A Serpentine Affair is the second novel from Tina Seskis, and over the past couple of days I have just devoured it. Once again, this author has produced that tingly feeling and I'm just delighted.
How do friends stay friends for 25 years when there's so much to feel aggrieved about, such a tangle of lingering resentments? So when their picnic in the park goes horribly wrong and someone ends up in the Serpentine, who knows what really happens?
And just what secrets from the past are about to unfold, changing everyone's lives forever?"
Sounds intriguing doesn't it? It is, it's really well put together, well paced and packed with characters that evolve so well, who change through the course of the story, some of them very likeable, others who are loathsome and a couple who really are very very sad.
Tina Seskis has managed to tell the story of these seven women, from their university days right up to the present by cleverly weaving each story together using quite short and snappy chapters. I'll admit that at first it took me a little while to remember quite who was who, and who was married to who, but it really doesn't take long to get the characters and the relationships worked out.
There is a definite sense of reality within this story, most women seem to have very eclectic sets of friends, and I could certainly relate to that feeling of 'moving on' in life, yet still wanting to remain friends with people I met years ago, when I was a very different person, in a different place in my life. These seven women all feel the same, they have shared memories yet have moved on. They are no longer girls starting out in life and although they feel a sense of loyalty to their friendship group, each of them are struggling with the thought of the annual picnic. The picnic begins, the alcohol flows and truths are told. Feelings are hurt, tension is high and voices are raised, the picnic ends, but this is just the beginning of the next chapter in their lives. A chapter that is going to change their futures.
I'm going to say no more about what happens, if I did I would possibly spoil the plot for readers who haven't yet read the book. I will say that I adored this story, possibly even more than Seskis' first novel. A Serpentine Affair is incredibly well put together, the air of suspense and tension grows with each chapter as the characters begin to reveal and find out more about themselves. There are some incredibly poignant moments, some horrific truths, and the ending is perfect.
Tina Seskis is most certainly a very accomplished and clever author, her next book is due for release in 2014, I will be waiting incredibly impatiently for it!
I was absolutely thrilled to see my name mentioned in the author acknowledgements at the end of A Serpentine Affair, it's been a real pleasure to read both of the novels. I was lucky enough to win my copy of A Serpentine Affair through a competition on Josie's wonderful blog Jaffa Reads Too. Thanks Josie!
Tina Seskis grew up in Hampshire, the daughter of an airline engineer and a sales rep. She studied business at the University of Bath and then worked for over 20 years in marketing, advertising and online, with varying degrees of success. Before that she did a variety of other jobs including door to door encylopedia selling in the US, industrial relations for Ford in Halewood, Liverpool, and selling bacon butties with her granny in the Halfway Hut at Wentworth Golf Club.
Tina never intended writing a novel. She wrote One Step Too Far over a two month period in summer 2010 and then gave up writing entirely for well over a year, before writing her second novel A Serpentine Affair in autumn 2011. Her third book (working title Collision) is due for completion in 2013, and is the coming together of a key character from each of the first two novels, if Tina can make the plot work.
Tina lives in North London with her husband and son.
For more information about Tina and her writing, visit her website at www.tinaseskis.com. Check out the Facebook page, and Twitter account too.