Layer by layer, a family's secrets are unwrapped
It's easy to make mistakes. The hard part is keeping them hidden.
Emily spends a few precious hours with her lover, then picks up her children and returns to normal married life. Her brother Ben's career has crashed with the banks, and suddenly he has nowhere to go. But they must both put on a brave face for their mother's sixtieth birthday.
Fran doesn't feel old. Mostly, she's worried about her increasingly depressed husband Duncan, and his slightly odd behaviour. Why did he think they'd been to Florence Who is Alexa And she doesn't really want a fuss over her birthday, but her daughter insists they must celebrate. Holding tight to their own secrets, the family gathers around Fran, but as one small revelation follows another, no one can foresee the huge repercussions of this birthday.
Where Highmore excels is in the unsentimental way she writes about the dilemmas life throws at us. There's also a mordant, black humour to her writing, which keeps the froth at bay - Glamour