Sticks And Stones by Jo Jakeman – A Review

Publisher: Harvill Secker

Publication Date: 12 July 2018

Well what can I say?! This book was a proper fast paced page turner and no mistake! It came at a time when I very much needed an action packed corker of a book to grab my attention.

This book opens with the funeral of Philip Rochester. (Not a spoiler, and the mock up of the funeral order of service that came with this proof was a nice touch!). Attending Phillips funeral are Imogen his ex wife, Ruby his ex-ex wife and Naomi his girlfriend.

The story is told from the perspective of Imogen, who is the only one of the women to have a child, Alastair, with Phillip. Right from the off we are aware that there is no love lost between Imogen and Phillip, and understandable tensions between the three women.

So what exactly happened to bring about Phillip’s demise? From the funeral we travel back in time to 22 days before the funeral (each chapter is headed up with a countdown of days before the funeral). We begin to build up a very grim picture of Phillip and the way he has treated these three women. He is abusive, controlling, violent and demeaning and we learn about how his marriage to Imogen eventually broke down. Imogen still lives in the house she originally shared with Phillip and their son, and when Phillip informs her that he wants her to move out so that he can sell the house, giving Imogen very little notice, Imogen does something which is a catalyst for changing the lives of all the women.

I don’t really want to give too much away plot wise, suffice to say that there is some nail biting stuff in here! It’s also quite violent and graphic but not in a gratuitous way.

There are so many layers character wise in this story. So many fascinating relationships to untangle and try to fathom. The tension between all three of Phillips women is very evident at the start but when events start to throw them implausibly together, their relationships evolve to being beyond anything they could have imagined.

There’s a strong theme of mistrust in this story which I loved. Between each of the women and Phillip but also between the women themselves. They are all bonded by a common goal to bring Phillip down for various reasons of their own. Reasons that we find out about in certain special chapters where we are taken further back in time and are told about the terrible ways in which he treated each woman during their time with him. Despite these women having a common goal they are very mistrustful of each other which in turn made me as a reader not trust anyone either! But I like that, I love being kept on my toes.

I must admit that as I neared the end of this story I had some concerns about just how Phillip Rochester was going to meet his end. I didn’t want it to be as cut and dried as it could potentially be. Luckily it wasn’t, and the ending left me very satisfied that everything had been sewn up to my liking!

If you’re in the market for a super fast paced nail biter then you need to get your hands on this one immediately.

Thank you to Harvill Secker and Mia Quibell-Smith for the advanced proof.

See you all soon.

Bookish Chat xxx

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