BOOK CLUB: I Invited Her In

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Author: Adele Parks
ISBN: 9780008302733
RRP: $29.99
Publication Date: 24 September 2018
Publisher: Harlequin – HQ Fiction
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

Adele Parks is a Sunday Times bestselling author and she’s back with a gripping tale filled with betrayal, secrets and suspense.

Mel doesn’t hesitate to offer help to a long-lost friend in need. She and Abi were best of friends as students until Mel fell pregnant and dropped out.

Seventeen years later and their lives are very different. Mel raised her son on her own before meeting her husband Ben and now they share a chaotic and happy home with three children.

Abi headed to LA for the high life of indulgence, parties and celebrity. All was perfect until she discovered the cheating and waste of seventeen years. Now Abi needs a real friend to lean on and a place to heal, someone to share her grief with; what better place than Mel’s, with her supportive hubby and lovely children.

I Invited Her In is a dark tale of reunion, revenge and jealousy that sounds captivating. I can’t wait to hear what our readers thought.

Adele can be found at AdeleParks.com, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Thanks to Harlequin 20 of our Beauty and Lace Club members will be reading I invited Her In so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

20 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: I Invited Her In

  1. a little bit naughty… not quite 50 shades… but scandalous! I’m a single mum ill take what I can get these days!

    I have to admit I figured out the plot pretty early on, but it didn’t stop the surprise of the events along the way. if I was Mel I would of done exactly the same and lost the plot at her so called friend!!!

    well written and very much enjoyed for the 2 nights I read it, just COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!

  2. British novelist Adele Parks, is the author of almost twenty titles. Her latest is a domestic thriller, titled I Invited Her In. It is a tale of the difficulties of female friendship, envy, revenge and explosive secrets. This was an tantalising read, that I devoured in a short space of time, despite the fact that the book was almost 500 pages!

    It is hard to visualise the worst possible thing a friend could do. There are a few options that come to mind, but the scenario Adele Parks presents in her new novel I Invited Her In completely shocked me! At the crux of this story is the friendship between two women that formed in university that splinters over a time frame of seventeen years and picks up again when one of the women reconnects to ask for help. Each woman has led a very different life path. For Mel, a now happily married mother of three, her life journey was determined by a shock pregnancy in university that forced her to make the decision to quit her studies and devote her life to her baby. For Abi, life has delivered a world of luxury and glamour, with plenty of schmoozing with celebrities, but it has recently come crashing down. When Abi seeks Mel out, despite the time that has separated them, Mel cannot deny her friend help she calls out for. However, as Abi nestles into Mel’s life, things are about the change, big time!

    A quick perusal of the books I have read, revealed strangely that I have not read one single book by Adele Parks. For such a prolific writer with a good selection of back list titles to her name, this really shocked me! However, I do aim to rectify this seeking out some of these older titles by Adele Parks over the upcoming holidays. My understanding of Adele Parks is that she is a very well known chick lit author. Her recent switch in direction genre wise to domestic psychological fiction seems to be a successful one. I Invited Her In offered plenty of entertainment and shock value!

    I have to say that I wasn’t entirely invested in the relationship between Mel and Abi in their university days. They didn’t seem quite as tight as they could have been. While all my sympathies were directed towards Mel, her life situation really got to me. Abi on the other hand was absolutely awful, despicable and incredibly ungrateful. I think we are directed towards these ill feelings for Abi, thanks to the characterisation skills of Adele Parks. Likewise, I detested Abi’s ex husband Rob, but I found much to love in Dan, Mel’s husband. Mel’s family, her daughters and son Liam play a dramatic role in the book and I felt they were well drawn by the author. I think credit is due to Adele Parks for making me feel so much for these characters. I wanted to cry for them, hug them, but also throw things at them! This set of characters that will be sure to get right under your skin!

    The atmosphere and strained tension is built up from the very opening of the novel. The front cover tagline ‘I Invited Her In… and she took everything’ gives the reader a very good indication of what is going to befall the lead of the story, Mel. Parks manages to maintain this ominous and suffocating atmosphere throughout the novel. The plot was easy to follow, characterised by plenty of twists, turns, emotional confrontations, earth shattering shocks and explosive secrets. Parks has structured the novel in a shifting style of points of view. As a result, we get right inside the heads of leading ladies Mel and Abi, along with Mel’s husband Dan and an additional outside character. This works well to build the intrigue of the novel and enhance the psychological features of I Invited Her In. Parks works hard to establish a good grounding for her novel in the first half, but when a life changing event occurs around the half way mark, the book really takes full flight and spirals towards an unexpected conclusion!

    With an intriguing and diverting plot, full of challenging characters, I Invited Her In proved to be a one mind boggling and messy read of a friendship gone terribly wrong! I know it made me think twice about letting old friends back into my life, you can never be too sure!

    *I wish to thank Beauty & Lace Book Club and Harlequin – HQ Fiction for a copy of this book.

  3. I Invited Her In is the latest psychological offering from British author, Adele Parks. Set in the U.K, I Invited Her In is told from multiple view points, the main two being Mel and Abi. Mel tells her point of view in the first person as a wife to Ben and mum of three; to 17 year old Liam and two little girls. In her university days, Mel’s best friend was Abi, Their friendship was not destined to last a lifetime when Mel makes the biggest mistake of her life, intentionally cutting herself out of Abi’s life. Now newly separated from her long time husband, Rob, Abi contacts Mel, offering Mel the chance to renew their friendship. Telling her version of events in the third person helped separate Mel and Abi even though they were as different as chalk and cheese. Mel lives in the suburbs, working in retail and taking care of the family with Ben’s help. Her children always come first and foremost. Abi, in contrast, is single, leading the life of a former television talk show host, filled with celebrities and champagne. When 38 year old Mel welcomes Abi into the family home for an extended period of time, she takes the chance to relive her youth with Abi. Mel is blind to the havoc and changes that Abi brings to the family unit with her selfish, narcissistic ways. Many times I shook my head in wonder at the loaded comments that Abi appeared to have thoughtlessly made, especially around the two impressionable young girls. Every single move Abi makes though, is calculated for maximum damage, especially the intent of having an affair with either Ben or Liam. Parks cleverly hides who Abi has ensnared for as long as possible and when the truth comes out, the effects will be damaging for the entire family.

    With themes of motherhood, family, revenge and infidelity, this is a novel that will have you keeping the pages turning as Parks drops one twist and turn after another.

  4. I’m in two minds about this book.. At first I loved it, It is told in first person from various characters. It centres on Melanie, her husband, Ben and their 3 children (one from a one night stand by Melanie) and Abi her friend from University who was married to Rob but the marriage broke down.. Melanie invites Abi to stay and that is when things start going wrong. There are so many secrets and hidden agendas in the book regarding the main 2 characters and at one stage I felt uncomfortable reading it as it seemed incestuous even though it wasn’t..

    Even though I liked some parts of the book, I don’t think it was for me

  5. “I Invited her in” is the story of Melanie Harrison, a typical English suburban Mum with a 17 year old son & 2 young daughters…and a few secrets.

    Melanie is living her life quite comfortably with her hubby Ben (her 17 yr old son Liam’s stepfather) & their 2 daughters, until she hears from her long lost University friend Abigail who is going through a messy divorce with long time hubby and mutual Uni pal Rob.

    Abi is a breath of fresh air around their routine and somewhat boring lives, she is breathtaking, spellibinding and all consuming. At least Mel thinks so. Until Abi’s charms start to work on someone else, someone dear to Mel.

    Will Abi’s manipulating and intoxicating presence ruin everything for Mel and her family?

    Or will fierce Mama Mel win out in the end?

    “I Invited her in” was so addictive, well written and was full of twists and turns, I found it hard to put down!

    Excellent Holiday reading, highly recommended!

  6. Thank you Beauty and lace and Harliquin for the opportunity to review I invited her in by Adele Parks.
    I am in two minds about this book. It was extremely well written with strong characters. I felt that the plot was predictable which was disappointing. In saying this I still wanted to know how it ended and found it hard to put down.
    Overall a decent holiday read, 3 stars from me.

  7. I found “I invited her in” by Adele Parks to be an easy to read novel that I finished in a day. It was a tale of jealously, revenge and wanting what someone else has. I did start to pick the storyline from early on but there was still some twists and turns that surprised me and made it a good read.

    This was the first novel of Adele Sparks I have read and I am sure I will look into her back catalogue now as a result of reading this one.

    “I invited her in” is a thriller that spans both the States and the UK. Abi has it all a Husband and successful career in the media in the States while her old uni friend Mel lives in the UK with her Husband Ben and children Liam, Lily and Imogen. Mel and Abi have not been in contact for 17 years but when Abi’s relationship breaks down with her Husband Rob she reaches out to Mel who obliges with offering her somewhere to stay.

    I disliked Abi from the start, I found her demanding, self centred and that she wanted what Mel had, a happy home and loving family. I also felt the change in Mel when Abi arrived and struggled as she went from being a strong, capable woman to wanting to please Abi. The characters were written in way that made you feel invested in the story and wanting to see what transpired as I did not trust Abi at all.

    The novel is told through the eyes of different characters with each chapter, initially just Abi and Mel but then Ben, Mel’s husband and other characters throughout the novel.

    Great summer tale that will keep you reading.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace and Harlequin – HQ Fiction for the opportunity to read and review this novel.

  8. Thank you Beauty and Lace and harlequin for the opportunity to read this book. This is the first time I have read an Adele Parjs book.

    It was well written and shows the dramas of friendship which involved jealousy, revenge, etc. It showed how friendshios can be very complex. The characters were strong women but when Abi turned up Mel seemed to become a little helpless.
    It was a book that had many twists and turns even thiugh the plot was a little predictable, it was a book that was hard to put down. It makes you look at your friendships in a different light and that some friends should stay in the past.
    I will be looking for more books written by Adele.
    Once again thank you i did really enjoy this book.

  9. ‘I Invited Her In’ is a gripping tale of two friends being reunited after many years of separation. It’s start centres around Melanie’s kindness and guilt, allowing her friend Abi to re enter the life of her immediate family. Melanie allows her friend Abi to stay, opening her door and welcoming her in yet Abi’s arrived with a manipulative plan to seek revenge on her friend. The story explores the feelings associated with wanting what another person has, the jealousy and awe that can and does occur in friendships.
    Whilst I did find parts of the book predictable and kept waiting for the twists and turns, it was still a book I found difficult to put down. I do recommend it to others as a summer read..

  10. WOW, thank you Beauty and Lace, and Adele Parks for a fantastic novel,

    I loved the characters Mel adoring wife and mother, and Ben a devoted father who loves his teenage son and two beautiful daughters equally, Tania young and romantically in love, and Abi who at first in dire straits seems lovely, and appreciative, and then not so thoughtful or caring of others.

    This novel full of mystery, intrigue, and jealousy a plot full of twists and turns, an ending I did not see coming. Highlighting how people change over time and how fun-loving university friends grow apart, one takes on marriage, children, responsibilities, the other lives a fairy-tale life, full of bubbles, Cartier and fake tan.

    The level of revenge, deceit, manipulation and narcissism reaches a new low, whilst a parent’s undying love for their child is unparalleled.

    This book will keep you reading into the early hours of the morning, and the story will stay with you for a long time after you’re finished.

  11. I enjoyed this gripping tale of jealousy, friendship, revenge, regret, heartbreak and forgiveness. A nice change from my usual preferred genres, I found myself captivated with this psychological thriller, it was a real page-turner and quite believable.

    It’s my first Adele Parks read and I thought it was well written and I enjoyed her writing style and the use of mixed perspectives. Will definitely read more of Adele Parks in the future.

    Thanks Beauty and Lace and Harlequin for the opportunity to read a copy of I Invited Her In for an unbiased review

  12. I found the second half of ‘I invited her in’ quite gripping and interesting, and fast moving. The first half was an introduction that potentially could have been shorter as I struggled to get into the book but once it got there, it was great

  13. The beginning of the book was a little bit slow and had me not really wanting to go on, but boy am I glad I did. The second half of this book had me up until late at night trying to squeeze in one more chapter.

    Great book. Gets a 7/10 from me

  14. Thank you to Beauty and Lace for giving me the opportunity to read this book. This book is about revenge and definitely not forgiveness. I have not read a book in a while covering this story line, which at times I found difficult to read especially the affair between Liam and Abi.

  15. You have to help your friends right? Even ones you haven’t seen for what seems like another life time? Oh my goodness the complexities of friend ships, people aren’t always who they seem this book has so many emotions on so many levels and with so many characters how deceit can destroy many lives.
    A really powerful book with an unexpected outcome.
    A really great book enjoyed reading it

  16. I Devoured this book! Talk about a page turner.
    Friendships from the past, and relationships in the now, are really put to the test in this novel, filled with betrayals and lies from the past, a loving relationship tested in the now, and a scorned woman out to get the ultimate revenge, on her supposed best friend.
    Lot’s of twists and turns, and a surprise ending, kept me glued to the pages for 2 days.
    One of the best books I have read in awhile, and one I recommended to friends to purchase as Christmas gifts.
    Sincere thanks to Beauty & Lace, and Harlequin _HQ for allowing me to enjoy and review this book.
    Quite the psychological thriller!

  17. I Invited Her In is the story of Mel and her family, and how her life is thrown into complete turmoil from offering her university friend Abi to stay after hearing of Abi’s marriage breakdown. Abi brings with her a storm full of trouble for the family and creates absolute chaos for Mel’s family.

    This is the first book I have read from Adele Parks although I am aware that she has written quite a few others. I enjoyed that this book was set in England as books overseas are always interesting because they are different from my everyday life. This story was pretty engaging and also absolutely infuriating. The story starts out quite slowly as we get to hear the whole backstory of all of the characters and get to know them. It doesn’t take long however to start to feel completely outraged at mel’s actions once Abi comes to stay. Mel begins to neglect her family and particularly her poor husband Ben in favour of drunken nights out with Abi. Conversely Abi begins to form relationships with Mel’s family leaving Mel to feel quite isolated as she realises the consequences of her actions.

    I found it difficult to relate to Mel’s character, but I have not yet had children, let alone been a single parent at 19 so that is understandable to me. I thought the author did a good job of creating characters which the reader is able to form attachments to and therefore become invested in what was happening to them.

    The book seemed to be quite long to me and at times I thought the story was drawn-out. There were scenes and particular elements to the story that I thought might have been excluded. In particular I thought the author could have streamlined the sequences between Mel beginning to neglect her family and the reader becoming very suspicious of Abi’s true intentions to the part where we finally find out exactly what is going on with Abi and what her plan is.

    This story dealt with the themes of friendship, family and revenge at length. I thought the theme of family was best explored and developed through each character being able to share what family means to them. The theme of friendship I felt was evident throughout the novel but really only in relation to Mel. We never discover whether Abi, Ben (Mel’s husband) or even Liam (Mel’s oldest son) even have any friends at all. As for the theme of revenge I felt that this was used by the author to justify a lot of the unrealistic events which took place in the story without really being thought through as to whether revenge would truly be a big enough motivator to inspire the events which unfolded, and I’m not sure that it is.

    Overall I did find the story to be quite unbelievable and unrealistic. I did enjoy reading the novel and thought it had some quite good elements to it. However, on the whole I would say there was nothing very extraordinary about the story and whilst it was entertaining it’s not one of the best books I have ever read. I would still recommend this as a nice, relaxing, easy read full of drama.

  18. I Invited Her In by Adele Parks had me intrigued from the start with the line ‘and she took everything’ following the title. Then when I read ‘Imagine the worst thing a friend could ever do. THIS IS WORSE.’ I was ecstatic and couldn’t wait to get started! But… yes it is a great book, yes it is well written and yes it’s a fantastic and suspenseful story-line however, I just didn’t feel the ending lived up to the aforementioned taglines!
    The story is about 2 women Mel and Abi who used to be best friends in uni some years ago. Mel receives an email from Abi one day out of the blue asking for support as she is separating from her husband Rob. Mel is flattered to be asked and proceeds to bend over backwards to accommodate Abi into her family.
    As soon as Abi arrives things start to deteriorate in Mel’s little family (husband Ben and children Liam, Lily and Imogen). Its so sad to read how much Mel tries to be someone she’s not just to get Abi’s approval. Abi is the most awful and sick person you could imagine but it’s fascinating how she manages to twist everything to suit herself and get people to do what she wants.
    I really enjoyed reading this book but is it wrong to say I wanted things to end up worse than they did?! I was expecting a much worse outcome so even though the loose ends were all wrapped up, I just felt a bit let down after anticipating a much more horrific ending.
    Thanks Beauty & Lace and to Harlequin for the opportunity to read this book and to discover Adele Parks.

  19. Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to review I Invited Her In by Adele Parks. This is the first time I have read one of Adele’s books.

    it has a lot going on like heartbreak, friendship and jealousy amongst many other emotions.

    It centres around Mel who is the wife of Ben and mother to a son Liam and two daughters.mel and her longtime friend Abi come together after years of separation and that’s when the fun and games begin.

    I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who loves great fiction.

  20. The grass is always greener on the other side! Or is it???

    I loved this book because in essence, this is what was being captured with the two main characters and their very different lives.

    Mel is a typical wife and mother of 3 children and works part time. She has been content with the way her life is until her best friend Abi from uni sends her an email.

    Abi is beautiful, confident and free as she has just split up from her husband. She comes and stays at Abi’s house and they spend many hours together drinking, staying up late and going out as if they were back at uni. Mel is thoroughly enjoying this because at the age of 19 she fell pregnant and had a baby. This forced her to grow up fast! She quit uni and moved away to bring up her son on her own until she met and married Ben.

    After a while, Mel slowly starts to neglect her family. She’s more interested in being someone that she’s not so that she can fit in with Abi’s life. Abi has no children and is completely opposite to Mel..

    What happens next is jealousy and revenge, Abi does the unthinkable and Mel’s world comes crashing down around her.

    I really enjoyed reading this. I thoroughly recommend it. Thank you Beauty & Lace and Harlequin for giving me the opportunity to read one of Adele Parks books.

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