About the book:
Four women meet at a Manchester university party in 1975 and become close friends. Over the following thirty years, their lives are shaped by their childhoods, their relationships with men, and the backdrop of rapid changes in society for women.
When one of the four, Linda Hammond, is found dead, suspicion falls on her use of Svelta, a widely prescribed slimming drug linked to numerous deaths. Also in the frame of suspicion is an eminent cardiologist who arranged an illegal abortion for Linda when he was a medical student, the knowledge of which could finish his career.
Concerns about the high number of deaths amongst Svelta users are picked up by two investigative journalists. They uncover the manipulation of the clinical trial data on which the drug was licensed and the readiness of Sipher Pharmaceutical to rebut any concern over the drug’s safety.
Linda’s death dramatically changes all the women’s lives, laying bare deceit, a lack of personal integrity and corporate greed.
My review – 3.5 of 5 stars:
A Slim Chance by Elizabeth Harrison was an enjoyable story, but it was too much – too many main characters, too many story lines, too many social issues. After the opening scene in which one of the main characters dies, the story flashes back thirty years to when four young women meet. For the next several chapters, the women get to know each other and form lifelong friendships. This part of the story was well done. I had difficulty finding a place to stop and looked forward to returning to my Kindle. As the women left college and entered the real world, however, their lives diverged and so did their stories.
The author dealt with many important women’s issues like abortion, abuse of several kinds, self esteem and body image, and drug addiction to name a few. They also dealt with corporate misconduct, especially in the drug industry. While all of these issues need to be exposed, I felt that since so many were covered in one story, none of them was handled as effectively as they might have been if only one or two had been the focus. There were also several passages, especially those related to the corporate misconduct, where the author’s voice switched from story-telling to lecturing.
I would recommend this book to readers who can focus on the story rather than the short-comings in the telling of it. A strong developmental editor could do a lot to pull A Slim Chance up to a four-star or even a five-star rating.
About the author:
Liz Buxton and Dee Harrison (Elizabeth Harrison) have been friends since the age of five. From a shared background of school, marriage, children, and then divorce, they have gone on to pursue quite different careers and lifestyles, but have always kept in touch.
Dee has worked in IT and built two successful software companies. Liz has had a freelance career as a Furniture Designer to the manufacturing industry as well as training as a Yachtmaster and living on a sailing boat for five years.
This is their first novel together.
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