Keep Your Friends Close – Paula Daly

  • KYFCTitle: Keep Your Friends Close
  • Author: Paula Daly
  • ISBN 0593071999 (ISBN13: 9780593071991)
  • Series: Stand Alone
  • Published: April 24th 2014 by Bantam Press (first published March 13th 2014)
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Genre/s: Psychological Thriller
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Source: Publisher
  • Rating: B+

Natty and Sean Wainwright are happily married. Rock solid in fact. So when Natty’s oldest friend, Eve Dalladay, appears – just as their daughter collapses on a school trip in France – Natty has no qualms about leaving Eve with Sean to help out at home.

Two weeks later and Natty finds Eve has slotted into family life too well. Natty’s husband has fallen in love with Eve. He’s sorry, he tells her, but their marriage is over.

With no option but to put a brave face on things for the sake of the children, Natty embarks on building a new life for herself.

And then she receives the note.

Eve has done this before, more than once. Don’t let her take what’s yours.


What do you do when your best friend steals your life?

I never understood people who watch horror movies. Why would anyone knowing and willingly subject themselves to being terrified? Strangely I find myself knocked of my high horse of opinions quite frequently and this particular topic is the latest one I have taken a tumble from. Reading Keep Your Friends Close is a perfect example of terrifying myself, knowingly and willingly, while it is no Stephen King, in its own way it is far more terrifying than anything I might find in my basement.

My best friend and I met at a seventh grade sleepover. We were those two in the back of the room deliberately facing away from the television. The rest of the girls were watching the lurid spectacle that was A Nightmare On Elm Street, we made idle chitchat to try and distract one another and thus preserve some ability to sleep in the coming weeks. Personally, I still get the heebees in the bath if I remember that scene where those knife pointed fingers slowly broke the surface of the bubbles as the victim dozed unaware. Freddy was no Wolverine, let me tell you that, but I digress.


My bestie is one of those rare creatures, a nurturer through and through. To this day well over two decades after that fateful sleepover she has played the role of caregiver countless times running the gambit from tucking me in after a drunken New Year’s Eve to literally grabbing a leg when I delivered my son to preparing and feeding the lot of us dinner countless times.

While reading Keep Your Friends Close it soon became clear that the relationship between Natty and Eve bears little resemblance to the one between my BFF and I. Natty is a type A personality and that is a massive understatement. Her lovely recently single friend Eve has just arrived for a visit when she gets the call no parent ever wants to receive. Her daughter is desperately ill and may not survive, understandably she drops everything leaving her husband to care for her other daughter and their flourishing hotel.

Immediately following her departure Eve begins laying the foundation for her assault to Natty’s carefully constructed house of cards, ingratiating herself with Natty’s other teenage daughter and preparing to seduce her neglected husband. Truly it was at this point that I had to put the book down and walk away until I was less overstimulated it was the equivalent of covering my eyes and peering through my fingers to see if the slaughter was over.

Rechecking her appearance in the bathroom mirror, Eve applies some white, pearly eye-liner to her Cupid’s bow to accentuate her top lip and adjusts her breasts inside her bra. Then she takes her mobile from her back pocket so her arse is smooth and tight, rolls up her sweater a little at the rear. If she can get the opportunity to bend over, he’ll get a quick flash of leopard print.

And leopard print to a man is what shiny tat is to magpies. The response is primal. It’s a reflex response. The image going from retina to dick, bypassing the brain entirely.

I may not be familiar with the British vernacular of “shiny tat” but the meaning was implicit and disturbing to the say the least. Paula Daly has written a tale that is all too easy imagine oneself in the place of the harried Natty clinging to control so desperately that it is slipping through her fingers like grains of sand.

According to Psychology Today, my reading selections are not entirely without merit. “Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger—if we didn’t feel it, we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate threats. But often we fear situations that are far from life-or-death, and thus hang back for no good reason. Traumas or bad experiences can trigger a fear response within us that is hard to quell. Yet exposing ourselves to our personal demons is the best way to move past them.” All About Fear. Psychology Today. Web. 4 June 2014. <> Fortunately Ms Daly has managed to depict my worst fears in a highly entertaining if somewhat sensational manner that hopefully won’t result in my checking my bestie’s lingerie drawer for leopard print at the next available opportunity. In the meantime I will take heart in William Ross Wallace’s words and look forward to the next offering from this talented author.

For the hand that rocks the cradle

Is the hand that rules the world.

William Ross Wallace

PDPaula Daly was born in Lancashire. Before beginning her first novel JUST WHAT KIND OF MOTHER ARE YOU? she was a self-employed physiotherapist. She lives in the Lake District with her husband, three children and whippet Skippy.


2 thoughts on “Keep Your Friends Close – Paula Daly”

  1. A brilliant review into one of my favourite reads of the year. I particularly like your reassuring analysis at the end of the post 😉 As I missed Paula Daly’s debut I’m saving it for holiday reading.

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