Cover Image: The Playground

The Playground

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Member Reviews

Domestic drama that illustrates just what can happen when adults are not paying attention to what is going on with their children. The evil might not come from the outside...

A close circle develops around Sunday tutoring when a stay-at-home mom starts giving special help to children who have dyslexia. Eve (married to Eric) comes from money and has a lovely home complete with woods, pond and donkeys. She loves cooking and allows her own children (Poppy, Sorrel and baby Ash) a lot of freedom to run around the property secure in the safety of her life. The children who come on Sunday quickly become tight knit while their parents drift in and out of Eve's home. There's Paul and Melissa, he's an architect and she's a designer, and their daughter, Izzy. Novelist Martin is married to Grace who works to support the family while he attempts to write, and their two children Charley and Blake. While the adults are absorbed with themselves and each other, the children are left to their own devices. And that benign neglect leads to tragedy. Someone should have been watching the kids. NO SPOILERS.

I found this to be intriguing at first and then maddening as it became obvious what was going on. There were a lot of characters to get to know and different points of view in the narration to adjust to, but I never really related to any of them. The children needed supervising, that was obvious, and the parents kept on blithely getting drunk, forming illicit relationships, or just not paying attention. I couldn't understand why no one was taking care of them, asking them questions, being more observant. It mystified me how the truth could go unnoticed for so long. I like suspenseful thrillers and I might have quit reading had I not agreed to write a review and also having a compulsion to finish every book I start. I wanted to like it more than I did and the vague ending left me a bit unsettled.

Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins for this e-book ARC to read and review.
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I was really excited to read this advanced reader's copy. I really liked Jane Shemilt's previous book, but I got halfway through The Playground and really just wanted to put it down.

 Eve, who lives a wonderful life with her husband and three children decides to tutor her daughter Poppy and two other children for dyslexia. This brings two other families into their lives, families with their own problems. What starts out as a wonderful friendship devolves into tragedy. There's a lot of foreshadowing, not all of it accurate and too many characters with deep burning issues. 

I did finish the book but I felt like it was a long ride that wasn't worth the destination.
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I enjoyed reading this book that I received from Net Galley. At first I was a bit confused with all the characters and kept mixing them up. This book kept drawing me in to finish to see what the outcome would be. Just when I thought I had figured it one way there was another twist.
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The Playground by Jane Shemilt is a book that requires you to clear your calendar before you begin reading it. You will not want to stop once you start. Three couples meet and form a deep friendship. They are always together but not realizing just how destructive these new relationships will become. Told in multiple narratives, this story moves along quickly. You might think you have the plot all figured out but then the author throws a twist that you didn't see coming. Read and enjoy!
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A psychological thriller mixed with family drama. Great for fans of Liane Moriarty and Jodi Picoult.
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This was a thoroughly enjoyable and deliciously wicked read. Given the subject matter of missing children, it may not be to everyone’s taste, but I loved it. Shemilt is an excellent writer and this was unputdownable.

Many thanks to Netgalley, William Morrow and Jane Shemilt for my complimentary e-copy ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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Thank you for the advanced copy of this book.  I had not heard of Jane Shemilt but the description and cover grabbed my attention.  Unfortunately, I did not finish the book.  I just could not get into the characters and the writing style.  I may try to read in the future.
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