Publication Date: 27th August from Grove Atlantic (US) and Bantam Press (UK)
Source: Netgalley (Grove Atlantic)
Single mother Roz has reached breaking-point. After the dissolution of her marriage, Roz’s business has gone under, debts are racking up, the rent is late (again), and she’s struggling to provide for her nine-year-old son, who is starting to misbehave in school. Roz is in trouble. Real trouble.
When Roz returns home from work one day and finds an eviction notice, she knows that it’s time for action—she has two weeks to find a solution otherwise they will be kicked out of their home. Increasingly desperate, Roz doesn’t know where to turn. Then the perfect opportunity presents itself. At her sister’s fortieth birthday party, Roz meets Scott Elias—wealthy, powerful, and very married. But the impression Roz leaves on him is indelible. He tracks her down and makes Roz an offer to spend the night with him—for money.
So I read “The Mistake I Made” yesterday as a buddy read alongside a few of my favourite blogging pals, we all enjoyed it thoroughly and had a great deal of fun on Twitter as we read – today though it’s time to turn my thoughts to an actual review of the book – which turned out to be typical Paula Daly brilliance.
The Mistake I Made is kind of Indecent Proposal in the Lake District with added dark humour and a propensity to make you giggle when perhaps you shouldn’t be – a deeply absorbing tale of a small group of individuals who between them manage to completely lose the plot.
Roz is a woman on the edge of financial disaster, attempting to bring up a child and recover from her marriage breakdown – when a rich and charming man offers her money in return for no strings attached sex. Unlike me who would probably have just said hell yes why not, Roz does pay lip service to perhaps turning him down, but ultimately realises she has run out of options. He’s a charming man and initially it seems like easy money. But “no strings” as we know rarely turns out that way, and a cascading series of events ends up threatening Roz’s life in unexpected ways.
It is SO addictive, seriously, I did actually read it in one sitting (apart from stopping every now and then to send a tweet) – so caught up was I in the lives of these characters and so desperate to know how it was all going to pan out. Paula Daly has an excellent eye for intricate character details and foibles, a way of describing their environment that puts you right on the spot and then a terrific inclination to mess with them utterly, giving them more and more hurdles to overcome. Fascinating, funny, a dark undertone, but always grounded in reality, any and all of this could absolutely happen. Hopefully not though. Mainly as I feel sorry for the fish.
The Lake District is a beautiful setting and the author brings it to life vividly and with grace – in a way that makes me really want to go and live there – oh if only. Although now we are on the 3rd novel I’m fairly sure I would view any and all of my neighbours with a good hint of suspicion, wondering what they were doing behind those closed doors…
Old friends return (all the novels are peripherally connected but each has a fully cohesive standalone story), there are twists and turns galore, a really engaging and captivating voice in Roz who you will sympathise with whilst also wanting to metaphorically clip her round the ear on occasion. Add to that an intricately woven narrative that will keep you fully immersed and one of Paula Daly’s trademark quirky and unusual solutions and you have a really really excellent reading experience.
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Happy Reading Folks!