Dream start in a strange new city quickly turns into a nightmare
Prolific Moriarty has produced another surefire bestseller, says Rowena Walsh
What's the secret to making a relationship work? Every women's magazine will say it's about trust; that's the glue necessary to keep couples and families together. But what happens when trust is broken? When you can no longer look at your partner without thinking that he's lying to you? When, despite his seemingly heartfelt denials, you've become convinced that he must have had an affair.
After all, it's the only reasonable explanation for all the mysterious texts you've been receiving, as well as the unwelcome packages. Someone wants to drive you out of your home, and you're close to breaking point.
That's the nightmare scenario faced by Emma in Sinead Moriarty's ninth novel, Mad About You.
Moriarty has made a name for herself tackling uncomfortable subjects, from her debut tale The Baby Trail, a bittersweet comedy about a couple struggling to conceive, to the hell of anorexia in Pieces of My Heart, to the earth-shattering aftermath of a one-night stand for two women in This Child of Mine.
And it has paid off for her. To date, all her books have been bestsellers. So although she's prolific – her last novel was released barely a year ago – her many fans are bound to be eagerly anticipating her latest tale.
Emma has just moved to London with her husband James and their two young children. Although they have a strong marriage, Emma and James have endured a rocky few months when James had a disastrous stint as a coach with the Irish rugby team. But his role with London Irish means a new start for them. Although Emma initially struggled in the unfamiliar city, she soon settled into their rented home and even got a job on the TV show presented by her outspoken sister, Babs.
While she'll never be able to shake off her working mother guilt, the burden is eased when Emma sees how happy her children are spending time with Claire, the young Irish girl she has employed as a childminder.
But when Emma starts receiving unsettling texts, the very foundations of her marriage and family are shaken. Someone knows far more than they should about their lives. Is she being stalked? She can't help questioning James, and it becomes increasingly difficult for her to believe that his actions have been entirely innocent.
A chance discovery could mean the end of her marriage.
Moriarty has always known how to weave an engaging story, but in Mad About You she demonstrates her ability to address darker topics. She is very skilled at capturing Emma's growing paranoia and how it fractures the bond between herself and James. Emma had thought their marriage was for ever, but suddenly it is far more fragile than she had ever expected.
Don't be fooled by the brightly coloured cover; in Mad About You, Moriarty holds up a mirror to modern relationships, and doesn't shy away from the unpalatable truth that marriage isn't always for ever.