The Surprise Party – Sue Welfare

Rose and Fleur are sisters – opposites apart. Literally in terms of location as Fleur is on the other side of the world in Australia having achieved, money and status but no man. Fleur is across for her sisters surprise Ruby Wedding Anniversary Party and is doing her best to distract Rose, but she is being everything which is not in her character.

Rose stayed at home when her sister made her life choice, she married Jack and had two children, and is about to celebrate her Ruby Wedding Anniversary, but seems somewhat reluctant do so? Her and Jack do not want a fuss but their children, two sisters Suzie and Liz have other ideas.

Liz is precious, she has everything she wants, a glittering national tv career, people pampering her without her having to life a finger and men at her beck and call. Everyone knows her and she wants everyone to fawn over her. But not her sister.

Suzie, is everything Liz is not, down to earth, comfortable in her own skin, her clothes, her marriage, her two children; two sisters and her home. Her little hobby is turning into something more and locally Suzie is known for her gardening prowess and organisational skills. That is why this party is going to be perfect and everyone is helping even her daughters, Hannah and Megan.

Hannah has other ideas, and thinks such a party is boring, but when her ‘new’ friend Sadie pitches up with a couple of boys, things start to look up and the drink starts to go down. Hannah escapes one family party and ends up on a rather different journey to a party where family does not exist.

Megan is oh so wise for someone oh so young. She can see everything and whilst she knows what her sister is up to, she does not tell tales but subtly is able to bring everyone together and helps Hannah see that family is quite important.

That was the point of the party – family. When Rose and Jack turn up to be surprised it is their daughters who get the biggest surprise when they find out the reason behind their parents always avoiding celebratory anniversary parties. The whole night is turned on its head; lies, secrets and skeletons tumble onto the dance floor as the truth is learnt.

This was my first novel I have read by Sue Welfare and I have to say I really enjoyed it. It was light reading, but actually the twists and turns were unique and when you felt that the bombshell had been dropped, another one came along. It was never going to end. 

Set actually within the day running up to the party and the party itself as it goes on into the night, was a clever vehicle for telling a story. It could have gone really wrong and felt either very rushed or dragged out for effect. In fact neither, you are so caught up at watching the events at the party unfold that time goes past and you realise this is not as light and fluffy as you may have initially thought when picking up the book. 

Sue Welfare is a pseudonym for Kate Lawson and she also writes under the name Gemma Fox.

Do share with me if you have read any of her other books, as I would be interested to hear about them.