Outstanding by Kathryn Flett

Review - OutstandingA sharp-eyed modern morality tale about mothers and daughters and how we raise our children, from the author of Separate Lives.
Eve Sturridge, a high-flying divorcee and mother of two girls, is head teacher of Ivy House, an Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ prep school in Sussex. Eve is passionate about her school and its pupils.

When Danish power couple, Stefan and Anette Sorenson, jet in and choose Ivy House over other schools, Eve is justifiably proud. The Sorensons are A-listers who bring an aura of style and power to Ivy House.

Zoe is Eve’s pretty seventeen-year-old daughter. Unlike her mother, Zoe’s not so keen on school. She prefers sending nude selfies to her boyfriend.

When glamorous Stefan Sorenson proposes that Zoe interns at his company and invites her to accompany him to New York, Zoe is over the moon with excitement, while Eve is too focused on her job to smell danger . . .

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Reviewer: Gina

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

I’m not sure the blurb accurately portrays this book. It has a very gentle rhythm and build up, and while the reader can feel and see life getting more out of control—a runaway train, almost—there’s only a small degree of ‘danger’, which is only a tiny part of the over all story. In fact, while the story does gradually ramp up to what could be a perfect storm moment, very little seems to happen. Any resolutions are perfectly British and altogether beige. Characters don’t even need to feel too responsible for their mistakes, as others come swooping in to fix things.

I found the village and private school idylls to be charming, although I don’t think I got to know any of the characters very well. The writing flowed in a very easy to read way, and I often found myself wondering if there was a parenting lesson to be learned about taking your eye off the ball, or if I was reading too much into an entertaining storyline.

One thing I did find quite distracting was the author’s habit of inserting pop-culture/celebrity references into the narrative, and I feel these can actually age a book faster than using actual dates seeing as fashion and celebrity icons are so fluid and change so frequently. I suspend my disbelief to read, too, and to keep having realism thrust at me pulled me out of the moment.

I’d read further books by Kathryn Flett as I enjoyed her writing style and the general direction of the story I’m not sure each thread was entirely resolved to my satisfaction but what is life if there are no loose ends?

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review.