2009 Chick Lit

Best Intentions – Emily Listfield

Best Intentions falls into the ‘chick lit’ category, but is the first book I have read which successfully manages to combine this with a convincing thriller.

The book begins with Lisa, a mother of two teenage girls, living a busy life in New York. Her happy world starts crumbling around her when she suspects her husband of having an affair. To make matters worse her job becomes under threat when the company she works for is taken over by new management.

One of the best things about the book was that I knew who was going to be murdered from the beginning. I think that the author intended this to be the case, as all her marketing makes it very obvious. The murder doesn’t occur until about 2/3 of the way through, so for the majority of the book I was searching for clues as to what would provoke violence. This is the only book I’ve read where the majority of the detective work is done before the actual crime is committed. I was unsure as to whether to name the murder victim here, so I’ll leave you to make up your own mind. If you’d like to know who is killed then the book’s website lets you know.

The writing is not  fluffy, like many books in this genre, but is intelligent and thought provoking. In many ways it reminded me of Lionel Shriver’s writing style. The main themes are relationships, trust and parenting. There were a lot of sections where I found myself remembering almost identical experiences:

I turn partially around. “Have a yogurt.”
I’ve already had a yogurt.”
I take a deep breath. “All right, One Cookie. Just One.” I distrust any mother who says she never bribes her children.

The characters are all well-drawn, and behave realistically, the slight annoyance being that it is all written in the first person (although I have to admit that I got used to this after a few chapters).

The ending is satisfyingly realistic, but unfortunately I don’t think it could have been predicted using anything other than pot luck, as all the suspects had equally good motives, and as far as I could tell there were no clues hidden earlier in the text.



This is Emily Listfield’s seventh book. I haven’t read any of her others, but am particularly interested in her last book Waiting to Surface.

Have you read any of her other books?

Are you a fan of ‘chick lit’?

Recommended books Thriller

Little Face – Sophie Hannah

Little Face is the best thriller I have read in a very long time. It begins with Alice returning from her first anxious trip away from her newborn baby. She returns home to discover the front door of her house open, and her husband asleep. When she rushes to greet her baby in the nursery, she is shocked to discover that it doesn’t look like the one she left just a short time ago. No-one believes that her baby has disappeared, assuming she is just a paranoid new mother. It is only when further unexplained events start to occur, that they wonder what the truth really is….

The writing was incredibly easy to read. I flew through the pages, as I was so keen to discover what was really happening. There were many points when I thought I’d worked in out, but as with all great thrillers I didn’t get close!

This is more than just a straight crime novel, there are many elements of psychology in here. The almost obsessive behaviour of a new mother is well observed, and I empathized immensely with the central character, Alice, as she struggles with the thought that her husband may have swapped her baby. The relationships between the members of the dysfunctional family were very credible, and the interfering mother-in-law reminded me of many stories I have heard from new mothers recently.

Unlike much of the crime fiction I have read recently this contained no unlikely coincidences. The plot was as realistic as it is possible to get, while retaining many clever twists.

Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys well written thrillers, or has an interest in the psychology of new mothers.

I’d like to thank Simon for recommending Sophie Hannah to me. I will be reading all her books as soon as I get my hands on them!