'HER' By Harriet Lane - the book of the summer IMO

(80 Posts)
EduardoBarcelona Mon 26-May-14 11:53:38

If you enjoyed 'Alys, always' - or even if you didn't ( that pleasure awaits you) I can heartily recommend HER.

Written by an early Mumsnetter ( don't think she is on any more) this is the kind of book that you HAVE to read in a day.

You can read much better precis of the plot than I ever could write here on amazon www.amazon.co.uk/Her-Harriet-Lane-ebook/dp/B00HRXQ15Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401100959&sr=8-1&keywords=her+harriet and I would recommend this to you as a PREORDER , especially if you love a dual narrative, in the style of Gone Girl.

This, however, is FAR superior writing, you will be itching to highlight bits on your kindle.
It speaks to all of us who have ever wrangled children in fact I was late to work after spending an hour in the bath trying to get to the end. (Bad hair day ensued)

I did chuckle afterwards that you can imagine the whole book as a long AIBU, from two people's viewpoints... just BRILLIANT.

EduardoBarcelona Mon 26-May-14 11:55:26

oh would make EXCELLENT book group reading. just so much to talk about

JamJimJam Mon 26-May-14 12:02:06

Have just bought it for my Kindle. Haven't read Alys, Always, but one oft book club mates loved it.

EduardoBarcelona Mon 26-May-14 12:09:31

OH MY GOD
you will love it. the writing is EXQUISITO

do pop back and tell me when you get it.

EduardoBarcelona Mon 26-May-14 12:10:00

( ps she doesn't use crappy words like exquisito, she uses propa Inglish)

Cantdothisagain Mon 26-May-14 21:02:34

Amazon says it isn't available yet - boo as it looks good!

EduardoBarcelona Mon 26-May-14 21:13:50

Oh god yes. I would pre order tho. Wish I hadn't read it!

SarahAndFuck Mon 26-May-14 21:23:06

Alys, Always is one of my recent favourites, so I cannot wait for this next book.

Thank you OP, it's now on my wish list ready for next month.

Harriet Lane might be a 'new' author but based on just the one book I would buy anything she writes without question.

EduardoBarcelona Mon 26-May-14 21:24:07

Hooray! She was funny when she was on here too. smile

On my wish list now. Ta!

raesa Tue 27-May-14 14:27:32

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

EduardoBarcelona Tue 27-May-14 14:31:30

reported for rather bizarre spam

Charlieboo30 Wed 28-May-14 07:53:27

Really intrigued by this but I absolutely hated Alys, Always. Might be one to try from the library!

EduardoBarcelona Wed 28-May-14 08:40:57

Oh noes! You'll love this. AA was hard reading as she was so creeeeeepy

EduardoBarcelona Wed 28-May-14 08:42:51

The protagonist I mean. She wasn't Alys was she. Memory shot

Cantdothisagain Wed 28-May-14 09:54:16

I'm reading Alys Always now - rally enjoying it!

SarahAndFuck Wed 28-May-14 11:35:37

I think she was called Francis Eduardo and she was very creepy. She reminded me of Barbara in Notes on a Scandal in a way.

MrsDavidBowie Wed 28-May-14 11:36:15

Just downloaded it ..thanks

Nishky Wed 28-May-14 11:38:48

Are you the author's agent op?

Cantdothisagain Wed 28-May-14 15:03:31

She's called Frances...

EduardoBarcelona Wed 28-May-14 15:29:31

Notes on a scandal was a film too. Wasn't it? I never saw it

SarahAndFuck Wed 28-May-14 16:03:52

It was a film as well and it was quite good, although they changed it.

If OP is not the author's agent she should be, she's doing a great job here grin

EduardoBarcelona Wed 28-May-14 16:12:28

I'm just a keen reader grin
Sarah - any other recs ?

Nishky Wed 28-May-14 16:14:07

OP refusing to answer my question. Interesting!

EduardoBarcelona Wed 28-May-14 16:16:20

No! I'm a bloody teacher. Well a teacher. No blood .. normally ;)

EduardoBarcelona Wed 28-May-14 16:17:04

21 years this autumn. #gimmer

SarahAndFuck Wed 28-May-14 16:30:43

A Kind of Intimacy by Jenn Ashworth is very good. The creepiness builds up slowly but it's a bit more shocking all in all by the end. It's the same kind of inserting yourself into someone else's life though.

Was that a serious question then Nishky? I thought you were just having a laugh because of her enthusiasm for the book. I do this all the time with books when I love an author, go on about them and insist everybody has to read their books. I love it when someone else does the same thing.

Cantdothisagain Wed 28-May-14 17:08:12

If she was the agent she would have known the book wasn't out yet and timed her enthusiasm better!

I liked the Ashworth book too.

Have you read Wounding yet?

Nishky Wed 28-May-14 17:20:37

It was serious yes! It seemed too over the top not to be.....

Anyway, this book -is it light hearted chick lit or darker than that?

EduardoBarcelona Wed 28-May-14 17:28:31

Right. Will download ash worth

EduardoBarcelona Wed 28-May-14 17:29:19

Darker. Not a good story but shit writing like say gone girl of that ilk.

Now you'll hate it. I KNOW! grin

MyNewNormal Sun 08-Jun-14 22:57:52

Looking forward to reading this. Thanks OP.

TroyMcClure Thu 12-Jun-14 18:59:30

just checked back on this thread and then on amazon. it seems to be out!

Southeastdweller Thu 12-Jun-14 21:35:04

The raves on the jacket pulled me in so I reserved this from my library and should be ready to collect on Monday - very excited.

Looking forward to this. I liked AA. Have you read new Jonas Jonasson yet? I enjoyed

Cantdothisagain Thu 12-Jun-14 22:20:39

Reading this now... It's v good so far...

TroyMcClure Thu 12-Jun-14 22:54:06

Yes. I hated. Sadly. Didn't finish

Cantdothisagain Sat 14-Jun-14 07:45:06

Ok I would love to discuss this one but don't want to write a spoiler so will wait. I love the writing but am a bit unconvinced by Nina I think. Or at least by her actions. I enjoy her voice.

And I completely disagree with the amazon reviewer who says Emma and Nina both sound the same - they don't.

TroyMcClure Sat 14-Jun-14 07:45:30

Have you finished

Cantdothisagain Sat 14-Jun-14 16:00:05

Have finished it but hesitant to include spoilers for other people.

ThirteenHorses Sat 14-Jun-14 21:06:09

I downloaded it earlier today, and am a few chapters in.

It's nicely written so far, but a few things jar quite badly - if someone turned up on my doorstep to return my purse I can't really see myself inviting them in, but then I'm antisocial. I can see that someone else might.

But, if the purse-finder was invited in and then, unasked, started making her own tea and loading my dishwasher I would think they were quite unhinged.

So I'm struggling to get absorbed in the storty, because I keep going wtf?

Southeastdweller Tue 17-Jun-14 08:27:23

How're you getting on with it Thirteen?

Suzannewithaplan Tue 17-Jun-14 10:54:45

Just started reading it, enjoying it and finding it easy to get absorbed

ophiotaurus Tue 17-Jun-14 11:02:40

Thanks I'll give it a go. Been looking for something new.

Suzannewithaplan Tue 17-Jun-14 11:06:42

Thirteen, I agree with your point, but I didn't even question the validity of that scenario.
I guess that my enjoyment of the writing enabled me to suspend disbelief?

ThirteenHorses Tue 17-Jun-14 21:34:57

Finished it a couple of days ago.

It's worth a read, although I think the key character is very like the protagonist of Alys Always, and the key plot reveal was a bit 'meh'.

dirtyprettything Wed 18-Jun-14 10:10:00

Just finished it - she is a really great writer - I think I enjoyed that more than the actual plot.
Her descriptions of the tedium of being a mother and the responsibility of it all cut quite close.

I did find it very tense towards the end

U2TheEdge Wed 18-Jun-14 15:03:31

I was really disappointed.

Yes, it was written wonderfully but the storyline and ending was really disappointing.

I have read many books of this kind and this has to be the worst. Which is a shame as I liked her first book.

NickiFury Wed 18-Jun-14 15:59:50

I am unconvinced that any book could be as good as the fanfare of the OP suggests.

hackmum Fri 20-Jun-14 09:21:01

I've just read Alys, Always and Her, one after the other. Really enjoyed both of them. However, I do think that Nina in Her is awfully like Frances in Alys, Always, ie both seemingly normal women who are highly devious - though in Nina's case, worse than devious.

hackmum Fri 20-Jun-14 09:21:37

Just realised that Thirteen Horses said the same as me about Nina!

Suzannewithaplan Sat 21-Jun-14 20:44:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Capitola Wed 23-Jul-14 16:10:48

I have just read it, in one sitting as OP suggested.

Hmmm. Not sure.

It read like a MNer had written it, for sure.

I liked it, but it ended up a book about nothing. Maybe that's what makes it good. I am undecided. I liked the writing style.

Am now reading Alys, always.

YankNCock Thu 24-Jul-14 09:09:46

I won a copy in the MN giveaway, got through about 2/3 last night. Interesting, intriguing, yes, but not so much that I could keep my eyes open past eleven - and I'm definitely the type that will read till 2am on a school night if I'm really into a book.

Initial impressions, I do agree it has a MN tone, though I can't decide if I would have picked up on this if I hadn't read some of the comments on this thread. Unfortunately that had the effect of making me think 'there's one for AIBU' at least once it nearly every 'Emma' section so far!

At this point, I do wonder how Emma hasn't clicked that she's met Nina (and Nina's mother?) before. Is it really possible to forget someone so completely? I keep waiting for Emma to say 'you seem familiar somehow', but so far the only glimmer of recognition centres around salad tossing techniques.

YankNCock Thu 24-Jul-14 23:40:58

Finished it now. Um....I don't know how I feel about it, didn't expect it to end where it did, feels very unresolved, but I suppose life can be like that....however I'm not sure a psycho taking revenge for a perceived wrong really fits with Emma's side of the story and all her issues with the drudgery of daily life with small children.

I don't feel like I can get inside Nina's head enough to see it from her point of view. From the descriptions we eventually get of her past, it seems she had been manipulating people well before Emma's 'wrong'. How has she gotten as far in life as she has without someone detecting that she's a bit bonkers?

chinamoon Thu 24-Jul-14 23:48:31

I read both AA and Her close together. Absolutely love her writing style but thought Her plot was just ridiculous and massively under developed. AA far better in that respect but still pretty slight.

Capitola Fri 25-Jul-14 00:21:52

I feel pretty similar YankNCock.

Would Nina have been so consumed by such a triviality? Or is that the intriguing part - that it was such a non event?

Southeastdweller Fri 25-Jul-14 14:42:00

The Nina character wasn't fleshed out enough so we didn't get enough indication about why she did what she did at the end, thus the impact was for me diminished. I thought the author put a disproportionate amount of effort into Emma and her life - how many more times did we need to be told that she found her life as a SAHM not terribly fulfilling?

And how the hell can we believe that Emma didn't recognise Nina, not once in the book? Really? hmm

YankNCock Fri 25-Jul-14 20:42:30

I know there were some people saying they didn't understand how you could invite some random person in for tea just because they found your purse. That part I didn't really have a problem with. When I first moved to London I was picking up 'stray people' all the time through sheer midwestern friendliness. One of my best friends is someone I met in a park because she asked if her son could pet my dog. Sometimes friends just happen like that, circumstance brings you together and you just click as though you've known each other for years. I didn't get that sense with these characters though, it just seemed too forced.

With the reveal at the end of what Emma actually did, I think I can believe she didn't recognise Nina. It has to be at least 20 years in between, they weren't actually friends, just briefly acquainted. There are definitely people that I had short interactions with that I've completely forgotten. I even forgot a guy I dated for about a month, never would have thought of him again had he not found me on facebook.

At the end, do we think Nina has deliberately done what is suggested, or is it an accident (possibly brought on by subconscious desire to do something rotten, even though she's already done some rotten things)?

I can't understand how she justifies any of it, she says Emma has to be punished for 'her part', but it seems like even Nina acknowledges that Emma didn't do anything other than being 'beautiful' and 'careless'. How would that inspire Nina to do all the psycho stuff she does? How does Nina justify herself? And how has she kept the crazy bottled up for so long?

TheFirstOfHerName Fri 25-Jul-14 20:53:20

And how has she kept the crazy bottled up for so long?

I agree. If Nina is mentally unwell (or personality disordered) enough to behave as she does, then how has she managed to function so well for so long?

Are we supposed to believe that seeing Emma suddenly triggered this behaviour? I find that too far-fetched.

Southeastdweller Tue 29-Jul-14 19:01:51

Yank in the middle of the book, Emma sees a painting that Nina did of the place where they both lived, though Nina didn't live there for long. Towards the end, when they're all in France, they talk about Nina's fairly famous father, the fact that Nina lived on the south coast, and before then Emma knows Nina's father name. And yet Harriet Lane asks us to believe that even after at least 20 years, Emma can't put two and two together.

Also, Nina has deliberately done what she did because Emma says she blocked Emma when they were both running to find the little boy.

hackmum Tue 29-Jul-14 20:55:57

"How would that inspire Nina to do all the psycho stuff she does?"

I guess the clue is in the word "psycho". I quite admired that bit of the book - you go through wondering what on earth the terrible thing was that Emma must have done and then realise she's just done nothing and that in fact Nina is completely deranged. However, I think you're right to ask, "And how has she kept the crazy bottled up for so long?" Because actually she seems to be passing for a normal human being and no-one else has noticed that she's disturbed. I don't know how likely that is.

Anilec Tue 29-Jul-14 23:10:15

I absolutely loved the book right up until the ridiculous reason why Nina was acting the way she was. Completely and utterly implausible and as for the ending, give me strength... how did any editor let that pass?

Having said that I should have been warned off by Alys Always in which the extent of the protagonist's criminality is that she... steals a scarf.

YankNCock Wed 30-Jul-14 17:58:48

southeastdweller, I read that part about Nina blocking Emma as just how Emma perceived it, not as though it actually happened - like they were both running and Nina was in front, and Emma was panicking so everything seemed to be happening slowly like in a nightmare, like she couldn't get there quick enough, IYSWIM?

I think I read that part as perhaps Nina had been thinking about how to get revenge, came up with something awful, didn't intend to actually do it, but subconsciously or whatever left the gate open, and then was running because she knew what she'd done and that she'd gone way too far. Wishful thinking I suppose?

hackmum, I thought it was somewhat obvious by about midway through that whatever Emma had done, it was trivial. There's nothing to suggest Emma was a mean/nasty person who'd reformed in adulthood. I kind of thought it would be a comment Emma had made that Nina overheard, something a teenager would say that wasn't particularly awful, but a fragile person might react badly to. But as it happens, Emma didn't DO anything at all --Nina's the one who forced their interaction by stealing Emma's dog and then pretending to find it!

Nina says at one point she considered telling her husband about seeing Emma again, but she doesn't because IIRC she doesn't think he'd understand. Does that show some awareness of how deranged she is?

MrsDavidBowie Wed 30-Jul-14 18:08:03

Very disappointed by ending.
Too abrupt.

Southeastdweller Wed 30-Jul-14 19:08:45

Yank I know that was from Emma's perspective but we don't get to read Nina's view about it as I recall so I tend to think that the actions in Emma's last segment was what actually happened.

halfwildlingwoman Wed 06-Aug-14 08:23:11

I won a copy in this month's giveaway. Is this where I post a review? Or is there an official MN thread?

DuchessofMalfi Wed 06-Aug-14 16:23:35

I posted my review on the thread under Book Giveaways.

AvonCallingBarksdale Fri 29-Aug-14 17:56:54

I really enjoyed this one, although would have liked to know what happened at the end (don't like to be kept hanging wink ). Am intending to read Alys Always now.

DuchessofMalfi Thu 04-Sep-14 18:47:05

I've just re-read it this week and still can't quite get this book out of my head. I hardly ever re-read books, and yet there's something about this one that I just can't quite let go of. I may even read it again.

That ending still puzzles me. I keep going from thinking that it was Nina's fault, to thinking that it was a genuine mistake and that she hadn't intended that. All the way along there's been little things she's done to upset the equilibrium, things to unsettle Emma and make her think she's a bad mother but this takes things to a whole new level and I'm not convinced it was wholly intentional. I'm not even sure whether they were too late - we can make up our own minds on that.

I hadn't picked up on the fact that Emma, right at the end, is beginning to recall events - just little things about that summer all those years ago when she met Nina and it's only a matter of time before she connects them all together and remembers.

I think it is entirely reasonable for Emma not to have remembered Nina when they first met - they only met briefly as teenagers one summer and weren't friends. I'm not sure I'd remember someone I met briefly at 17 and then met later in life. She has, after all, changed a lot since then. The things Nina does - like bringing out the bracelet and giving it to Sophie to wear - are almost like she's subconsciously willing Emma to remember her.

Still intrigued ....

Twotallladies Thu 04-Sep-14 19:11:20

Well, this thread is already full of spoilers, so here goes. I thought, perhaps, that Nina maybe used blue bunny to tempt the boy into the pool?

DuchessofMalfi Thu 04-Sep-14 19:57:00

Hadn't she already got rid of it the night before? Or did you mean that she "told" him she had found it? Do you think they were in time or not?

It's really hard to talk about a book on here and avoid spoilers. On Goodreads you can hide spoilers, which makes things a lot easier smile Wish there was some way to do something similar on here.

Twotallladies Thu 04-Sep-14 21:10:32

I kind of thought she got the ultimate revenge, if you know what I mean.

Now reading Alys, Always. I like the writer's style, but you do have to suspend disbelief at times.

Southeastdweller Thu 04-Sep-14 22:16:00

But near the end, they're in France and they're talking about Nina's father and mention he's famous and Emma at that point still doesn't put two and two together - really? hmm

DuchessofMalfi Fri 05-Sep-14 04:28:56

I wondered whether Emma didn't know he was famous - didn't Nina say that his career only really took off after he and her mother split up?

And perhaps Emma knew very little about Nina and her family - possibly her parents didn't know who Nina's father was and so had told her nothing. Just trying think of good reasons for her lack of memory grin

AvonCallingBarksdale Fri 05-Sep-14 13:26:07

I think that Emma just wasn't that interested in Nina when they first met, so didn't really take on board any info that Nina may have given her about her father/family etc. I think this is part of what riles Nina - that she was, essentially, insignificant to Emma.

DuchessofMalfi Fri 05-Sep-14 18:47:03

I think so, Avon. She only spent a couple of summers (or so) at her grandparents when Nina was living in the same village and, after that, Emma's sister didn't want to go there anymore so she would have lost touch with Nina.

So her contact with Nina probably amounted to something like just a few days spread over two or maybe three years. No wonder she had no recollection of Nina from that time. Nina saw far more significance in Emma's presence in their lives than Emma ever did. I imagine Emma was completely oblivious to Nina's father's supposed interest in her.

nettyandmasey Tue 09-Sep-14 17:04:56

Hi I was lucky to receive this as a free book.and was looking forward to reading it as slightly different from my usual read.I as sorry to say I didn't enjoy it.I found the repetition of the chapters through each persons eyes dull as it slowed book down as I felt I was reading the same thing twice.Also it never realy seemed to go anywhere or have a proper conclusion.This however is only my opinion and we can't all like the same thing,I do think it would be good as a book club read as the ability to discuss it would enhance the read.

Stujobohm Thu 11-Sep-14 13:11:37

What a fantastic read.... Loved it
If you haven't read you should
Grips you from the beginning ��

annabelleheap Fri 12-Sep-14 16:10:48

Was lucky enough to receive this as a free book.
‘Her’ is a well-paced psychological thriller, a quick and undemanding read. Harriet Lane pinpoints the social pressures of motherhood, marriage and keeping up appearances. Her style of writing is concise and insightful, I never felt she wasted her words.
But... I did feel the whole motive was a little out of proportion.
But in general a good holiday read for the time short parent, but perhaps a little too thought provoking in places making uncomfortable reading for the parent who can’t see the woods for the trees.

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