Book Review: The Bitches of Suburbia by Jane Owen 7

The Bitches of Suburbia

by Jane Owen

 

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 Amazon US  / UK

 

Nothing much ever happened on Horseshoe Lane – why should it? It was, after all, just a normal suburban backwater with the usual cross-section of growing families, aging pensioners, the occasional singleton and a brace of curtain twitchers. The arrival of a celebrity couple, Heavenly and Travis, however, changes all that. This glamorous pair brings about a summer of competitive party throwing and ambitious home improvement projects that will have disastrous and completely unforeseen consequences.  

 

Neighbours who’ve got by for years with just the occasional chat over a garden fence about the unseasonable amount of rain or the state of next door’s garden are slowly united by suspicion as a husband goes missing, a much-loved cat turns up dead on a doorstep and Enid from Number Seven is found badly injured at the foot of the cliff.   

 

Could one person be responsible for all of this? Could that person be the strange and unlikeable Hilary Jones from Number Nine? There was only going to be one way to find out and it was going to involve a lot of whiskey….

 

In this her wonderful follow-up to ‘The Rock Star Known as Horse’, Owen’s riveting new story finds a murky side to the suburbs, a side where petty jealousies and neighborly rivalries can escalate out of all control with calamitous results, all intricately observed with her usual dark humor firmly to the fore. 

 

 

My Rating:

 

Favorite Quotes:

 

Kelly was quietly jealous, no, envious, of Enid’s carefree attitude to life: if Enid had any baggage she’d given it to a porter to carry, she was more buoyant than a fully inflated life jacket and she didn’t just seize the day, she grabbed it and shook it by the scruff of the neck till its teeth rattled.

 

Ginny Frost wasn’t just spotty, she was scary too, a permanently angry looking woman who gave the impression that her bite was indeed much worse than her bark, that only an invisible leash prevented her from launching herself at anyone or anything that displeased her, a pitbull without the lipstick.

 

…she’s not just sad, she’s nasty and eventually she’ll peel back her face and reveal the lizard skin underneath and her pupils will turn into slits but by then it will be too late.

 

…an ancient little walnut of a man, Phyllis’ neighbour and beau if he was to be believed, had presented her with a farewell gift from her old friend. Hence the stuffed squirrel wearing a tiny tuxedo and sporting a monocle and a top hat at a jaunty angle currently sitting in the basket on her bicycle handlebars.

 

‘Daddy, she looks like a Smurf!’ Jack Newman started coughing loudly. Hilary, completely unaware that the heat, the sweat and the blue dye in her cheap hat, had all combined with lethal effect, aided and abetted by her own efforts with the serviette and that her face was now as blue as one of Julie Anne’s contact lenses…

 

My Review:

 

Horseshoe Lane was populated by an eccentric and quirky collection of citizens, all of which had secrets and peculiar tendencies, and most had rather insular habits. I was fascinated by this odd microcosm on the British landscape and was highly entertained and engaged by the amusing and cleverly ironic descriptions, irresistible characters, and creative plot. I wore a near-constant smirk, frequently chortled, and will admit to (daintily, of course) barking a few laughs as well. The story was well-crafted and I enjoyed the author’s wit, comedic style, captivating characters, and pacing. This was a fun ride.

Poor clueless Hilary, the pitiful woman appeared to be cursed.   She tried so hard and really threw herself into her efforts; but she was odd, socially artless, achingly lonely, and desperate to fit in. She had no support system, no family or friends, and set about improving herself by attempting to copy what she admired in the other ladies’ homes and their personal style, all of which tended to have a lurid result or (orange spray tan, infected piercing) just went horribly wrong, although was humorously recounted. Hilary was not the sharpest tool in the shed and was also hampered by being inexperienced, gullible, and devoid of common sense. However, the snide and petty women in the homes surrounding her were a bad combination with her deficiencies. After Hilary had spent all her money and was sliding deeper and deeper into debt in her efforts to fit in with the neighbors, the other ladies closed ranks and obviously excluded her from their activities until it was a total freeze out, with resentful and snarky comments being the norm.

All the while tragic, unfortunate, and unexplainable events began to befall the neighbors and poor Hilary being totally isolated, wasn’t coping well and unraveling at a steady rate. I pitied Hilary, she had meant well but more or less started off as a social pariah as she didn’t pick up on social cues and was prone to say the wrong things at the wrong times. However, Hilary had the last laugh, which produced one more of the many smirks I wore while reading this cleverly humorous and darkly comedic tale.

 


Purchase on Amazon  
US  / UK

 

About Jane Owen

Jane’s first novel, Camden Girls, was published by Penguin twenty years ago and quickly became an international cult bestseller published in many languages including Japanese, Spanish, German, Hebrew, Italian and Dutch.  She’d already spent many years working in the film business working alongside stars such as Christophe Lambert, Andi McDowell, Daryl Hannah and James Remar before switching to the music business and working for bands such as The Who, Robert Plant, ZZTop and much more.  Eventually, even that got boring and that’s when she wrote Camden Girls.  

 

After publication, life became interrupted by an unfortunate traffic accident and Jane moved out of London to Sussex and slowly returned to writing.  Her novels don’t fit into any specific category and, frustrated by endless rejections along the lines of ‘You write beautifully but we don’t know how to sell this book’ she started self-publishing.  Rave reviews gave her the confidence to keep going and believe in what she was writing.

 

She’s still in Sussex, sharing her life with her musician partner, three horses, and a dog and divides her day between writing and riding.  

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/JaneOwenAuthor/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/janeowenauthor 

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/janeowenauthor/  

7 thoughts on “Book Review: The Bitches of Suburbia by Jane Owen

  1. Reply Jenn @ Bound to Writing Oct 30,2017 6:14 am

    I always enjoy reading your quotes! Thanks for a great review!

  2. Reply Gemma Jackson Oct 30,2017 6:29 am

    This sounds like a British Sitcom haha. Thanks for the review.
    Gemma @ http://www.gemmasbooknook.blogspot.com

  3. Reply Heidi Oct 30,2017 7:56 am

    Great review! Sounds like a fun and interesting read!

  4. Reply Terri A. Wilson Oct 30,2017 11:47 am

    I saw your post about this one on FB. Based on the title alone, I need to read this. I’ve been called a B!tch more than once so I am sure I would fit right in with all these crazy people.

  5. Reply Katie @ Book Ink Reviews Oct 30,2017 8:25 pm

    The title ALONE is making me want to read it. Your lovely review was the cherry on top!

  6. Reply Kaite Oct 31,2017 3:51 am

    This looks like a thoroughly entertaining read!! Thanks for the great review!

  7. Reply calico041 Oct 31,2017 4:19 am

    This title totally pulled me in!

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