It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlgTour Other Parents by Sarah Stovell.
About the Author
Sarah Stovell was born in Kent in 1977 and now lives in Northumberland with her partner and two children. She has an MA and a PhD in creative writing and is a lecturer in creative writing at Lincoln University. She is the author of four previous novels, Mothernight, The Night Flower, Exquisite and The Home. Exquisite was chosen by The Times as one of the top 40 crime novels of the past 50 years. Follow @sarahlovescrime on Twitter
About the book
They all have opinions. They all have secrets. – In a small town like West Burntridge, it should be impossible to keep a secret. But the problem with having your nose in everyone’s business is that you can miss what’s staring you in the face.
Rachel Saunders knows gossip is the price you pay for a rural lifestyle and outstanding schools. The latest town scandal is her divorce – and the fact that her new girlfriend has moved into the family home.
Laura Spence lives in a poky bedsit on the wrong side of town. She and her son Jake don’t really belong, and his violent tantrums are threatening to expose the very thing she’s trying to hide.
When the local school introduces a new LGBTQ+-friendly curriculum, Rachel and Laura find themselves on opposite sides of a fearsome debate. But the problem with having your nose in everyone else’s business is that you often miss what’s happening in your own home.
This tells the story of the interconnecting lives of women with children at the same school. Nothing in common except that fact, which is actually the case for the majority of parents and carers. You have no idea what each person is pretending to be or is dealing with in real life.
What playground parents are unfortunately quite good at is gossip, rumours, reputation destroying conversations, but most importantly at changing the path of how their children experience school and their peers.
One of the scenes that had me muttering along in agreement was the hypocritical attitude of give and take of the sanctimonious parent brigade. Wanting to control every aspect of their children’s lives in the name of allegedly higher moral ground than the lesser people who walk among us, such as parents in same-sex relationships. Judging and pointing with one hand and holding out the other palm for silver at the same time.
And the way the PTA feels as if it has the power to change, decide and choose the curriculum and rules in school. They become a very loud, social media vocal, mob of angry judgemental people who become the tool that can be used for good and bad. Their last thought, if they think of them at all, are the children who are in the middle of these conflicts.
I thought the plot lost of bit of the initial drive and focus about three quarters way through, then too many cooks are in the kitchen in regard to the various threads or sub-plots. It takes the wind out of the sails for the storyline I felt was the most powerful and will hopefully leave the largest impact, then again stories like this will resonate differently with reader.
Stovell always brings an intriguing and captivating read to the table – hitting the nail on the head when it comes to relevant topics and very human interactions.