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New Release Saturday: The Hive by Gill Hornby

By Crossstitchyourheart @TMNienaber

New Release Saturday: The Hive by Gill HornbyReview of “The Hive” by Gill Hornby
Expected Publication: September 10, 2013 by Little, Brown and Co

On the surface this novel looks like another portrait of the lifestyles of the rich and bored, but what Hornby has actually written is a clever satire about mothers, daughters, and the cliques they share (even when they’re old enough to know better). Pleasantly surprising in its intelligence, this novel manages to take Mean Girls into the mother’s world in a way that’s both realistic and funny. With characters you’ll love (and some you’ll love to hate) and just a dash of drama and romance thrown in Hornby’s “The Hive” is a light read that will make you wonder whether or not there’s hope for any of us to really “grow up.”

As the title suggests, Hornby’s novel centers around both a hive of women and a hive of bees. The metaphor is a little heavy-handed but that just adds to the obvious satire Hornby is trying to convey. The story is told through multiple perspectives, the main character/narrator is, for the majority of the story, Rachel. Rachel’s husband Chris has just left her for an intern at his office, and after her marriage has fallen apart her social life starts to fall apart as well. You see, Rachel is best friends with Bea (pun intended) the social queen of the St. Ambrose parents, but once Rachel becomes less than perfect, Bea becomes less than present. Now Rachel has to find a new group and during the process begins to see just what kind of collective she’s been a part of for all those years. And if that’s not enough, dashing new headmaster Tom adds an element of romance to Rachel’s life just to complicate things more.

In addition to Rachel there are several other characters worth mentioning. Georgie, the smoker who doesn’t actually smoke with a large family and a no bullshit attitude. Heather, the mother who’s desperate to please Bea, whatever the cost. And Melissa, the charming new mom with a big house and ideas that put Bea’s to shame.

As the story continues it becomes fairly obvious just how this group of mom’s mimics the hive, and as Melissa rushes in to save the day she starts to gain allies while Bea is out working her MUJ. The satire aspect of the novel becomes almost paradoy-ish by the last few chapters though, and while it was funny, the tone changed a little too abruptly for them to fit in with the rest of the novel. While the ending was appropriate and leaves you with questions, the shift in tone was a little jarring and completely lost the reality Hornby cultivated in the rest of the book.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher.

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