Two sisters, one prim and proper, the other hip and artsy, lose and find love, and have a few epiphanies as to what makes a healthy relationship in 21st-century London.
Martha has it all, or so younger sister Eliza thinks, while looking around her own grubby Shepherd’s Bush flat. Martha has a smart Holland Park house, a dependable husband in Michael and two beautiful toddlers. Sure, Eliza has sexy Greg, who knows her better than anyone, but she’s tired of life with a knockabout musician who sells hats. She wants a man with a pension plan and a mortgage. With barely an explanation to Greg, Eliza packs up and runs to Martha. But it turns out to be Martha who’s in need of tea and comfort. The night before Michael left—he doesn’t love her, and sees no reason to waste his life for the sake of the children. Martha tries to convince him he’s just being silly—of course he’s happy! To no avail, and so the rest of the novel is Martha’s metamorphosis from uptight wife to her more authentic self, the fun woman she was before she was saddled with Michael’s expectations. Helping her on her journey is Jack Hope, sexy, rich and with just one flaw—he wants to be “naked friends” with Martha—that is, have sex, no strings attached. After ten years of marriage, this seems fine, but Eliza is furious. Not only has reliable Martha disappeared, but all the sensible men Martha is introducing Eliza to are, well, sensible. Parks’s novel breezes along (with the exception of a few too many interior monologues) until Eliza and Martha find themselves in serious emotional jeopardy—it may be too late for Eliza and soul-mate Greg, and Jack may be leaving town, just as Michael’s wanting Martha back.
Throw in all the right ingredients—fashion, sex and female empowerment—blend, and out comes this frothy, enjoyable read.