Dark and clever, this book will leave you feeling creeped out…👀
Heather Darwent is an author based just outside of Edinburgh near the sea. Her debut novel, The Things We Do to Our Friends, will be published by Penguin in January 2023.
Since I was born and grew up in Edinburgh, this story personally appealed to me. The author’s descriptions were accurate and immersive. I loved reading about the places I frequent often when I’m home and thought it was clever how the setting was used to create an eerie suspense throughout. The Things We Do to Our Friends follows Clare who, after moving to Edinburgh for school (and to reinvent herself), juggles student life, a part-time job, a boyfriend, and most importantly, finding a new group of friends. An unusual bunch from the University befriends her, quickly inviting her into their inner circle where they enjoy lavish dinner parties and trips to the French countryside. She wants nothing more than to be accepted, to finally belong. But at what cost? When Tabitha, the leader of the group, invites Clare to be part of a secret business venture called, ‘Perfect Pieces’—a honeytrap service for cheating spouses—she accepts, no questions asked. But things quickly take a sinister turn, and Clare is left with no choice but to distance herself from the group.
The cast of supporting characters is unique, and I enjoyed trying to figure out who the real enemy was. It was obvious to me that Clare had an inner strength that was unshakable, I just didn’t expect it to be so dark. I found the scenarios in which the girls found themselves very tense, especially one particular scene set in a remote house in the highlands. A risk they took and one Clare unknowingly agreed to take part in. Afterward, the confrontation between the girls left me shocked and ultimately left the book on a very dark note—something I loved. This book is definitely more of a slow burn but I enjoyed it and was gripped throughout.
For readers who love revenge, dark academia, and slow-burning suspense.
Published January 10th, 2023
Edinburgh, Scotland: a moody city of labyrinthine alleyways, oppressive fog, and buried history; the ultimate destination for someone with something to hide. Perfect for Clare, then, who arrives utterly alone and yearning to reinvent herself. And what better place to conceal the secrets of her past than at the university in the heart of the fabled, cobblestoned Old Town?
When Clare meets Tabitha, a charismatic, beautiful, and intimidatingly rich girl from her art history class, she knows she’s destined to become friends with her and her exclusive circle: raffish Samuel, shrewd Ava, and pragmatic Imogen. Clare is immediately drawn into their libertine world of sophisticated dinner parties and summers in France. The new life she always envisioned for herself has seemingly begun.
Then Tabitha reveals a little project she’s been working on, one that she needs Clare’s help with. Even though it goes against everything Clare has tried to repent for. Even though their intimacy begins to darken into codependence. But as Clare starts to realize just what her friends are capable of, it’s already too late. Because they’ve taken the plunge. They’re so close to attaining everything they want. And there’s no going back.
Reimagining the classic themes of obsession and ambition with an original and sinister edge, The Things We Do to Our Friends is a seductive thriller about the toxic battle between those who have and those who covet—between the desire to truly belong and the danger of being truly known.