are so many truths that have to be uncovered along the way.First of all, the title was perfect! These three women are totally imperfect. The book is written in three parts, from the perspective of each of the friends and is filled with infidelity and grief.I really thought I would enjoy it but I did not. The mystery surrounding Nancy’s death was pushed back as a secondary story with more focus given to the lives of each of the women. Sadly, I never connected with any of them and their husbands were just so intolerable.So, overall the idea behind the plot was good. But this book was just not for me!Thank You to NetGalley and Orion Publishing for this ARC!!
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  • Lyndie
    January 1, 1970
    perfect adjective: being entirely without fault or defect : flawlessIn Imperfect Women, Araminta Hall yet again brings us a gripping and psychological suspense about three women and the destructive power of their secrets.We follow the lives of three women who have been friends since college. Mary, Eleanor and Nancy each have a "perfect" life, ot so they want us to believe. But when one of these perfect women ends up murdered the investigation into her death shatters the mirage. Overall I really perfect adjective: being entirely without fault or defect : flawlessIn Imperfect Women, Araminta Hall yet again brings us a gripping and psychological suspense about three women and the destructive power of their secrets.We follow the lives of three women who have been friends since college. Mary, Eleanor and Nancy each have a "perfect" life, ot so they want us to believe. But when one of these perfect women ends up murdered the investigation into her death shatters the mirage. Overall I really enjpyed this book alot! Imperfect Women is a true guilty pleasure read, packed with long term friendships, rocky marriages, love, lies, secrets and betrayal.I recieved a digital copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Elaine
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of Imperfect Women. This wasn't bad, but not what I was looking for. I was looking for suspense, excitement, drama and if that's what you're looking for here, back away. SLOOWLLY. ** Minor spoilers ** Two BFFs, Eleanor and Mary, are shocked when their BFF, Nancy, is found dead. Eleanor decides to probe her friend's death on her own, when the police investigation stalls, but finds herself confronting painful truths of her own.The novel is split into the perspe Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of Imperfect Women. This wasn't bad, but not what I was looking for. I was looking for suspense, excitement, drama and if that's what you're looking for here, back away. SLOOWLLY. ** Minor spoilers ** Two BFFs, Eleanor and Mary, are shocked when their BFF, Nancy, is found dead. Eleanor decides to probe her friend's death on her own, when the police investigation stalls, but finds herself confronting painful truths of her own.The novel is split into the perspectives of the three women, and what each has learned from their imperfect, flawed marriages and about themselves.Yes, the women are imperfect, but that can be said for all of us. But, unfortunately, neither of them were likable. I felt no connection to any of them and there was no rapport or warmth in their friendships or interactions. I couldn't believe they had been friends since college.The men were predictably cliche, an adultering bastard and a man who took his wife for granted, as were the themes; bad husbands, mistreated wives who realize too little too late the mistakes they made in marrying these particular men.The mystery behind Nancy's death is anti-climatic and one I figured out early on.There's no much drama or suspense, but a lot of introspection and personal reflection. The writing was good, but I was looking for a straight forward mystery, not one with lots of yakking behind it. Some readers might enjoy the thoughtfulness and bantering about imperfect women and marriages we've all heard and read about in similar books. I didn't.
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  • Caidyn (he/him/his)
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review!CW: cheating, murder/death, chronic illness, and emotional abuseAnother haunting read from Araminta Hall. She blew me away with her debut, Our Kind of Cruelty, and it stayed the same with this second book. It's one that will definitely stay with me for a while.Three women, three friends. All their lives intertwined. Nancy is murdered, leaving her husband and two best friends, Eleanor and Mary, trying to find out what happened. I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review!CW: cheating, murder/death, chronic illness, and emotional abuseAnother haunting read from Araminta Hall. She blew me away with her debut, Our Kind of Cruelty, and it stayed the same with this second book. It's one that will definitely stay with me for a while.Three women, three friends. All their lives intertwined. Nancy is murdered, leaving her husband and two best friends, Eleanor and Mary, trying to find out what happened. The book focuses on the three women, each getting their own part and each at different point in the story. It was woven so brilliantly and, as the title suggests, they're all imperfect and trying to live their lives the best way they know how to.It's a book that, just with her debut, will leave readers divided. It's not so much a mystery, really, but a wandering down what happens to friendships as one grows older. Things change. Relationships changed. And this certainly documents that, as well as trying to see what happened to how they once were. Each perspective was fantastic in its own way, but I liked Mary's the best. Perhaps it was because she was the last perspective, perhaps it was because of the content in it. But, I liked that one the best in the end.It was a great story, one that I can't wait to have on my shelf to revisit in the future. Hall wrote another great book and I can't wait for it to be published for everyone to read!
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  • Olga
    January 1, 1970
    I really liked Our Kind of Cruelty by the same author and had high hopes for her next book. I must admit that I was disappointed. The premise was promising and the writing wasn’t bad but the story was slow, repetitive and ridden with cliches. To be honest, I was glad when I finished it.
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  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    Imperfect Women was extremely engaging, a character driven friendhip drama with an intriguingly unpredictable mystery element. Three women, an intertwined story of friendship and betrayal - Araminta Hall writes realistically flawed female characters with deep insight and an ability to create a bond between them and the reader that is really excellent. Nancy, Mary and Ellie have been friends since college, the bond between them firmly held even as life pulls them apart. Then Nancy dies...But what Imperfect Women was extremely engaging, a character driven friendhip drama with an intriguingly unpredictable mystery element. Three women, an intertwined story of friendship and betrayal - Araminta Hall writes realistically flawed female characters with deep insight and an ability to create a bond between them and the reader that is really excellent. Nancy, Mary and Ellie have been friends since college, the bond between them firmly held even as life pulls them apart. Then Nancy dies...But what lead up to this tragic event and how will it affect those she left behind.That's the main premise and whilst the mystery of what exactly happened to Nancy gives it an added edginess that digs deep the appeal here is strongly within the personal discoveries of Ellie and Mary as they reassess everything they knew not just about each other but about themselves. It is utterly riveting, a page turner of a read that offers up much to contemplate as you hear from all three of these friends and discover all the good and the bad that makes them who they are. Excellent. Very much recommended.
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  • Shahira8826
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. It is set to be published in August 2020."Imperfect Women" by Araminta Hall is not a thriller or a mystery and should not be advertised as such.True, it starts with a murder, but that's about the end of it.The investigation is pretty much left out of the story, and the focal point of the novel is neither the murder itself nor the search for the killer. No, the focus is on the cha Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. It is set to be published in August 2020."Imperfect Women" by Araminta Hall is not a thriller or a mystery and should not be advertised as such.True, it starts with a murder, but that's about the end of it.The investigation is pretty much left out of the story, and the focal point of the novel is neither the murder itself nor the search for the killer. No, the focus is on the characters' sentimental life and their self-pitying inner dialogue.The narrator's voice gets intolerable to listen to when she does this shrill, tremulous whine as though she were on the verge of tears, but you can hardly blame the narrator: the characters she has to voice *are* constantly on the verge of tears.Eleanor, Nancy and Mary - the three protagonists - are very different on the surface, but all the same at the core: three disempowered, dissatisfied women who throughout the story show no agency at all and refuse to own their choices.Even in the "grande finale", when it looks like Mary's going to *do* something for once, instead of just complaining and feeling sorry for herself, she makes the ultimate choice... and then leaves the execution of it in the hands of a man.A totally baffling story, which would be more accurately titled "Passive Women", and feels like it should be set in the 18th century rather than in the third millenium, in regards to the conception of women and their role in the society.And as for the "mystery"... the perp's identity is painfully obvious to the reader from about one third of the book onward, and I found myself so frustrated at the characters for not sorting this out much sooner!
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  • Justine
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux for providing an ARC against an honest review!! I can't wait to read this book!__________________________It's been a while since I read a thriller! The last crime book I read was The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and it was really good! So I was hoping this one would surprise me! Unfortunately, it didn't: I guessed who the lover was, who the killer was - even if I didn't have all the details (view spoiler)[I had a doubt at s Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux for providing an ARC against an honest review!! I can't wait to read this book!__________________________It's been a while since I read a thriller! The last crime book I read was The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and it was really good! So I was hoping this one would surprise me! Unfortunately, it didn't: I guessed who the lover was, who the killer was - even if I didn't have all the details (view spoiler)[I had a doubt at some point about Robert, mostly because he kept the letter hidden and lied to Eleanor. (hide spoiler)]. I was just surprised by the ending! Still, this book is a 5-star read. So why? While reading Imperfect Women, I couldn't stop thinking some scenes, sentences, characters' impressions were true. These women could be our neighbours or our friends. They exist in every one of us, in a way. What they do isn't perfect, isn't good even, is even wrong sometimes, but I still felt close to them, I still grew attached to them. In a way, I didn't like this book because of the mystery/crime, I liked it because of the way it portrayed women, their struggles, and the way they can't understand each other and be understood by their relatives, be they male or female. They all got their personal hell and have to fight alone because of their guilt and their fear to lose their closest friends. It felt viceral sometimes and I ached for them. Nothing is simple, people aren't what they seem, we can never know what someone is living through in their head. I didn't know it beforehand but I guessed it in the beginning: the book is divided in three parts, each focusing on one of the three friends' point of view. My favorite part is Nancy's, (view spoiler)[probably because she is the one to die and I wanted to understand what happened to her, and also because Eleanor could be so harsh with her sometimes. Her pain is heartbreaking, and her mental health is not taken seriously because she is privileged. She hates herself for what she feels, but can't help feeling it anyway, and no one understands her. She is just considered dramatic and doesn't get the help she needs. I had a hard time with Eleanor sometimes just because she was belittling Nancy's pain and her problems. (hide spoiler)]These three women won't be likable for some readers: (view spoiler)[Eleanor is quite mean with Nancy and sometimes feels like she only thinks about herself, which isn't completely untrue; Nancy cheats on her husband with one of her best friend's husband; Mary ends up killing her own husband. She might be the only one readers might love, because she doesn't really do anything wrong until the very end. All of these women judged the other two and were judged by them, mostly Nancy who seemed to have a perfect life and still couldn't be satisfied. But, mostly, all of them envied each other in a way: Nancy dreamt of being like Eleanor, Eleanor wanted Nancy's life, Mary was the perfect moral woman who loved her kids more than herself. They all represent different types of women, and they all couldn't be happy with their own life and choices. (hide spoiler)] Even if I guessed who did it, this book was still gripping and made me doubt sometimes! The ending really surprised me though: (view spoiler)[I didn't believe Mary could kill Howard. Well, when Marcus told everything to her, I knew she would do it. This scene was so hard to read, and his final words were so heartbreaking, even if I hated him all along. He was clearly manipulative, narcissist and sadistic, but, in the end, it feels like he understood what he did, and he really suffered. I pitied him. (hide spoiler)] So, Imperfect Women is a great read, captivating and genuine.
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  • Donna Hines
    January 1, 1970
    A psychological suspense like no other that winds up into chaos!Nancy is dead. She was perfect. Her two friends are left grieving or are they?Someone knows the truth. Someone is hiding a secret. Someone is messing with someone.I just don't play along to get along so the entire theory with the affairs and friends backstabbing friends doesn't sit well with this empath.I have had friends ghosted which is just immature and I've had complete strangers call me up to tell me they are having affairs wit A psychological suspense like no other that winds up into chaos!Nancy is dead. She was perfect. Her two friends are left grieving or are they?Someone knows the truth. Someone is hiding a secret. Someone is messing with someone.I just don't play along to get along so the entire theory with the affairs and friends backstabbing friends doesn't sit well with this empath.I have had friends ghosted which is just immature and I've had complete strangers call me up to tell me they are having affairs with my former spouse.So, if you're on the receiving end it's imperfect and that's a fact!Secrets fester. Guilt peaks. Revenge is on the minds.So much for play nicely...Enjoy!Thank you to Araminta, the pub, Netgalley, and Kindle for this ARC in exchange for this honest review.
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  • Cleopatra Pullen
    January 1, 1970
    Imperfect Women is an excellent study of female friendship and more particularly the type of friendship that endures the inevitable changes from university student to mature adult.That opening sentence may lull you into a false sense of security, in that this book is a gentle stroll with the heady mix of nostalgia and domestic detail. This book is nothing like that instead uncovering layer by layer the push and pull of friendship put under pressure due to the different lives and priorities of th Imperfect Women is an excellent study of female friendship and more particularly the type of friendship that endures the inevitable changes from university student to mature adult.That opening sentence may lull you into a false sense of security, in that this book is a gentle stroll with the heady mix of nostalgia and domestic detail. This book is nothing like that instead uncovering layer by layer the push and pull of friendship put under pressure due to the different lives and priorities of the three women involved.Nancy, Eleanor and Mary like so many of us embarked upon their life without limits but it isn't long before life, and perhaps men, put a block in the road for at least a proportion of their ambitions. This book captures what is meant by a thought provoking read.
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  • Karen Barber
    January 1, 1970
    Three women who’ve known each other since university, who have been together through thick and thin and yet who are not too concerned at keeping secrets.Nancy is the one that they seem to gravitate around. Larger than life and prone to melodrama, Nancy is discovered dead - and at this point we learn that she was having an affair and that the other party was unhappy at her trying to call it off. Her friends Mary and Eleanor have quite different lives but have always revolved around her. Unfortuna Three women who’ve known each other since university, who have been together through thick and thin and yet who are not too concerned at keeping secrets.Nancy is the one that they seem to gravitate around. Larger than life and prone to melodrama, Nancy is discovered dead - and at this point we learn that she was having an affair and that the other party was unhappy at her trying to call it off. Her friends Mary and Eleanor have quite different lives but have always revolved around her. Unfortunately, these new revelations change things for them.We focus on each of the women and learn a little more about them, their life and the secrets they are keeping. None of the women are unlikeable per se, but we see their imperfections laid bare and can see that a lot of the issues between them began a lot earlier than they gave credit for.Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this in advance of publication.
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  • Joanna Park
    January 1, 1970
    Imperfect Woman is a dark, intense and gripping read which I really enjoyed.The book follows three women who met at University through their lives and the challenges that they face. All three seem very realistic characters which makes them really relatable and I quickly found myself warming to each of them. The reader gets a fly on the wall glimpse into their lives, marriage and the everyday problems they face.The most interesting part of the book for me was seeing the interesting dynamics betwe Imperfect Woman is a dark, intense and gripping read which I really enjoyed.The book follows three women who met at University through their lives and the challenges that they face. All three seem very realistic characters which makes them really relatable and I quickly found myself warming to each of them. The reader gets a fly on the wall glimpse into their lives, marriage and the everyday problems they face.The most interesting part of the book for me was seeing the interesting dynamics between the three women and how they change throughout the years. I liked how the different layers of the women were gradually peeked back so we could see them at their rawest, most intimate self. Even though the three woman have known each other for years, it was interesting to see how they still didn’t know completely what was going on in each others lives. A timely reminder that in this busy world we need to take more of an interest in what is happening in our friends lives.The story is told from each woman’s perspective in turn which I found very interesting and meant that we got to know each of the woman really well. The murder mystery side of the story, although quite gripping, isn’t the main focus of the story and I was surprised that no police were mentioned in the story though I think adding them would have created a completely different story.Overall I really enjoyed this intriguing story and felt sad to leave the woman behind. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.Huge thanks to Francesca from Orion for my copy of this book and for inviting me onto the blog tour.
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  • Brad
    January 1, 1970
    Imperfect Women by Araminta Hall is her followup novel to her book, Our Kind of Cruelty."Nancy, Eleanor and Mary meet in college and quickly become best friends. 30 years later they are still friends but when Nancy is found murdered, all of the remaining relationships become entangled. Who killed Nancy? Was it her secret lover? Who was he? Why did she keep it a secret?"The story is told from the perspective of the three friends - First Eleanor, then Nancy and Mary. Lots of bad decisions from all Imperfect Women by Araminta Hall is her followup novel to her book, Our Kind of Cruelty."Nancy, Eleanor and Mary meet in college and quickly become best friends. 30 years later they are still friends but when Nancy is found murdered, all of the remaining relationships become entangled. Who killed Nancy? Was it her secret lover? Who was he? Why did she keep it a secret?"The story is told from the perspective of the three friends - First Eleanor, then Nancy and Mary. Lots of bad decisions from all of the characters in the book. Lots of commentary on the different expectations on men and women in the workplace and the home. You will probably guess the secret lover and the killer. An interesting ending from Hall. I like an ending that's a bit morally gray. If you liked Hall's first book, you'll probably like this one. Another interesting read from Hall.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    I’m not sure if I came to this book with false preconceptions however I was expecting a thriller but found myself reading a book about friendships and relationships with a side order of feminism, each told in long sections from the perspective of each woman. I found the first section, Eleanors, the easiest as she seemed the most likeable of the three women, Nancy was the hardest although her character is set up to be the most flawed and Mary was just very put upon. Little in this book came as a I’m not sure if I came to this book with false preconceptions however I was expecting a thriller but found myself reading a book about friendships and relationships with a side order of feminism, each told in long sections from the perspective of each woman. I found the first section, Eleanors, the easiest as she seemed the most likeable of the three women, Nancy was the hardest although her character is set up to be the most flawed and Mary was just very put upon. Little in this book came as a surprise to me, no shocks or twists in Nancy’s story. Taken as a book about friendship and the treatment and perception of women it’s a fairly solid read, I think I would have preferred if their stories were intertwined through the book rather than the long section each however each story was very relevant in its own right and it did finish on an appropriate note.
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  • Brad
    January 1, 1970
    Imperfect Women by Araminta Hall is her followup novel to her book, Our Kind of Cruelty."Nancy, Eleanor and Mary meet in college and quickly become best friends. 30 years later they are still friends but when Nancy is found murdered, all of the remaining relationships become entangled. Who killed Nancy? Was it her secret lover? Who was he? Why did she keep it a secret?"The story is told from the perspective of the three friends - First Eleanor, then Nancy and Mary. Lots of bad decisions from all Imperfect Women by Araminta Hall is her followup novel to her book, Our Kind of Cruelty."Nancy, Eleanor and Mary meet in college and quickly become best friends. 30 years later they are still friends but when Nancy is found murdered, all of the remaining relationships become entangled. Who killed Nancy? Was it her secret lover? Who was he? Why did she keep it a secret?"The story is told from the perspective of the three friends - First Eleanor, then Nancy and Mary. Lots of bad decisions from all of the characters in the book. Lots of commentary on the different expectations on men and women in the workplace and the home. You will probably guess the secret lover and the killer. An interesting ending from Hall. I like an ending that's a bit morally gray. If you liked Hall's first book, you'll probably like this one. Another interesting read from Hall.
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