16 Sept 2022



Maria Weston wants to be friends with me.

Maybe that had been the problem all along. Maria Weston had wanted to be friends with me, but I let her down.

She'd been hovering at the edge of my consciousness for all of my adult, although I've been keeping her out, just a blurred shadow in the corner of my eye, almost but not quite out of sight.

Maria Weston wants to be friends.

But Maria Weston has been dead for more than twenty-five years. ... Back Cover Blurb


The email arrives in my inbox like an unexpected bomb: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. ... First Sentence, Chapter 1

I remembered. From the outside it seemed like they had won the prize, the three of them huddled together every day in a corner of the playground, screaming with laughter, an unattainable ideal of shared lip gloss and secrets. Everyone wanted to get close to them that year, but they were so tight that it was impossible. Memorable Moment, Page 113

One of those books I had such mixed thoughts about, on the one hand, a really rather enjoyable read, however, on the other hand, not so much. 

Sucked in by events straight away however, I did eventually find myself more engrossed by past events rather than those set in the present, its just a shame that I found myself feeling so indifferent when it came to the ending.

A psychological thriller of what happens when the ping that indicates a 'Friend Request'; a Friend Request that as it turns out is from someone who died some twenty five years previously, threatens to uncover a quarter of a century secret.

Laura Marshall an author who knows how to build the suspense and run with it as, bit by bit, drip by drip the real significance of this particular Friend Request and of just what the history between the recipient {main protagonist, Louisa} and Maria Weston is is revealed in a story that alternates between events in 2016 and way back in 1989 ... with the musings of an unknown narrator {Hmm! Just whose thoughts are they?} thrown in for good measure. 

However, that we went from knowing sooo little for sooo much of the book only to having it all laid out for us, done and dusted as my nana would have said, within the space of 20/25 or so pages, disappointing.

From the pretty and popular girls who, also mean, wield their own special brand of torture that isn't so much physical as psychological, to the needy girl who will do almost anything to gain entry to the inner sanctum of the said pretty and popular but also mean girls, to the 'new girl' who it is gossiped hides a secret, well depicted teenage characters. 

However, I found myself unable to connect with the adult characters and Louisa in particular; finding her frustrating, annoyingly weak and, well, woefully 'vanilla'. Worse still though, alas the decisions she made/ failed to make; Why-oh-why-oh-why didn't she block 'Maria Weston', rendered her totally unbelievable as a character ... and as for her friend, Esther! Were we really expected to believe she was a lawyer?

With lots of insightful references to school girl gossiping and bullying, the evils of social media, the  dreaded {or not} school reunion, there were lots of interesting threads to Friend Request that would make it a good choice for a Book Club read however, I believe that it would have made a better short story than a novel of 400ish pages.


Kelly said...

At first glance, the premise grabbed me with the friend request from someone long dead. However, I'm not sure how much I'd enjoy the "mean girl" aspect and all that goes with it. I'm just so far beyond that at this point in life. Also, it sounds like it fell by the wayside in how it was put together.

Thanks for an excellent review!

nightwingsraven said...

Although the premise sounds interesting.
I am not at all certain if I would
appreciate this story. But thank you for
your honest and excellent review.

the bookworm said...

The premise sounds good, it's shame this one disappointed. It annoys me when characters should know better but they don't. That happened with one of my recent reads from last month.

DMS said...

Sounds like an interesting premise. I haven't heard of this- but I enjoyed reading your thoughts. I can understand wanting a book to be bit shorter. :) ~Jess

Shooting Stars Mag said...

That's a shame you didn't care as much for the present day storyline. That can definitely be a hard thing when it comes to dual timelines in books. I don't always love both the same.

Lauren @ www.shootingstarsmag.net

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

Not an author I have come across before, I see this book also appears to be the first part of a trilogy, so at 400 odd pages, I think I shall probably give this one a miss, as I would have to sense a bit more enthusiasm from you before committing myself to that level of reading!

Thank you for your honest appraisal - I know I can always rely on you to 'tell it like it is'! :)

Nikki - Notes of Life said...

The synopsis really does pull you in. It's a shame it was a mixed bag in the end.