Book Review: I Invited Her In

I Invited Her In – Adele Parks

Rating: 2 out of 5.

‘I invited her in… and she took everything.’

When Mel hears from a long-lost friend in need of help, she doesn’t hesitate to invite her to stay. Mel and Abi were best friends back in the day, sharing the highs and lows of student life, until Mel’s unplanned pregnancy made her drop out of her studies.
Now, seventeen years later, Mel and Abi’s lives couldn’t be more different. Mel is happily married, having raised her son on her own before meeting her husband, Ben. Now they share gorgeous girls and have a chaotic but happy family home, with three children.
Abi, meanwhile, followed her lover to LA for a glamorous life of parties, celebrity and indulgence. Everything was perfect, until she discovered her partner had been cheating on her. Seventeen years wasted, and nothing to show for it. So what Abi needs now is a true friend to lean on, to share her grief over a glass of wine, and to have some time to heal. And what better place than Mel’s house, with her lovely kids, and supportive husband…

I didn’t fully know where to begin when I started to talk about this one. It has taken me several days to figure out what I want to say.

The premise sounded promising enough, and the first few chapters seemed like it would be a decent book. But after those first few chapters it just kind of went downhill from there. First off, it was a rather long and drawn out story, a lot of unnecessary (at least to me) details and descriptions about things I didn’t really care about. I started out really liking protagonist Mel, but by the time I got about halfway in I was over it. And Abi (the friend) had absolutely zero redeeming qualities.

It was an okay storyline with several unlikable characters. Truthfully, both Mel and Abi annoyed me so much, I stopped caring what was going to happen to them. From the tagline “I invited her in and she took everything” I was hoping for a fun or unexpected twist, but there was none of that. I guess I had just hoped for something … more, and it just never delivered anything but a boring plot and equally boring characters.

Abi and Mel were both pretty flat as characters go. There wasn’t much to like about them. Mel was incredibly devoted to her family at the start of the book, but it was a quick slide into domestic chaos with the arrival of a friend she hadn’t seen or spoken to in 17 years, and copious amounts of alcohol.

I listened to the audiobook at the same time as reading the paperback version, and I have to say that I did enjoy Joanne Froggatt’s narration of it. To be honest, that is probably what made me persevere until the end.

Have you read I Invited Her In? Let me know your thoughts!

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