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5 August 2015

Blog Tour: 'The Square' by Rosie Millard

Jane has the ideal life: loving husband, beautiful house and delightful son. Her fashionable dinner parties are perfect - and so are her secret assignations with her neighbour's husband, Jay. 

From Tracey and her ‘New Money’ lottery winnings to eccentric artist Philip and his pornographic portraits, the residents of North London's most privileged enclave The Square are a very satisfied bunch.

To raise money for communal fencing, the Residents' Association decides to hold a Talent Show, produced by Jane and hosted by TV celebrity Alan Makin. But when the show lurches into public disarray, reputations are shattered and everyone has to learn to live with a far less glossy reality than before.

Today I’m both honoured and excited to be part of the blog tour for Rosie Millard’s novel ‘The Square’, which was released on the 1st of August 2015. Rosie Millard is a journalist, writer and broadcaster who has done a lot over the years, including her work as the BBC Arts Correspondent for 10 years and being a columnist for ‘The Independent.’ Next to that she has also written ‘The Tastemakers’, which is an exploration of the British contemporary art scene, and ‘Bonnes Vacances!’, a comic memoir about taking her family around the French Overseas Departments. Her latest book ‘The Square’ has been described as ‘hilariously observed’ and ‘a much-welcomed comedy of manners’ by Jane Green (who is one of my favourite authors), so that definitely made me curious and made me want to know more about both the author and the book!

'The Square' tells the entertaining story of a group of residents who all live in the same upscale neighbourhood in the north of London. There's the always perfect Jane, who has it all: the beautiful house, a loving husband and son, and her neighbour Harriet's husband as her secret lover. Only a few houses down we have eccentric artist couple Philip and Glinda, who are known for the pornographic photos displayed around their home, and there's Tracy and Larry, who unexpectedly won the lottery which resulted in them being able to suddenly send their kids to private school and move to the Square. In order to raise some money for new communal fencing, the residents of the Square decide to organise a talent show; an event that will not only lead to some of them showcasing their talents, but perhaps also a secret or two...

I really flew through the pages of 'The Square' and finished it within just two sittings, while having thoroughly enjoyed each chapter. It's clear author Rosie Millard knows her way around the English language, resulting in quite a specific writing style which fit the idea of a modern comedy of manners perfectly and which I personally really liked. Each chapter is written from the perspective of one of the residents of the Square, making it possible for the reader to climb into the mind of several characters. There's a diverse collection of characters in the novel, including ones I instantly warmed to (such as lottery-winner Tracy, piano teacher Rebecca, and young George) and a few I loved to hate (such as the snobby Jane).

The novel reminded me a bit of a soap opera with its different storylines to focus on, and more than enough to keep the reader entertained: from a cheating housewife to celebrity financial wizards to eccentric artists and young romance... I'm sure there's something to please everyone, hidden within 'The Square.' I have to admit I personally thought the ending of the novel was a bit sudden and it feels like there are still some unanswered questions. However, who knows, perhaps we can expect a sequel one day...? Overall, 'The Square' was a highly entertaining, quick and juicy read that had me captivated from start to finish, and a book that once again shows that you never know what goes on behind closed doors! 
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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