Review: Befriended by Ruth O'Neill

Befriended by Ruth O'Neill
Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Book Summary:
Some secrets never leave us alone. . . Gemma Peacock's life was perfect - or at least, she thought it was. She had a home she loved, a job she enjoyed, and a husband she adored. The only cloud on the horizon was the continuing tension between Gemma and her mother-in-law, but that's the same for everyone, right? After the death of her beloved husband, Ritchie, everything begins to fall apart. Indiana Manors' life, on the other hand, is far from perfect - but she knows just what she has to do to fix it. Befriend Gemma Peacock - and destroy her.
Book Review:
This book had a good start and I was eager to read more. I like it when a book manages to draw me in from the outset - it shows potential and a high possibility of a great read.

The character of Indiana was delightfully written, and Gemma was pretty good, if a tad predictable. I don't think that's a bad thing, because in real life, a lot of us are that way too. A slice of life, Gemma is. I enjoyed seeing the characters develop, and I was always curious to know more and more about Ritchie.

One part that I was keeping an eye on was how Gemma grieves for Ritchie. I feel like there could have been more time given to it and about how she comes to peace with herself. Because after all the author does a pretty good job of showing Gemma in all her vulnerability. I'm sure she would have done justice.

My appreciation for the Indiana's character only grew as I read more and more of the book. She was an all round horrible person but you just can't hate her. This isn't really a spoiler because the summary implies as much.

--- Slight spoiler (in terms of how the characters are, nothing about the story) ---

One thing I'd like to mention - the beginning of the story does not really match with the part where the reason for Indiana's behavior is revealed. When I read the beginning, it implied something different, and the reveal was something different.

While I understand that it may have been a conscious attempt by the author to build up to the climax, I feel maybe making the beginning slightly different/more vague would've made it more of an aha moment at the point of reveal. As it stands, I was slightly confused. Now that I see what I wrote, it isn't much of a spoiler at all!

--- However, slight spoiler over. ---

The story arc was brilliant and all the lead characters grow throughout the book as more and more of their personalities are revealed. The perspective shifts were also very well written.

Just one thing - this book does contain erotica in bits of the story, and the summary on Goodreads doesn't mention it, so I was pretty unprepared - I generally do not read erotica. Thankfully it wasn't too much and it did lead the story forward, so I was okay with it. Just a heads-up​ to other people like me.

All in all, it makes for a lovely read - romance, suspense, a bit of a erotica (for those of you who fancy it) with a great story arc and character development.

*A review copy was provided to Oh Just Books by the author in exchange for an honest review*
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