Can the friendship of three women survive the attack of one very manipulative man?
The friendships we form in our youth often go very deep. Yet however strong they may be, friendships – perhaps especially female ones – can be fraught by tensions, jealousies and sensitivities. In Between Friends, the issue is complicated by the fact that there are not just two BFFs, but three. We soon learn that at school Carrie and Marta were the driving forces, while Jane – less sure of herself and with a slight stutter – was carried along in their slipstream. Over the course of the book, each of the friends is put under pressure, each has their weaknesses, each their moments of strength and of stupidity.
Inevitably, the balance is forever shifting. Two friends collude in excluding the third, there is always the possibility of discussing the absent one behind her back, there are secrets shared that third knows nothing about. Toss an explosive ingredient into the mix – an outside force – and who knows what might happen?
As I was writing this story, the ebb and flow of the friendship between Marta, Carrie and Jane proved fascinating. Each has secrets and, more importantly, because of their very different personalities, each deals with what unfolds in a very different way. The stutter Jane battled at school returns. Marta’s marriage comes under strain and, isolated from her friends, she finds it difficult to cope. And strong Carrie – driven, ambitious, in control – learns the hard way that maybe what she always longed for is not what she needs after all.
They all knew Tom in the past. Over the years since his life was interwoven with the three heroines’ lives, his charm has been all but eclipsed by his delight in manipulation and control. He takes advantage of Marta’s generous and trusting nature and exploits Carrie’s attraction to him. To Jane he is brutal, delighting in her visible fear of what his reappearance might do to the safeguards she has constructed around herself. He is so adept at sowing mistrust that the lifelong friendship that could save them threatens to implode.
Only by pulling together can they have any hope of getting Tom out of their lives and, ultimately, of the satisfaction of revenge, but many factors conspire to keep them apart
This book was originally called The Glass Ornament and I have to be honest – when I was writing the story, I was so fascinated by Tom and what he was getting up to that what was happening between the women almost wrote itself. It wasn’t until I sat back and looked at the novel that I realised it was at heart a book about friendship and the many things that can come between friends. Selfishness, betrayal, lies, jealousies, different values, ambitions and lifestyles all play a part.
In the end, all these issues must be put aside and each woman has to dig deep to find the stronger and more likeable aspects of their personalities in order to survive.
Bio and links
Jenny Harper lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, though she was born in India and grew up in England. She has been a non-fiction editor, a journalist and a businesswoman and has written a children’s novel and several books about Scotland. Jenny writes contemporary women’s fiction with bite – complex characters facing serious issues. Face the Wind and Fly is about a woman wind farm engineer with a marriage in trouble and a controversial project to handle. Loving Susie is about a female politician with a complicated family history and at odds with the world. Maximum Exposure, is about a newspaper photographer with job to save and some growing up to do and People We Love is about an artist whose life is on hold following the tragic death of her brother, and an unlikely journey back through grief.
Her latest book, Between Friends, is a tale of friendship and revenge and is set in Edinburgh.