The Playground

The Playground Details

Big Little Lies meets Lord of The Flies in this electrifyingly twisty follow-up to Jane Shemilt’s breakout debut The Daughter.

Over the course of a long, hot summer in London, the lives of three very different married couples collide when their children join the same tutoring circle, resulting in illicit relationships, shocking violence, and unimaginable fallout.

There’s Eve, a bougie earth mother with a well-stocked trust fund; she has three little ones, a blue-collar husband and is obsessed with her Instagrammable recipes and lifestyle. And Melissa, a successful interior designer whose casually cruel banker husband is careful not to leave visible bruises; she curates her perfectly thin body so closely she misses everything their teenage daughter is hiding. Then there’s Grace, a young Zimbabwean immigrant, who lives in high-rise housing project with her two children and their English father Martin, an award-winning but chronically broke novelist; she does far more for her family than she should have to.

As the weeks go by, the couples become very close; there are barbecues, garden parties, a holiday at a country villa in Greece. Resentments flare. An affair begins. Unnoticed, the children run wild. The couples are busily watching each other, so distracted and self-absorbed that they forget to watch their children. No one sees the five children at their secret games or realize how much their family dynamics are changing until tragedy strikes.

The story twists and then twists again while the three families desperately search for answers. It’s only as they begin to unravel the truth of what happened over the summer that they realize evil has crept quietly into their world.

But has this knowledge come too late?

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    The Playground Reviews

  • Berit???

    What a wild ride, this is a playground you want to avoid taking your children to! You know how you feel when you get off one of those playground merry go rounds? A little shook, a little queasy, a lit...

  • Faith

    Three families were brought together by a tutoring program for dyslexic children. There were 6 children (aged 3 to 13) and 3 sets of neglectful parents. One child went missing and then a second child ...

  • Mackenzie - PhDiva Books

    Oh what a tangled web of secrets are woven among three couples brought together by their kids, but held together by their actions… Until something shocking occurs… This is quite a book! A characte...

  • Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)

    AH-HA-HA-HA - I KNEW IT!!! **points finger and then shakes fist**What an interesting web you weave, Shemilt! The synopsis definitely says best when it comes to Big Little Lies feels because those are ...

  • Melissa Borsey

    A well written disturbing story about horrible people making horrible decisions and the life altering consequences that occur. I thank Librarything and Jane Shemilt for the opportunity to read and rev...

  • Kelly

    There’s a lot of things I’m not sure about in The Playground. I’m not sure if there’s really a plot line for the first half of the book. The characters, adults and children both, just go in ci...

  • Colleen

    Three families’ lives become increasingly intertwined when they meet during tutoring sessions for their children. Throughout the summer and into the fall, the adults become more and more preoccupied...

  • Crystal Zavala

    Rating somewhere between 2.5-3The Playground features three families that live in the surrounding areas of London. Eve and Eric have three children, Melissa and Paul have a teenage daughter, and Grace...

  • Kim

    Even though this was a fiction book, it was very disturbing. Once I started reading this book I could not put it down. There is so much going on in this story it made me angry at times and sad at time...

  • Christine Moore

    Three families and their children become close over the course of a summer. The parents become too focused on their selves and leave the children too much freedom. When bad things start to happen the ...