Parks, Adele. I Invited Her In. Toronto: MIRA Books, 2019. 448p. ISBN 978-0-7783-6921-9. Trade paperback with flaps. $16.99. Fiction

In their first year at a university in Birmingham, England, Melanie and Abigail become best friends. Then Mel got pregnant after a one-night stand, decided to keep the baby, refused to identify the father (who wanted her to abort), and finally dropped out. The two women lost contact when Abi moved to Los Angeles. Now, 17 years later, Mel is married to a good man, has three kids, and works part-time in retail. Childless Abi married a hot, bad-boy producer and became a TV star but is facing divorce after catching her husband in bed with a younger woman. When starstruck Mel gets an email from Abi saying her life is "bloody awful," Mel invites the glamorous celebrity to visit and "stay as long as you like" at her modest home outside Northampton. Thus begins an extended stay and a treacherous domestic drama grounded in envy, adulation, sexual passion, revenge, and manipulation. Narrated in chapters that alternate between the protagonists, Parks's 19th novel (after The Image of You) is a psychological thriller that is strong on complex relationships but weak in suspense. VERDICT The author deftly portrays her female characters, especially Mel, whose neediness is remarkable. Recommended for readers more interested in family interplay (think Anne Tyler) than in thrills and chills.

Library Journal, Express Reviews, (December 14, 2018).

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