A Serpentine Affair
Seven old friends. One annual reunion. Countless feuds. How do friends stay friends for 25 years when there's so much to feel aggrieved about? So when their picnic goes horribly wrong and someone ends up in the Serpentine, who knows what really happened? And just what secrets from the past are about to unfold, changing everyone's lives forever?
- Paperback | 384 pages
- 128 x 196 x 34mm | 359.99g
- 02 Aug 2013
- Kirk Parolles
- London, United Kingdom
"Clever, intriguing, chilling - and utterly impossible to put down. Tina Seskis is proving herself to be master of the twist." Grazia "This is a well-written, confident novel. Tina Seskis has managed to weave together both a strong story and a web of characters, intricately related to each other, with convincing histories. The structure is ambitious, but she pulls it off - she builds up our expectation and some suspense, but we don't feel let down by the resolution. Excellent." The Literary Consultancy "A Serpentine Affair: 25 years of friendship, several jealous clashes, doubt, mistrust, anguish. All wrapped up in the pages of this 'must read,' 'impossible to put down' work of creative genius." Maurice Coldicott, Northamptonshire "Seskis weaves together the stories of these seven women skillfully. She brings her characters alive and excels at giving them deep-seated flaws and vulnerabilities. I also loved the way she touched on a number of social issues without bogging down the narrative or coming across as preachy or judgmental. Seskis proves that she is an author to look out for." Shinjini Mehrotra, New Delhi, India "I just could not put it down! I really liked the slow build as I got to know each woman. And those men!! The delicious shivers of finding out the details about each one's past and also their perspectives on situations and each other!!! Another fun and twisted novel with interesting characters... old friends indeed!" Denise Crawford, Missouri, US "Clever clever lady! Again, despite the fact that Seskis switches time, place, person, she still manages to hold it all together and keep me intent on finishing. It was a credible story with interesting storylines which was twisty, convoluted and intense... It actually does take a lot to surprise me - so well done!" musingmaddie.com "It was fabulous, I enjoyed it just as much as One Step Too Far and finished it as quickly. The author has a real knack of creating suspense, she seems to know just the right time to leave a scenario so the reader is frustrated... but in a really good way. That's the 'unputdownable' factor. It was superb." Maxine Leech, Hertfordshire "I felt great empathy with the central character and really felt I 'got' her. What I loved most of all was that although the characters could have fallen into caricature none of them did. Each had their own idiosyncrasies and unique story. A fantastic and intelligent read." Jennifer Johnson, Teddington "Tina Seskis' books are so easy to get into and I read the whole thing in a day. The author did a great job of knitting all of the strands together and keeping them intertwined and believable. There are parts of this book which are very dark and I genuinely felt for the characters affected. An enthralling read." Natalie Minto, Leeds "It has a lot of characters and the plot jumps from one time frame to the next. Sound confusing? It's not. Tina does a marvellous job of keeping you in the moment and making the plot easy to follow and understand. The descriptions of the area are so beautifully written that you will feel like you're right there, living with the characters. This is a must-read and a book you're not likely to forget." Dawn Cummings, Texas, US "Once this story gets going, MY does it get going. The second of her books that I've read and finished in one day. The author leaves little hints at mysteries and lies with the truths coming out later in the story. It has an intriguing effect which only makes you want to read more. Very well written and will definitely be on my list of best books of 2013!" Debbie Krenzer, Texas, US "Tina Seskis has a gift for creating a world full of sights, sounds and emotions with her vivid descriptions and attention to detail. She brings her characters to life, gives them deep-seated flaws, but remembers to give them their 'public persona' to hide behind. Her character dialogue is often brutally frank with dark undertones that match the turmoil each woman feels. And her ability to 'bring the ending home' with a flourish? Genius!" Dii at Tome Tender "A Serpentine Affair is amazingly brilliant. Tina Seskis writes with an extraordinary flair. Her descriptions are vivid and make the pages come to life. Seven people meet for their annual picnic and six leave. Aren't you wondering what happened now? Put this on your reading list..." Mattie Piela, Massachussets, US "I really liked the way the various layers of the story untangled over the second half of the novel and how they developed in part and from different perspectives weaving across time and in various threads, it really kept me engaged in the story... the locations and cultural references provided some great counterpoints to the story. An amazing book." John Belchamber, Cambridge "These revelations are the sucker-punch that I remember Seskis landing on me with One Step Too Far and I couldn't help but think 'Damn! Tina's got me again.' Overall, I loved A Serpentine Affair. It's about friendships, relationships, guilt, forgiveness, and redemption. What I've learned is to get what needs to be said out of the way in order to move on. There's not always that chance to make it right in the future." Patrice Hoffman, Illinois, US "It's the follow-up to the hit One Step Too Far, and Seskis again weaves a tale of suspense and mystery... there are many hidden dramas that happened over the years, driving invisible wedges between the characters. Intriguing." allisonwrites.com "You need to keep your wits about you when reading this book... it is the way the author has put the plot together and revealed it a little at a time that makes for a story that you HAVE to get to the end of to see how it all pans out. As always this author's excellent use of the English language clearly paints each scene." Christopher French, Tuaranga, New Zealand "The author effortlessly weaves together seven separate lives, creating a powerful web of deceits, lies, and misdeeds. The descriptive writing was incredible - done in vivid detail - and the last chapter (which I loved) leaves you with a crescendo of suspense." Wanda Beaver, Philadelphia, US
About Tina Seskis
Tina Seskis grew up in Hampshire, the daughter of an airline engineer and a sales rep. Her parents bestowed upon Tina a certain degree of eccentricity her dad amongst other things built a boat in the front garden on their commuter belt housing estate, moved them into a touring caravan when their new house wasn t built, and took them all over the world with his free air travel and limited budget. Tina studied business at the University of Bath and then worked for over 20 years in marketing, advertising and online, with varying degrees of success. Before that she did a variety of other jobs including door to door encylopedia selling in the US, industrial relations for Ford in Halewood, Liverpool, and selling bacon butties with her granny in the Halfway Hut at Wentworth Golf Club. Tina never intended writing a novel. She wrote One Step Too Far over a two month period in summer 2010 and then gave up writing entirely for well over a year, before writing her second novel A Serpentine Affair in autumn 2011. Her third book (working title Collision) is due for completion in 2013, and is the coming together of a key character from each of the first two novels, if Tina can solve how to make the plot work. Tina Seskis lives in North London with her husband and son.
Our customer reviews
After reading this novel the first thought that came to my mind was a quote from Hamlet: "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark". Only with A Serpentine Affair, something is rotten in Hyde Park! The story follows seven university friends over a period of 25 years. Since graduating, they try to meet up once a year for a reunion. This year they are having a picnic in Hyde Park. Seven women arrive at the picnic, but only six will leave. This is no happy reunion. Each woman seems to have a secret, and after a few too many bottles of white wine, the allegations and confessions fly. But could one of these secrets be enough to destroy a friendship of 25 years? And could it be a motive for murder? I found this to be a compelling read. After the initial confusion (very short-lived) of who was who, I felt like I had to discover all their secrets. I felt like a voyeur on a reality television series - watching a train wreck unfold but not being able to look away. And Seskis sure knows how to deliver on the drama. Revelation follows revelation and you never quite know when it will stop. But don't expect to love the characters. They are awful (with a few exceptions of course). These are bitter, angry and resentful women with so much baggage they may as well own a Louis Vuitton store. Their marriages are mostly unhappy, with the exception of Camilla and probably Sissy, though she has her fair share of tragedy. I view this novel as an examination of strained relationships. How our connection (or lack thereof) to other people define us. While outwardly successful, these women fail in their roles as wives, mothers, daughters and friends. The story is told from various points of view and can be a little difficult to follow at first, but you soon learn to compartmentalize each individual character (I found myself imagining my own university friends, although thankfully, none of them are as malicious and damaged as these women yet!). One criticism is that all the different voices sometimes confuse the story (especially in part 3 where extremely peripheral characters narrate a chapter each). Overall a very entertaining read that appealed to the drama queen in me, and clearly illustrates the old adage: with friends like these, who needs enemies!show moreby Natasha Last