Book Review: ‘The Playground: A Novel’ By Jane Shemilt

Three couples lives will forever change over the course of a summer in England.

Eve has gotten her license to teach kids that suffer from dyslexia and puts out an add. Her daughter Poppy suffers from it. She has heard back from two other couples Melissa and Paul, who have a child that needs help and Grace and Martin, who also have a child needing help. They all converge with theirs kids (and others who don’t have it) and Eve teaches and then the kids all play in her huge backyard playground area.

They all become friends and start hanging out during the summer and even go to Greece together. But not all is as it seems. Each couple and their kids have their own secrets and issues and we learn about them as the story goes on. Then tragedy strikes when one of the kids is found dead and no one seems to know how. Did he wander out and squeeze through the gate leading to the water? A party was going on the night it happened and most everyone was in the house. Did one of them do it?

We learn all their shocking secrets including an affair between two of the adults, domestic abuse, rape and strange games with the kids. Then the truth comes about what happened to the death of the child and just when we think we know everything, a shocking twist changes everything for everyone.

Told by each character in alternating chapters it’s a story that starts off strong and never lets up leading up to the shocking twists and turns. A solid book to end this year with.

You can pick up The Playground in stores on Tuesday, December 30th from William Morrow.

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