Book Review: One Little Mistake by Emma Curtis

Title: One Little Mistake
Author: Emma Curtis
Publisher: Transworld Digital and Black Swan
Publication Date: 23 February 2017 (ebook) and 15 June 2017 (paperback)

Twitter: @emmacurtisbooks



Vicky Seagrave is blessed: three beautiful children, a successful, doting husband, great friends and a job she loves. She should be perfectly happy.

When she makes a split-second decision that risks everything she holds dear, there’s only person she trusts enough to turn to.

But Vicky is about to learn that one mistake is all it takes; that if you’re careless with those you love, you don’t deserve to keep them . . .


One Little Mistake is the debut novel from author Emma Curtis. The front cover declares “You trusted your best friend… you shouldn’t have”. This gives the reader a hint as to the story within and it made me eager to get reading.

One Little Mistake is a psychological novel focusing on female friendship. Any woman will understand the importance of having a real friend; that one partner in crime who can provide unwavering support in your hour of need. As the saying goes “A good friend will help you move, but a true friend will help you move a body” (Steven J Daniels, Weeds in The Garden of Love). The story also addresses marriage and motherhood, particularly feelings of guilt that fester within those relationships. Nothing highlights are own shortcomings more than finding ourselves responsible for the development and wellbeing of a child. The central theme to the tale is trust and it made me consider the varying ways in which trust is so much ingrained in all relationships.

One Little Mistake tells of the friendship between Vicky Seagrove and Amber Collins. They are the best of friends until Vicky makes a split-second decision which, following Amber’s advice, quickly turns into a myriad of lies and deception. Vicky finds herself losing control of the situation and at Amber’s mercy; a position that she struggles to see a way out of. Her trust in Amber waivers and their friendship starts to come tumbling down around them. Both Vicky and Amber start to question their friendship – do they really know each other as well as they think?
In a parallel storyline, we read about the sad situation of a child within the foster system almost 20 years earlier, wanting nothing more than to find a permanent family of her own.
The story flows at a good pace and the use of the two concurrent storylines enables Curtis to both create a web of lies whilst simultaneously unravelling that same web. The tale is told by way of a triple-narrative, split between Vicky, Amber and the foster child, which allows the reader to see the tale from all sides. It also jumps between first and third person narrative, to clever effect. The breaks/swap in narration helped to maintain the pace of the story and made it easy to read.
The one thing that struck me about the story was my lack of empathy for both Vicky and Amber. I expected to dislike the deceitful and complex Amber, however I was somewhat surprised by my dislike of Vicky, a woman who loves her family and tries her best to be a good wife and mother, albeit not always successfully. The author does not excuse her actions and allows the reader to reach their own conclusions about her actions. I have to say that my favourite character in the book was actually one of the supporting characters – the unflappable Jenny. She is someone who I would want on my side in an emergency!
The story is thought-provoking. I understand from friends who have children that motherhood (particularly when on maternity leave or for non-working mums) can be very isolating and lonely. I can see how friendships and support become more important than ever, and to what lengths someone might go to in order to maintain that friendship.
Overall, I foundOne Little Mistake to be a tense, dark and engrossing story which made for an enjoyable read. I look forward to reading more from this author.

About the Author

Emma Curtis was born in Brighton and brought up in London. Her fascination with the darker side of domestic life inspired her to write One Little Mistake, her first psychological suspense.
She has two children and lives in Richmond with her husband.
Find her on Twitter: @emmacurtisbooks
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