Poppy and Serena were 18 when an event took place that would change both their lives forever. Marcus was their school teacher and he ends up dead with only Serena and Poppy as witnesses. The media have a field day and label the pair `The Ice Cream Girls'. Twenty years on and their lives went in completely different directions. There are however secrets from their past that Serena is desperate to keep hidden and Poppy is determined to bring to light.
I originally came across Dorothy Koomson by accident after picking up the wrong book in a bookshop. I was very glad that `accident' happened otherwise I may never have found this truly brilliant writer. The first book of hers I read was Marshmallows For Breakfast and what a joy it was to read. That followed with all of her other publications and I can honestly say I have not been disappointed with any of her books.
One thing I want to point out is the genre of these books. I would hazard a guess that most of her books are put into the Chick Lit genre which isn't that true, especially where this book is concerned. The front cover may lead you to think this is a feel good book but don't be fooled. This is a very heartfelt and in parts powerful book telling an incredibly sad story.
The story is written in two parts one being written from Serena's perspective and one from Poppy's. Not only that, we are taken on a journey through the current nightmare that they are both facing. Not only are we swept up into their current lives but are given glimpses of their past as the story progresses.
We meet Serena and her husband Evan who knows nothing of her past. She does everything in her power to stop him from finding out about her and what she used to be like. Unfortunately for her there are things in her life that are threatening to put her perfect life at risk and her secrets won't stay that way for long. We also get introduced to Poppy and learn about her relationship with her parents, brother and sister.
We get to share their pain as they relive both their pasts and their attempts to move on with their life in the way they know best. I felt at times that I was almost sitting beside these two women and sharing their experiences. The writing is done wonderfully with the right balance of emotion and meaning. It covers some very sensitive topics which are done with empathy but bares the souls of the characters involved in the book.
The switch between Poppy and Serena, past and present was done with ease and as the reader you are just swept along whether that be to the current day or their murky pasts. As the story progresses it picks up pace and manages to pack a serious punch in the last 5 chapters.
It is hard to go into too much detail about the book itself because I do not like spoilers and the theme running through this book is the whole point of the story. All I can say is that I didn't want to put this down until I had finished, it was that good. I'm not a naturally sensitive person but I would be surprised if anybody read this and didn't feel the tug of emotion whilst reading this story. It is truly a wonderful book, not always happy, not always easy to read, but truly, truly wonderful. If you have not read Dorothy Koomson and you want something different then this would be a good place to start.