The school gates are a great social leveller, with parents from all walks of life brought together whether they like it or not at the start and end of their children’s day. For a few, friendships forged there will bring drama, for others consolation, for some romance… When single working mum Alana reveals the identity of her love-child’s father, she isn’t prepared for the consequences. Dana knows she should be content with her perfect house and perfect husband but finds herself longing for another child and wishing for more fulfilment. Mo’s life has always been hard, but the violence of her alcoholic husband could be the last straw, which only friendship with super-mum Joan can get her through. And what of gay Daddy Gordon? Will he be able to juggle parenthood and cope with his broken heart at the same time?
Featherstone Primary, a good school in an affluent area, yet the school gates certainly do not present the peaceful manner you may expect.
The School Gates follows the lives of five families; the wealthy Alana - Eliska has everything she could want except time with her mother who works every hour, Dana, ex au pair who has made a perfect life for herself and her family - but there are cracks under the surface, Joan - with a large family to care for and money tight things are a struggle but she still finds time to help her lovely friend, Mo. I loved Mo, she keeps her little family together even when things really are at rock bottom, and lastly the wonderful gay dads, Gordon and Chris - adoptive fathers to Gordon's nieces after a family tragedy. Will he cope?
Their lives, however different intertwine and they are all certainly not what they seem under their well constructed exteriors.
The mixture of characters works perfectly and each family/character is well developed. The plot is complex to begin with - keeping track of who's who but you soon get to grips with it. It must have been difficult for Nicola May to write as there are many sub plots but kudos to her as it never goes off track or gets too confusing.
My favourite character has to be Mo, mother to little Rosie and wife to alcoholic Ron. She does have an incredibly tough time of it, I just wanted to wade in and rescue her. I was thankful for her friendship with Joan, mother of four, most of whom always have nits.
I look forward to working my way through Nicola's newly published back catalogue (have a look at more of Nicola May's work here at Accent Press)
Witty, heartwarming, VERY racy in places, and a well deserved