One of the bonuses of staying with my family during our holiday is that we are spoilt with two extra pairs of hands to help out and entertain our tribe of five. Thanks to my lovely mum I don’t have to do any cleaning, washing or cooking which is a total treat. I even had a chance to put my feet up and relax with a good book, now that is a luxury! Once I started on Meredith Jaffé‘s debut novel I didn’t want to put it down:
It all starts when busy career woman and mum-of-four Frankie moves in next to Gwen and Eric, an older couple who have lived in the street for decades. Keen gardener Gwen likes a good old-fashioned neighbourhood where neighbours live closely together, look out for and care for each other, just like the olden days. Then there is Frankie who is going through a marriage crisis, is disillusioned by her house-husband’s infidelity and wants privacy. The two characters don’t get along and there only seems to be one solution: The Fence.
In both homes a lot is happening: Eric is starting to becoming worryingly forgetful and Gwen’s beloved garden is slowly dying, she is devastated that the new fence will require removal of some of her favourite trees. Frankie marriage problems deepen, her children and dogs run amok (hence the need for a fence) and an unplanned pregnancy is the last thing she needs. Both women blame the other for everything that is going wrong in their lives. The fence was meant to separate their lives as much as possible but in many ways it actually links them even more than before, especially when the children take a liking to their neighbour Eric. In the end it is an unfortunate accident that changes the course of both their futures which leaves the question: Was the fence the solution or the problem?
One of the things I very much enjoyed about The Fence was how it is written from both Gwen and Frankie’s prospective. The differences between their generations strongly impacts their opinions and actions which I found fascinating. Strangely enough I can identify with both women and have things in common with both of them which made this novel a real joy to read. I can’t wait to see what Meredith has in store for us next!
To find out more about Pan Macmillan, to take a closer look at The Fence (RRP $32.99) by Meredith Jaffé and to order a copy online visit www.panmacmillan.com.au.