Reviewed by Julia Kelly
Eve is putting her life together again.
Her partner has walked out on her. She's moved into a tiny flat on the outskirts of Dublin. She has no job. But she does have her beloved baby daughter - and there's a little playground across the street.
It's a tired spot for teenagers and tramps, but Eve is determined to make this new life work. Alongside her interfering lodger and a group of local mums she swings into action to make the playground the heart of the community.
But not all games are innocent - and not all friends are true. When a terrible accident is blamed on her, Eve must forge her own independence - and realise that the playground is not a place to hide from adulthood.
Eve’s partner walks out on her and their young daughter, leaving her to pick up the pieces. They move to a rented flat in the town of Bray, and work on trying to build a new life for themselves. As they begin to integrate themselves into the local community, we meet a collection of likeable characters, from the lodger to the landlord, and the residents around the playground.
The playground gives an accurate and honest insight into the struggles of being a mother – single or otherwise – and it is a comfort to know you are not the only one who has ‘failed as a parent’ and fed your kids waffles and beans for dinner! Eve’s character is believable and the story is incredibly well written; Julia Kelly is Irish talent at its best.
My one criticism is that nothing really happened; more that we shadowed Eve’s life for a while as she moved on – which was done beautifully – but the story arc would have possibly benefited from a little more drama. Nevertheless, this is a beautifully constructed, touching tale and definitely worth a read.
I'd like to thank Lauren at Quercus for sending a copy of this book to Janine to review.