Emma – a mother of two very young children. She is constantly exhausted, more than a bit envious of her husband who still works in television, and the couple are struggling financially. Emma gave up her career to be a stay-at-home mother.
Nina – is elegant and seems to have it ‘all together’. Married twice, she is an artist and lives in an affluent area of London. Her only apparent weakness is her volatile and precarious relationship with her seventeen year old daughter, Sophie.
Nina though… she seems to have an ‘agenda’ when it comes to Emma. She is almost ‘stalker-ish’. She steals Emma’s wallet and then pretends to have ‘found’ it to engineer a meeting. She manipulates her newfound relationship with Emma in soul destroying ways… Little things, not harmful as such, but mean, nasty, and insidious.
Emma works hard to host a dinner party where she can introduce Nina to her friends. Nina finds a devious way to ensure that it is not a success…
Nina seems to remember Emma from the past, yet Emma has no memory of Nina. What could have happened back then to make Nina act the way she is?
The entire time reading “Her” the reader wonders What could Nina possibly want with Emma? What is she up to? These queries cause avid page turning.
With rich characterization, the novel is a somewhat ‘slow burn’. As it evolves, the questions about Nina’s motives are magnified.
Parenthood is examined in a philosophical way, illuminating both the highs and the lows, the frustrations and the soul-destroying magnitude of the responsibility. The all-encompassing love.
I’m of mixed feelings about this novel. On the one hand it was well written and rich in character. On the other hand, although the plot was compelling and promised to be rewarding, it seemed to lack something. The reasons for Nina’s obsession with Emma seemed weak to me. The whole premise seemed to be based on insubstantial events that were magnified in Nina’s mind. The ending contained a heart-stopping plot twist that was both a surprise, yet then not…
All in all, I can recommend this novel with some reservations. It was memorable, yet lacked significant motives so that it weakened the plot in my opinion.
I chose to read this novel for several reasons. 1.) It was highly recommended to me by a personal friend. 2.) It has been on my TBR for a long time. 3.) It was the lowest rated novel on my TBR and I was curious to see if I would agree with the majority 4.) It fulfills the third criteria for the “What’s in a name?” reading challenge by having a title of four letters or less.
“Her” is published by Little, Brown, and Co. ISBN: 9780316369893 Pages: 272
Harriet Lane has worked as an editor and writer at Tatler and the Observer. She has also written for the Guardian, the Telegraph and Vogue. Her debut novel, Alys, Always, was published in 2012. She lives in north London with her husband and two children.