The Fallout by Rebecca Thornton ★★★★☆
Published : 2nd April 2020
Publisher : HarperCollins
Format : Kindle, Paperback, Audio
Genre : Contemporary Fiction
The fallout will be huge . . .
When Liza’s little boy has an accident at the local health club, it’s all anyone can talk about.
Was nobody watching him? Where was his mother? Who’s to blame?
The rumours, the finger-pointing, the whispers – they’re everywhere.
And Liza’s best friend, Sarah, desperately needs it to stop.
Because Sarah was there when it happened.
It was all her fault.
And if she’s caught out on the lie, everything will fall apart . . .
Thank you Harper Collins and Anne Cater for this fantastic read. I love a gossipy story and this one did not disappoint.
This story is based upon two different perspectives, Sara and Liza with whats app group message snippets dotted throughout. Sarah and Liza met at their local birthing class whilst pregnant with their first children, there are also a handful of other mums that they both become friends with. Group chats are formed and everyone stays in touch via this. Sara and Liza become really close and form a best friend ship. Amongst the women is a member of the group called Ella Bradby who never really interacts but is always their until she disappears suddenly from all the group chats. Everyone likes and wants Ellas attention because she is beautiful, rich and seems to have it all.
Fast forward five years and Sarah and Liza are at the new health club, their children are off playing in the soft play area, Liza has a newborn baby girl but separated from her husband since the birth although they are still living under the same roof but they do not get on and her husband watches her every move. Sarah has a happy marriage, a healthy son but lost her newborn daughter eight months ago after she was still born at full term.
Both are their to have a catch up and a coffee but both have their own issues going on which makes them both on edge a little. Suddenly Sarah spots Ella Bradby, looking just as beautiful as she did five years ago and Sarah feels that pull that makes her want to befriend Ella once again and to find out why she ditched them all after so long, Liza is not fussed, she is perfectly happy having nothing to do with Ella anymore and makes this clear.
Sarah heads off to buy a coffee for them both and promises Liza she will check on her son Jack who is playing outside, Sarah becomes distracted when she bumps into Ella and inadvertently ends up inviting her over to join them, enjoying the thought that her and Liza will have lots to gossip about later on when Ella has left.
Sarah glances over at jack on her way back with Ella, she sees him up a pole but is sure he will be making his way down and is fine.
When they get back to the table and Liza asks if jack was ok Ella jumps in and says all is good, Sarah checked on him before Sarah can fess up and confess she didn't check properly.
Minutes later there is a scream and the health club goes silent. Liza passes her baby to Sarah and runs outside as she has a feeling of dread in her stomach and prays the silence and scream has nothing to do with her own child, Sarah saw him, he was fine she said but as she gets outside all she can see is Jack, her five year old baby lying on the other Side of the high fence motionless, lying at an awkward angle staring up to the sky. The ambulance crew arrive and he is rushed off to hospital...
From here the story unravels itself slowly in a perfectly gripping way. Sarah has never grieved for her daughter and is struggling to keep it all together at the same time as becoming utterly obsessed with Ella and this secret they share. She let her best friend down. She should have checked on him properly and now she cant tell her the truth because Ella lied.
She cant work out what Ella is up to and why she has implanted herself in her and her best friends lives all of a sudden.
Liza is harbouring a dark secret that only her and her husband know about, not even her best friend knows and this is why she puts up with being treated like she cant be left alone by him. She also cant understand why Sarah is acting so weird. Ella has been great, helping out with everything since the accident but she cant shake off the feeling that something passed between the two of them in the dark days after she had jack, she saw Ella that night that everything went wrong but she doesn't know if she remembers so she needs to keep her sweet, other wise if the secret gets out it will ruin everything...
I loved how this story was peppered with lots of little whats app group messages, either from a group of school mums or between a couple of mums, all gossiping about whats happened and whats going on, a true image of the reality that some school mums are notorious for gossip and how quick gossip can pass between one person to another even when sworn to secrecy, and how quickly a little piece of information can turn into the wrong type of gossip.
The best bit o the book for me was when Sarah was heading the fundraising meeting with Ella in her home, completely paranoid about Ella at that point taking all the limelight so she nips out the to kitchen to check on the croissants and sends a whats app to her friend Chamile who is in the other room, offloading about what she thinks of Ella and all the loser mums next door, she doesn't really mean any of it, she is just projecting how crap she is feeling in that moment in the wrong way but she send it to Ella by mistake and before she can delete it she can tell its been read, this is so something I would mess up on if I was to do something like that so did find that part very cringeworthy relatable lol
This is deffo a great read, Rebecca Thornton writes in a very similar way to Liane Moriaty, this story is jam packed of secrets, lies and gossip, the perfect page turner to lose yourself in.
Meet the author
Rebecca Thornton is an alumna of the Faber Academy Writing A Novel course, where she was tutored by Esther Freud and Tim Lott.
Her writing has been published in The Guardian, You Magazine, Daily Mail, Prospect Magazine and The SundayPeople amongst others.
She has reported from the Middle East, Kosovo and the UK.
She now lives in West London with her husband and two children.
The Fallout is her third novel.
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