Written by Nicci French — You know those magazine quizzes where they ask you to pick your favourite companions for a dinner party? Well, high on my list would be Frieda Klein, who has now featured in four Nicci French novels. I love Frieda because she is her own woman, someone who loves her work and has a wide and varied circle of friends and a life in London that suits her down to the ground.
Frieda is a psychotherapist with a thriving practice, so when a former classmate appears on her doorstep, asking Frieda to take her teenage daughter on as a patient it would be easy for her to decline, blaming pressure of work. Instead, she agrees – and it’s a decision that proves catastrophic for both doctor and patient.
As Becky begins to reveal her secrets, her experiences open up old wounds for Frieda, who was still a teenager herself when she left the sleepy Suffolk town where she grew up, vowing never to return. Now she must go back and confront long buried demons. All those years ago she was raped in her bed and no one believed she was telling the truth. Now, it appears Becky has had the self same experience. It seems a serial rapist has been free for far too long and it is up to Frieda to catch him, before anyone else is hurt. Once again, her story is not believed, and given Frieda’s past history with the police (and the fact that she is persona non grata with the higher-ups at the Met), the signs do not look promising.
Husband and wife team Sean French and Nicci Gerrard are past masters at creating gripping, wholly believable psychological thrillers. Thursday’s Children will delight Frieda Klein’s loyal horde of followers but will serve equally well as a starting point for readers new to the series. I first met Frieda in Watching for Wednesday and loved the way this staunchly independent woman fits into a disparate group of friends. Previously I’ve seen her as someone comfortable in her own skin; in Thursday’s Children we glimpse another side of her – that of an outsider who made her escape when the going got tough. Many of the so-called friends who deserted her all those years ago are still living in Suffolk. Some welcome her with open arms, while others seem reluctant to renew their acquaintance and help Frieda in her search for the truth. Is there a hidden agenda at play here?
Thursday’s Children is about family ties, friendship and keeping up appearances, love, hate, truth and lies – and the thin line between them. It’s an engaging and engrossing read that keeps calling you back when real life takes you reluctantly away from its pages. I can’t wait to continue the journey in book five.
Thursday’s Children comes out on 10 April.
CFL Rating: 5 Stars