A review by Annabelle Lee
Set in an idyllic suburban Australian street, The End of Cuthbert Close follows three neighbors with little in common besides motherhood and a shared love of cake. Each of them has different careers, family dynamics and stresses but they come together as a new arrival to the street threatens to upend their little slice of urban utopia. Cara, Alex and Beth are friendly and welcoming, but why won’t stunning new arrival Charlie Devine play along? Something sinister is going on, and it all seems to link to their new neighbor. Why is she so elusive and where the heck is her husband really?
Desperate Housewives? It sounds like an Australian version of Desperate Housewives – Editor
The End of Cuthbert Close is the second novel from Sydney based author Cassie Hamer. It’s light and easy to read, with touches of mystery and suspicion that add suspense to the story. Each chapter features the perspective of one of the three main characters, and allows the reader insight into their unique thought processes. The story is set in quite an affluent neighborhood and could easily slip into syrupy suburban tropes, but these windows into their inner lives provide moments of relatability, especially hearing their insecurities and stresses. Most readers who juggle a family life alongside busy lives will find something in common with these women.
Real issues incorporated into fiction
Each of them is at a point in their lives that things outside of their control are changing, creating a need to reassess what is truly important in life. The stories include themes of infidelity, abuse, unplanned pregnancy and grief, though all with a light touch.
There was potential for this to be a much grittier story. After all, the characters face genuine struggles (perhaps none more so than the elusive new neighbor), but this novel leans more toward feeling like a holiday read. Easy to pick up, easy to put down. It will suit anyone looking for a pleasant bit of escapism with some likable ladies.
The End of Cuthbert Close is a lighthearted snapshot of an Australian suburban lifestyle. It follows three different women on their own search for happiness, amidst a series of strange and mysterious events. It’s not ground breaking literature, but it is a pleasant distraction from the weight of the world.
Sounds like a community service right now – Editor
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Imprint: HQ Fiction (HarperCollins Australia)
Format: paperback, 464 pages
Category: fiction, Contemporary Women