Note to the reader: this book isn’t about a holiday on the beach like the cover suggests. At all.
If you’ve picked up this book (like I did) with the guise that it’s about a bunch of girls who meet on a tropical holiday resort and talk about boys and get into all sorts of drunken shenanigans… you would be wrong. In fact, the cover could not be any more misleading.
A Private Affair by Lesley Lokko is actually a story that follows four very different women with one very big similarity: they have been army wives or girlfriends at one point in their life. Samantha Maitland, a no-nonsense business woman who grew from ugly duckling to beautiful swan meets a mysterious army man on her holiday; Meaghan Astor runs away from her abusive home and finds solace in the handsome Australian army man Tom; Abby Barclay who grew up in an army home, is now the perfect army wife; and Dani Kingsley-Safo, the young and stunning Sierra Leonean with a dark past regarding a mysterious army man.
I’ll start by saying that I’ve heard some pleasant things about Lokko and her writing so I was expecting pretty good things by this book, especially because it is a very thick read. However, I was pretty let down and I was pretty disappointed by this book in general.
Besides the fact the cover is misleading, I just thought some of the scenes in the book very irrelevant to the overall storyline of the novel. The flashbacks for all four characters were to set their story and describe the type of person that they are, and most of it did that, sure. But some of the scenes were just pointless and some stories were told for no ultimate reason.
Regarding the characters, the only character I really connected with was Meaghan and that was because she’s Australian. The closest character I even remotely felt something for was Nick Beasdale. I didn’t feel a single spark with any other main character and thought they were bland. Dani was annoying and I genuinely resented reading her parts of the story; Samantha was a pain in the arse and fell for a guy straight away because he looked at her; and Abby was a selfish mutt. I would like to say why, but it’ll spoil the story. But that’s just my opinion.e
This book was really hard to get into and it took me well over three months to finally put the book down and declare it finished. Granted, there were some saving graces about the book (Meaghan and Tom’s cute relationship anyone?) but I thought the novel overall was rather uninteresting. I will say that it did shed some interesting light on a topic I had no prior knowledge on but wish I did: being an army wife. I never imagined it’d be as difficult or as lonely as this book had described and sympathised with Meaghan and Abby as they would go days or sometimes months without seeing their better half. It also gave a brief insight onto what it’s like in the army, and that to me was pretty great.
Style of writing: 5.2/10
The misleading cover may have put this result to bed but the disappointing storyline put the nail on the coffin. Being my first Lokko book, it is sad to admit that this is my first impression of her. But, alas, like a good reader, I won’t let that stray me away from reading her other stuff.
– by Noah La’ulu