Monday book review – The Good Girl by Fiona Neill

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Monday 27th April 2015

The Good Girl Fiona NeillI’ve been a fan of Fiona Neill’s novels for ages. Her first, The Secret Life of a Slummy Mummy, based on her Times column of the same name, was an instant bestseller and she’s since written three more. The second was about a group of friends approaching their 40s and the third looked at the trials and tribulations of the modern-day nanny.

Neill’s fourth novel is more ambitious and a lot darker in tone. Like her earlier books, The Good Girl (why do so many novels have the word “girl” in the title these days?) is about a family but this time round the family in question is in turmoil after a sex video of two teenagers goes viral at the local school.

Much to the horror of headteacher Ailsa, the girl in the video turns out to be Romy, her studious 17-year-old daughter. Romy is Ailsa’s middle child and unlike her two sons she’s the one she’s never worried about. The fall-out – both within Ailsa’s family and at school – is swift, with a succession of dark secrets threatening to destabilise everything she holds most dear.

A less experienced writer might have struggled to keep control of the narrative while handling incredibly complex issues – from sexting and online abuse to technology and teens. But Neill knows what she’s doing and the result is a sensitive and compelling novel about dangers that parents everywhere need to be aware of.

The Good Girl by Fiona Neill (Michael Joseph, £14.99)

Leave a Reply