Beverly would be jealous of Ella's gregarious charm and high-life, if she didn't have the security of her long-term boyfriend, Roland, who spared Beverly from the dating scene and gave her a future. Beverly won't speak for herself because she has a stutter. This is how she carefully arranges her life, until Roland breaks up with her... to date Ella.
I wasn't heading into Fiona's book blind. I'd read and thoroughly enjoyed Orla's Code (even if I didn't understand some of the coding jargon).
Saying that, Beverly surprised me. It was different to Orla's code. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. With Beverly Fiona seems to have really honed her character building skills. A few words came to mind after I'd read this book: real, authentic and flawed.
I love an author that takes on difficulties that many people deal with in their everyday lives. Beverly has a stutter but rather than deal with it she adapts ways to side step words she finds difficult and completely avoids an situation that might lead to her speaking publicly. She rely's on her friend Ella to use her charms to get her through difficult situations.
There is real authenticity in the writing. I'm not sure if Fiona her self suffers from a speech impediment but either way she clearly thoroughly researched the subject prior to writing. That much is obvious. I could feel myself holding my breath with Beverly every time she struggled to say a certain word.
Lots of writers can do 'flawed' but many don't pull it off as convincingly as Fiona does. There is often this perceived notion that a disability comes with a shy 'lovely' personality. Not always. Frankly, Beverly is a bit of a bitch, she loves to party and she loves sex just as much as any other girl. She loves her boyfriend and is willing to do anything to make sure that she remains his favorite.
I loved all of the above but I loved Beverly's development most of all. She learns that actions have consequences and that people won't always make allowances for you; no matter how much you think you deserve it. Sometimes you can't turn the clock back. You just have to deal with it and move forward.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a character driven novel. With Beverly. Fiona's unique voice has shone through again.