There’s nothing I love more than getting lost in a good book. Motherhood has meant that it’s not often that I get time to sit down to read, so when I do it needs to be a fast-paced and engaging story. The Good Girl* by best-selling author Fiona Neill did not disappoint; I was gripped from the first page. The Good Girl focuses on mother-of-three Ailsa Field and a scandal surrounding her 17-year old daughter, which turns her family’s lives upside down.
The family have recently relocated from London to a small village in Norfolk after Ailsa secures a new job, as a head teacher at the same school that Romy is now a student at. Ailsa’s husband Harry is a neuroscientist who has given up his job to work from home writing a book. His snippets of neuroscience play a big part in this book and really add to the story.
They have two sons: eldest son Luke, who comes across as a typical teenage boy and youngest son Ben, who is a charming and poignant character. In the middle is their daughter, Romy.
Romy is a straight A student with dreams of going to medical school, who makes a catastrophic error of judgement. The prologue reveals what she has done before the rest of the book jumps back in time to reveal the series of events leading up to this point, and how it affects the family after.
The story is told alternatively from Ailsa and Romy’s perspective giving it context and balance. With each new chapter we learn a little more about the family, and their happy outward appearance begins to unravel. Was Ailsa’s new job really the reason for the move? Romy isn’t the only person in the Field family hiding big secrets.
The book was utterly compelling and completely shocking. We live in the digital age and whilst I like to think I am pretty clued up about the dangers of the online world, it stunned me. I’ve been extremely naive about what it’s like to be a parent to a teenager in 2015 and I dread to think what it will be like when my boys are older.
I couldn’t put this book down; each chapter reveals a little more of the family’s story and left me eager to know more. We know what it is that Romy is going to do, and the story gradually reveals why she has done it. I found myself shaking my head with horror and wanting to reach through pages, shake her shoulders and tell her to stop.
It’s a thought-provoking book tackling the very modern and current issues of the internet, porn and social media. As a parent especially, it’s a frightening tale that has left me with a lot to think about, however it’s an engaging and fascinating book full of plot twists that will keep every reader interested.
*I was sent this book to review by Penguin via Mumsnet.