Befriended, by Ruth O’Neill: #BookReview.


Contemporary Fiction

310 pages

Subtitled, ‘Be Careful Who You Trust’, this piece of modern fiction is not the usual material I read. I dislike labels, but I do wonder if this is intended more for the ‘Women’s Fiction’ market.

The story is well presented and the characters particularly well developed. I did have some difficulty with certain passages, where I skipped. And I was not initially convinced Gemma would accept Indiana quite as easily as she did. The introductory chapter struck me as a little too long.

This was a difficult story, but is well told in the main, though I would’ve preferred to be shown a little more and told a little less, but that’s probably the writer in me. I suspect most readers would have no issues with the style of writing.

There are some petty raunchy sex scenes, erotic and not at all pornographic. But it is the emotional content that will appeal to most readers here: the developing relationships, the growing manifestations of mental illness, the love and regret, betrayal and cruelty.

I enjoyed the section set on Crete and, having visited the island twice, felt completely at home with the portrayal of the place and is people.

All in all, this was a mixed read. Parts felt too long, other parts failed to fully engage me. But the story developed with intrigue and some mystery, and the characters were interesting, so that I felt I must discover what happened. The denouement was particularly well handled and I was determined to read to the end of this part in one sitting.

As a depiction of the many problems of mental illness, the amazing empathy of some individuals, and the value of true friendship, this is, on balance, a good, if flawed, read.


[Any review is a personal opinion. No reviewer can represent the view of anyone else. The best we can manage is an honest reaction to any given book.]