Wednesday 5 August 2015

The Good Girl Book Review

the good girl by fiona neill
I was recently sent a copy of The Good Girl by Fiona Neill as part of Mumsnet's book club. The Daily Mail said, "Touching, shocking. A thought provoking cautionary coming of age tale". This immediately had me intrigued.

The Field family have just moved from their London home to the wild Norfolk coast. 

Nine year old Ben's the first to realize that the reasons for the relocation don't quite add up; that the narrative of their family life is constantly being rewritten.

But why? Just what is everyone hiding? 
What is the cataclysmic secret that his mother. Ailsa harbours from her past? 

Who is her devoted husband, Harry, receiving anonymous text messages from? 

Why have their gifted daughter Romy's A-level grades plummeted overnight?

And once truths come out, can the fields ever go back to how they were?

The prologue of the book sets the scene. A scandal at the school Ailsa is headmistress at. A video shared over the internet of a girl who attends this same school shown to be involved in sexual acts with an unknown male. A young woman who turns out to be her daughter, Romy and this is just cherry on the cake for all the troubles that seem to be looming over the Field family.

Uprooted from their lives in London, there appears to be more than one reason for the sudden change in  living location. But the main one being thrown around is that Ailsa got a job that she couldn't refuse, one that moved her back to her home town, closer to her father who recently lost his wife, Ailsa's mum.

This seems a reasonable choice to make but for some reason it just doesn't ring true. For the most part the Fields seem like a typical family. Ailsa a head teacher, Harry a neuroscientist taking time out from university life to write a book whilst looking after their children Luke, Romy and Ben with attitudes similar to my own kids. But as you will decipher throughout the novel certain moments, not always obvious, pin point to bigger, more pivotal events.

Although the upheaval to Norfolk wasn't an easy one, things don't spiral until a new family moves next door to them. Lovedayand Wolf who are both sex therapists and their two sons Marley and Jay. A 'hippy' family who's ideas of how to live and grow up differ completely from the Fields.

There are multiple layers to this story told mainly from both Ailsa and Romy's POVs. From the prologue we go back in time, going through events that lead up to and past the shocking first pages.

We see Romy and Jay's story, immediately these two adolescents hit it off but this ends up being Romy's undoing. It is an intense attraction that she can't deny but the route she persues to help Jay with a 'secret' he has been keeping ultimately leads to more being revealed than ever intended.

Alongside this we also get to witness things through Ailsa's eyes/head, delving into the real reasons why they ended up where they did, could it be her fault why everything seems to have gone wrong? What really happened in the past which led them all to where they are right now?

I won't go into the full story as I feel it needs to be experienced first hand but there a lot of subjects covered which many of us can relate to or atleast want to know more about. From online activity and cyber bullying to infidelity and lies. There is much to be discussed and indeed debated.

I'll admit I found this book to be a tad too long and perhaps a bit far fetched at times and I didn't connect with the characters as much as I would have hoped to but overall it was cleverly written, enough twists to keep you interested and the subject matter was inkeeping with our modern times. It is a piece of literacy to get you thinking, shows how just one moment in time can effect so much.


Disclaimer : I was sent this book FOC for reviewing purposes however all thoughts and opinions are my own.


  1. I've just finished reading this via Mumsnet too - I loved it!

  2. This sounds like a really intriguing read!

  3. This story sounds really intriguing, lots of interesting back stories woven into one big one. I'm going to look out for it, your review has made me want to read it!

  4. this sounds interesting. I struggle with books that seems a bit far fetched though x

  5. I haven't come across this one so I've put this on to buy this list for next month.

  6. It sounds like a good summer read - exciting & easy to follow. Interesting that it's told from two characters point of views. I don't like when a book drags on too long & you are ready for it to be over. #ReadWithMe x

  7. Sounds like an interesting read, with lots going on! Your review has got me curious about what happens #readwithme lucy at occupation:(m)other

  8. Ooh, I've seen this book in the shops recently and was intrigued. Thanks for the review, overall it sounds like a good book. #readwithme

  9. I have just commented on another blog reviewing this too, I think I will definitely have to get it now! :)

  10. Sounds good, the cover is intriguing too. Will put on my TBR :) #readwithme


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