Mean Girls if you aged the cast 20 years, gave them kids and set the action in the English home counties. 4 stars.
The blurb: It’s the start of another school year at St. Ambrose. While the children are busy in the classroom, their mothers are learning sharper lessons. Lessons in friendship. Lessons in betrayal. Lessons in the laws of community, the transience of power… and how to get invited to lunch.
Beatrice — undisputed queen bee. Ruler, by Divine Right, of all school fundraising, this year, last year, and, surely, for many to come.
Heather — desperate to volunteer, desperate to be noticed, desperate to belong.
Georgie — desperate for a cigarette.
And Rachel — watching them all, keeping her distance. But soon to discover that the line between amused observer and miserable outcast is a thin one.
The Hive is funny, well-observed and strikes a good balance between its comic and more serious moments. The story is told in close third person through several characters’ POVs. These are well differentiated and so the viewpoint switching is never confusing. It also gives the author the chance to present several different experiences of motherhood, and readers with kids will recognise and/or empathise with several of the women’s thoughts.
The narrative moves along at a good pace with the school year providing a strong chronological framework for events. My edition (the hardback) had 300 pages and that felt a good length, any more and I think it would have stretched itself too thin.
Firstly, a public service announcement: I won’t be taking part in the next couple of WWW Weds as I’m off on my hols. But I’ll try to keep up with your posts! 🙂