- Title: Befriended: Be Careful Who You Trust
- Author: Ruth O’Neil
- # of Pages: 309
- Publisher: Lulu.com
- Released: February 5, 2018
- Genre(s): Contemporary Thriller
- My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
* I received my copy of the book from the author.
*All opinions are my own.
*May contain spoilers.
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.
This contemporary thriller was exciting and kept me on my toes at every turn. I found myself wanting more the whole time I was reading it. If life hadn’t gotten in the way I probably would of finished it in a day.
Ruth O’Neill certainly put a lot of effort into developing both the characters and story. The world she created was rich with details that kept drawing the reader in. O’Neill did an incredible job of releasing details at just the right time to draw the reader in even more. She didn’t dump them all on you at once and she didn’t leave any out either. Ruth O’Neill is definitely a skilled writer.
With this praise I’m sure you’re wondering why I gave this book only three stars. If you know my scale, you know this is a positive review. The one and only issue I had with this story is the portrayal of people with mental illnesses. Joan and Indiana are both given traits and symptoms of multiple mental illnesses. Indiana’s back story suggests that she could have PTSD. Joan’s illness is not given a name and could be multiple different mental illnesses based on the symptoms mentioned.
Both characters are portrayed negatively throughout the book. Indiana is aware of the fact that her mentally is different than others but states that she enjoys being around other people’s suffering and she is manipulative. Joan is delusional, manipulative and narcissistic. Both of them lack empathy for others and wont acknowledge their issues.
I don’t think that Mrs. O’Neill had the intension of portraying the mentally ill this way. I think that Ruth O’Neill, like so many people, has a limited knowledge of mental illness. She probably got some of this knowledge from sources (news, movies, books, social media, magazines and more) that choose to only talk about the social violent episodes of a few (because violence gets attention while people’s well being doesn’t) without even realizing it.
I say this because in my experiances with family & friends diagnosed with mental illnesses that they not only acknowledge their disorder(s) but make a conscience effort to maintain a healthy mentality and lifestyle. Yes, there are individuals who aren’t this way but they are the exception, and they can often become like my family/friends with the right support.
I guess what I am trying to say is this, the book is worth reading but realise that Joan and Indiana are both mentally ill people who should be labeled as “the execption not the rule”.
So if you like Trillers or are a Ruth O’Neill fan check out Befriended and stay open minded about mental illness.