The Best of Friends
reviewed by Cara DiCostanzo
Susannah and Charlotte both have very large secrets and an amazing friendship built on enormous lies. In Alex Day’s new book, The Best Of Friends, he explores the idea of “frenemies”, taken to the extreme of adultery and attempted murder.
Susannah is going through a terrible divorce after her husband’s affair and bankruptcy. She has moved her and her two boys to Biglow. Not knowing anyone in the tiny village, she feels alone and broke. Enter Charlotte Hegarty, the richest woman in Biglow, married to handsome lothario Dan. Susannah quickly learns, after a meet and greet at the Hegarty Manor, that all is not well with Charlotte and Dan. While Susannah seeks a friendship with the beautiful Charlotte, it is Dan whom she has an instant connection with. These two women are completely opposite with the timid Susannah and the wealthy and beautiful Charlotte, yet for a period they are best friends. While we don’t find out what secrets they hold until later in the book, we can sense each woman’s desperation to keep their past behind them. Interestingly, they don’t tell each other these secrets.
Alex Day tells the story of Susannah and Charlotte’s whirlwind friendship from each other’s point of view, though when the reader hears from Charlotte, she is mostly speaking in private dialogue, which becomes somewhat eerie as the story unfolds. We witness the forming of a connection between Susannah and Dan, spending more and more time together playing tennis, their common passion. When Charlotte leaves for summer in Corsica for two months, things heat up and Charlotte and Dan’s friendship results in a one-night stand, though Susannah immediately wants more. When Charlotte returns from Corsica, the story immediately takes an unexpected turn.
This interesting and easy read has a plethora of emotion, ranging from jealousy, betrayal, anger, desire and confusion. When all of these emotions come together, vengeful becomes the foremost feeling. There are various red herrings throughout the book, but ultimately, we don’t learn what their secrets are until we are almost finished with the book, though Charlotte’s history is easier to figure out. While this is not a book that will blow the reader away, I found myself unable to put it down.
The last few pages don’t disappoint where everything is revealed and one of them will pay for their lies.
The Best of Friends is a slow burn but well worth the fire of the last moments. Alex Day does an amazing job of bringing us inside the heads of his characters and revealing their innermost thoughts.