Thursday, April 6, 2017

Review: A Simple Favor

Stephanie is a widow who is raising her son Miles in the suburbs of Connecticut. She is thrilled when they become good friends with fellow mom Emily and her son Nicky. One day, Emily asks for a simple favor: Stephanie picks Nicky up from school and keeps him at her house until Emily gets home from work. But Emily never comes home. Sean, Emily's husband, returns from a business trip and starts frantically searching for his wife along with Stephanie. The two parents do their best to keep life normal for their children, but Stephanie can't shake the feeling that something is very wrong. Emily is missing, and she is the only one who knows Stephanie's darkest secrets.

I picked this book, at least in part, because it had to do with motherhood and friendship. These are things I look for in books because they are big parts of my life. But it turned out that the characters in this story care little for their relationships and parents who are dedicated to their children are pretty regularly mocked as naive and stupid. I don't necessarily need characters to be kind or good, but I do like them to make sense. In this story, their actions often seem haphazard as they contradict things they just revealed.

In spite of this, A Simple Favor is a story that makes for a quick and compelling page turner. It has been compared to Gone Girl and Girl on a Train. The perspective switches between Emily, Stephanie, and Sean, and you can be sure that none of these people are reliable narrators. If you enjoy thrillers and books about twisted people making bad decisions, this might be the perfect book for you.

A Simple Favor
By Darcey Bell
Harper March 2017
304 pages
Received for review from TLC Book Tours and the publisher

Want to learn more about this book? Visit Harper Collins here
Want to read some more reviews? You can find the rest of the TLC Book Tour reviews here.


  1. I've read mixed reviews of this book; most agree it's a compelling read, but I get the feeling most didn't end up loving either the characters or the overall story. Do you feel the same way?

    1. I do. The pacing was good and it's a quick read. I just found the characters inconsistent and either naive or cruel without real explanation.

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.

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  4. I do have a weakness for escapist page-turners and twisted people making bad decisions. :-) But it sounds like the character development is too inconsistent to be effective. People behave inconsistently, of course, but it needs to make sense in the context of the story. Great review!

  5. I was intrigued by this description, but it did also strike me as something that had been done and may or may not be done well here. Like you, I prefer even my unlikable characters to be understandable, so I think I'll be skipping this one.