I started reading Sarah J. Naughton’s The Festival in publication week, just to get ahead of interviewing Sarah for the Random 19. This was a bad idea – I do not have time to read for fun in publication week.
And yet… it just kept luring me back, and in bite-sized chunks and ever more frequent tea-breaks I find myself writing this having almost-but-not-quite-finished. And I’m on tenterhooks. By the time you’re reading this I’ll know the ending.
Orly, Lenny, Mel and Thea have been best friends since school. But now it is 20 years later and inevitably they have drifted apart.
It is Lenny’s 40th birthday, plus Orly and Mel need cheering up, so Thea suggests a weekend away at a festival in their hometown. It’s a chance for them all to reconnect.
Not all of them will survive.
But their holiday soon takes a sinister turn, and not all of the friends will leave the festival alive…
Readers of Sarah’s bestseller ‘The Mothers’ will be familiar with the format as it switches between the four women sharing the tale. It’s a seamless transition, and though the first couple of chapters are a little disconcerting as you’re trying to straighten the characters out, you’ve soon spent enough time with each to know them, to understand their lives, see their flaws, and want to go for a drink with them anyway. And the friendships are as complicated and imperfect as any we all know from our teenage years.
The view of motherhood is instantly recognisable, and yet different for them all. The faint dark whispers of tension start early, and the echoes of it build with ever increasing speed until a pumpingly noisy, tired, oh-so-familar festival fairground feels physically assaulting to your brain… and that’s all I can tell you, because that’s where I’m up to.
If you enjoyed The Mothers, you’ll love Sarah J. Naughton’s The Festival. Even now, without knowing the ending, I’m strongly suggesting you read it in – in one long sitting, with an endless upply of hot tea, preferably.
Out now as an eBook, The Festival releases on 29th of April – order from Wayne at Winstones here.
Dazzlingly inventive’ – Sunday Times
‘A meticulously plotted exploration of friendship, foe-ship and the lies that bind, which builds to a gripping and powerful conclusion’ – Cara Hunter
‘The perfect dose of thrills and suspense, this will keep you engrossed to the very end’ – Heat
‘Tautly thrilling . . . This has hit thriller written all over it’ – Evening Telegraph