Book Report: Keep Your Friends Close


What’s The Buzz?: Relatively new novelist Paula Daly earned a legion of fans last year when she released her debut novel, Just What Kind Of Mother Are You? That story followed an overworked working mother who is devastated when, while keeping an eye on her friend’s thirteen-year-old daughter, she disappears. The incident happens just two weeks after another girl in their small town is kidnapped and murdered, prompting the protagonist to do an investigation in hopes of redeeming her reputation and rescuing her friend’s child – only she quickly finds that not all is as it seems in her seemingly picture perfect English town. With Daly’s second novel, Keep Your Friends Close, similar themes and a buzzy thriller vibe abound.

What’s The Plot?: Like with JWKOMAY? (sweet acronym!), Keep Your Friends Close is set in an idyllic English town, with a busy working mum at the centre of the story. Natty has defied the odds of her teenage pregnancy and built a successful life for herself – she has been happily married to her baby daddy since she was 19, raised two lovely girls, runs a posh inn, and enjoys a luxurious lifestyle. Just as Natty’s best friend from college, Dr. Eve Dalladay, a professional psychologist that leads a whirlwind life, pops in for a visit, Natty is called away to deal with a family emergency in France. When she returns however, Natty is stunned. Sean announces he is leaving Natty for Eve. Equal parts mortified, furious and defensive, Natty can’t help but take her anger out on Eve – only to find her so-called friend’s motivations for being with Sean may not be so pure. Natty then sets out on a quest to discover what else she doesn’t know about Eve, all the while dealing with landmine secrets from her own past, which seem to explode at every single turn.

Beach Read Potential?: One clear definition of a good ‘beach read’ is good, pulpy fun. This thriller definitely delivers, with a story that’ll have you whipping through the pages as it seesaws between Natty secret past and Eve’s questionable present. If you’re looking for the type of book to disappear with while resting on the sand for a day or two, Keep Your Friends Close is an easy, breezy pick that’ll give you the chills.

I’ve Read Paula Daly’s Last Book – Will I Like This One?: Survey says yes. A quick look on Goodreads actually ranks Keep Your Friends Close higher than her debut novel, highlighting that Daly is perhaps just getting started when it comes to serving up dishy, twisty thrillers. There are some commonalities between the two stories – the British setting, the ‘not everything is at it seems’, the plight of the working mother – but there is also plenty to set this fun read apart.

Who Should Read This Book?: Admittedly Keep Your Friends Close isn’t the most highbrow of highbrow fiction – but it’s not trying to be! If you’re looking for a fun thriller to devour within an afternoon or a cross-country flight, pick this baby up. One cool thing about Daly’s books in comparison to most mass market thrillers is that they aren’t just about some plucky detective that manages to catch a million breaks. The protagonists in each story are real women, with real consequences for their amateur sleuthing. This book also explores some pretty dark, catty dynamics between women. All I have to say is, ask yourself this: “What would you do if you were in Natty’s shoes?”

Naturally I’ve got a copy of this insane thriller to give away to one lucky reader. Here’s how to enter to win it:

1) Tell me in the comments below by August 2, 2014 – Why do you want to read Keep Your Friends Close?

2) Entries are limited to one per person / per email address / per household (or more if you score bonus entries). A random draw will be conducted on or around August 3, 2014 to select the winner(s), who will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen in their place.

3) Entries are limited to Canadians that have reached the age of majority in their province. Quebec is not eligible for this promotion.

4) Bonus Entry: Follow Random House of Canada on Twitter, tag them and me (@cdngiftguide) in a Tweet about why you’re keen to read this intense psychological thriller! Post a link to your Tweet below to earn yourself an extra entry into the draw.

5) Bonus Entry #2: Add this book to your to-read list on GoodReads, and leave a link back to the page it’s on below to earn yourself another bonus entry.


51 Responses to “Book Report: Keep Your Friends Close”
  1. Kimberley says:

    I would read this book because I love a good summer read.

  2. Joan G. says:

    You’ve got me intrigued by your synopsis – I want to read this novel.

  3. Julie G. says:

    I’m always on the lookout for a new author and this one sounds great. The story line is captivating.

  4. cookie3 says:

    Your brief description of the plot has got my interest piqued. I now need to read this book.

  5. Athena says:

    It sounds like an interesting read

  6. Cheri Gallant says:

    I am going through friend problems right now, this might lighten my mood about it 🙂

  7. Cairine says:

    I would love to read this book, got to love a good mystery!

  8. Holly says:

    I like reading books set in England!

  9. Sheelagh Russell-Brown says:

    I especially like thrillers/mysteries set in the UK.

  10. Doris H. says:

    I love mystery novels and this one sounds so good!!! Would love to read it soon!

  11. I love mystery novels and this sounds like a great book! I have to read it soon!!

  12. Audrey Skinner says:

    Story line sounds intriguing so I would love to read more.

  13. Susan says:

    I would like to read Keep Your Friends Close because it sounds like a great thriller, it is set in England (which I love), and it is not highbrow — just a great read!

  14. Susan says:

    I have added this book to my Goodreads “Want to Read” shelf.

  15. Andrea K says:

    I really need a summer book to read! I am fresh out of ideas so this would be FABULOUS!! Thanks for thinking of me:)

  16. debbieclarke says:

    I would love to read it and share it with my friends.

  17. Leanne Silverthorne says:

    Your description of the book makes me want to read the book. The story line is intriguing

  18. Lynn says:

    This sounds like an awesome book! I like it already!

  19. I want to read this book because it sounds amazing! I love a good read on a summer day. 🙂

  20. beewbedard says:

    It looks like a great read 🙂

  21. beewbedard says:

  22. Donnas says:

    I like a good thriller, but not one that is too complicated, this novels sounds as if it would fit the bill.

  23. Susan T. says:

    Thrillers are perfect for summer and just reading your review I am hooked. I trust my friends completely so I would be devastated if one of them betrayed me!

  24. debbie f says:

    I love a good mystery novel.

  25. Elaine Buonsante says:

    I’m ready to lose myself in a good summer read…I need to put away my non-fiction for a while.

  26. diane says:

    Sounds like a great book to bring to the cottage.

  27. janicour says:

    I loved her first book, and would like to see how much she has progressed, as this ones ranks higher. Great book to take to the cottage for the weekend.

  28. janicour says:

  29. mousecat says:

    I want to read this book now (because of your report) because it sounds really good! I want to know what Eve is up to!

  30. mousecat says:

    Keep Your Friends Close is #72 on my to-reads shelf!

  31. paula r says:

    Paula wants to read a book written by another Paula. It’s destiny!

  32. Linda A says:

    I would love to read it because it sounds like a great read and I am always looking for a good book to curl up with.

  33. Carole Dube says:

    I love mystery novels and It sounds like an interesting read

  34. Carole Dube says:

  35. Melissa says:

    It sounds like a page-turner.

  36. Belle Bash says:


  37. Margaret says:

    I enjoyed her first book and would love to read this next one, especially as it is supposed to be even better.

  38. Brenda says:

    It sounds like a great read…whodunnit?

  39. linnett says:

    Love a good mystery , great for summer reading

  40. Dal Legault says:

    should be a good read

  41. Natalie SQ says:

    I would like to read Keep Your Friends Close! The main character and I share a nickname and I love My Husband’s Secret and this sounds similarly intriguing.

  42. Heather Rosen says:

    Sounds like a cool summer read! I’m intrigued. Need something like this right now!

  43. Keep Your Friends Close sounds like a gripping psychological drama. The synopsis already has me hooked! I definitely want to read it!

  44. Bonus #1

    @RandomHouseCA I'm in the mood for a gripping thriller/mystery. Keep Your Friends Close sounds perfect! @CdnGiftGuide— Sandra (@thebooktrend) July 27, 2014

  45. Penny Muir says:

    I want to read both Just What Kind Of Mother Are You? and Keep Your Friends Close. Both sound amazing

  46. Mandy says:

    I would like to read Keep Your Friends Close because it sounds suspenseful with a plot that twists and turns.

  47. Angela Mitchell says:

    This is exactly what I like to read in the summer especially when I’m travelling. I like suspensful, easy reads!

  48. Lori P says:

    I’d like to read Keep Your Friends Close because it sounds like an engrossing read, and already reminds me of the types of Brit dramas that I’m already drawn to.

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