The Playground - Jane Shemilt

The Playground

By Jane Shemilt

  • Release Date: 2019-12-30
  • Genre: Mysteries & Thrillers
The Playground book review score

4 Score: 4 (From 139 Ratings)

The Playground Jane Shemilt Book Review Score: ★★★★★ 5/5 stars

"Beautifully written and suffused with dread. Jane Shemilt's domestic settings are seductively vivid, and the final outcome is profoundly shocking and terrifying." — Gilly Macmillan, New York Times bestselling author of The Nanny

Big Little Lies meets Lord of The Flies in this electrifyingly twisty psychological thriller, follow-up to Jane Shemilt’s breakout debut The Daughter.

Over the course of a long, hot summer in London, the lives of three very different married couples collide when their children join the same tutoring circle, resulting in illicit relationships, shocking violence, and unimaginable fallout.

There’s Eve, a bougie earth mother with a well-stocked trust fund; she has three little ones, a blue-collar husband and is obsessed with her Instagrammable recipes and lifestyle. And Melissa, a successful interior designer whose casually cruel banker husband is careful not to leave visible bruises; she curates her perfectly thin body so closely she misses everything their teenage daughter is hiding. Then there’s Grace, a young Zimbabwean immigrant, who lives in high-rise housing project with her two children and their English father Martin, an award-winning but chronically broke novelist; she does far more for her family than she should have to.

As the weeks go by, the couples become very close; there are barbecues, garden parties, a holiday at a country villa in Greece. Resentments flare. An affair begins. Unnoticed, the children run wild. The couples are busily watching each other, so distracted and self-absorbed that they forget to watch their children. No one sees the five children at their secret games or realize how much their family dynamics are changing until tragedy strikes.

The story twists and then twists again while the three families desperately search for answers. It’s only as they begin to unravel the truth of what happened over the summer that they realize evil has crept quietly into their world.

But has this knowledge come too late?

"Countless psychological thrillers get compared to Big Little Lies; Shelmilt's is the real deal."  — People

The Playground book review; book recommendations; Mysteries & Thrillers books;.

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User reviews about this book

  • Read it!

    By nj120
    It’s a little wordy and confusing at the beginning with all the different characters but once it started flowing, I couldn’t put it down!!
  • A fab read

    By ShalsG
    My first book by author Jane Shemilt, and I was hooked. The claws of the story soon got a foothold in me after a rocky beginning of too many characters, and it inveigled into me one chapter at a time. The author used the power of her words to create a dual atmosphere where everything appeared honky dory, but that was just a mask. Pull it down and the aura of evil could be felt. It oozed, spreading its dark tendrils so deep into the characters that it caught the children and adults unawares. The scenes were brilliant, something felt off in all as if every character was playing a different character in their fictional life. Abuse was hidden well, giving me glimpses of it as hints initially then it blew in like a gust. A dark petrifying read, it was uncomfortable with its chilliness, where truth was the core, and the action was its effect.

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