‘What are you doing here?’ demands the glamorous Sharon, CEO of Narcissus cosmetics, of soft-hearted stay-at-home mum Fran. They have not seen each other since their school days, some thirty years ago, and meet now at a private view of a third old school friend, the aspiring artist Belle Fowler. The quartet is completed by the arrival of Tiffany, an impressive and steely QC. All successful and competitive in their own way, the reunion draws them in and stirs familiar fractious dynamics between the four. Handsome Tiffany, with her arrogant confidence, based on her stellar rise in the Court circuit, continues to assert her superiority. Glossy blonde Sharon persists in her insistence that what matters most is the body beautiful and she has nothing to envy in the others. Homely Fran, the least obviously ambitious, quietly pursues more domestic goals and expresses positive feelings about being reunited. And lastly, there is Belle, the raison d’être of the get-together. She is the artistic bohemian character of the quartet, struggling with her innate conservatism and hell-bent on making a name for herself in the art world as an exciting contemporary painter. It is Belle who introduces them all to her protégé, Damian, a talented and enigmatic young art student, who hovers as a dark presence ready to pull them all in and manipulate the situation to his own advantage, exposing the four women’s secrets in the process and changing their lives irrevocably.
Jolly’s novel is a blistering exploration of friendship, ambition, and the vagaries of fate, where a chance encounter means that sleeping dogs will never lie.