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Wednesday, August 23, 2017


This is a very good read and lots of fun!  (Review by Caroline Smart)

Molly and her husband David move to Hertfordshire to get away from David’s demanding and hectic job in London. Escaping from the hustle and bustle of the huge city, they buy a farm where they settle with their two daughters and one son. Surrounding themselves with horses, sheep, chickens they look forward to a peaceful life in the beautiful countryside.

Then suddenly the peace is shattered and David is gone. Forever. The result of brakes failure on his car.

Molly now finds herself in deep debt and starts selling things including her much-loved horse, Nutty. Paddy Campbell, an enigmatic vet, looks after the health of her animals but she finds him irritating and self-righteous.

She doesn’t get much help from her children who have their own agendas, especially Nico who would rather smoke a bit of pot and lie supine on the couch than lift a finger around the house let alone help to go and feed chickens and sheep. However, they are not shy in trying to run her life and are very vocal in their criticism of her relationships.

Her mother, “Cosmic Pam”, has psychic powers. She uses a Romany styled caravan in Molly’s back garden where she reads Tarot cards. One day, Pam comes to announce that Molly’s husband’s uncle, Cuthbert, has died. Molly can’t remember him but he – or rather his partner Robert and Robert’s son Felix – are to have a major impact on her life.

It seems that Molly is Cuthbert’s only living relative and therefore in line to inherit his splendid home and possessions in London. Molly heads off to London to meet Robert and finds him a charming man which makes her feel guilty about asking him to leave his home of many years.

And then there’s Felix - an extremely attractive man – and before long she is totally besotted with him, not realising that a sinister element is attached to the relationship. A complication arises when an old flame comes back into her life which revives old memories of a wonderful relationship but which caused the break-up of a close friendship with a friend.

As does her heroine, Alliott also lives in a rural countryside area. Her introduction to the book is highly amusing as she talks about how she became a novelist. This opening also gives the reader a taste of what is to come.

Alliott’s command of dialogue is strong and each character is well-defined. Her dry and engaging humour runs throughout the book and there are hilarious scenes such as one in a nightclub with Felix when she is discovered by her daughters and another describing how she battled to put Nutty through his paces for a potential buyer while wearing a loose-fitting bra. Alternatively, she is capable of some tender and sad moments such as when a beloved sheep has to be euthenased.

My only complaint is that Alliott tends to write very long paragraphs –which initially seem daunting but her style and humour make them live. However, a few paragraph breaks here and there would allow some breathing space.

This is a very good read and lots of fun! About Last Night is published in paperback by Penguin Random House South Africa, ISBN 9780718183622. Recommended Retails Price R295. – Caroline Smart