#BookReview The Playground by Michelle Frances @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #ThePlayground #MichelleFrances #PGCBooks Title: The Playground

Author: Michelle Frances

Published by: Pan Macmillan on Aug. 15, 2023

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 352

Format: Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

Looking to escape her old life, Nancy and her ten-year-old daughter Lara move to Ripton. A quiet, picturesque village in the rolling Derbyshire countryside, it seems like the perfect place to settle down.

But when Nancy reaches the school gates, she learns that beneath the quaint village atmosphere is a minefield. And after her daughter clashes with her school friends, Nancy quickly finds herself outside the whispering circle of parents.

As much as Nancy finds the playground politics absurd, they soon become impossible to ignore when Lara is accused of hurting another girl.

Desperate to clear Lara’s name, Nancy is about to learn just what lengths a parent will go to for their child . . .


Fast-paced, twisty, and captivating!

The Playground is a brisk, suspenseful thriller that introduces us to Nancy, a young mother who, after losing her husband in a tragic accident, decides to move to the Derbyshire countryside in hopes of a fresh start. But when her ten-year-old daughter is accused of trying to drown her popular classmate and the bullying and toxicity seems to just keep escalating from there, it quickly becomes apparent that life is going to be anything other than safe and peaceful in this village where everyone knows everyone and loyalties are long set.

The prose is sharp and crisp. The characters are manipulative, vulnerable, and cunning. And the plot is a menacing tale full of danger, deception, adultery, jealousy, gossip, obsession, negligence, and small-town drama.

Overall, The Playground is a cleverly plotted, eerie, intricate page-turner by Frances that had just enough twists, turns, and surprises to keep me on the edge of my seat from start to finish.


This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.





Thank you to Publishers Group Canada for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.


About Michelle Frances

Michelle Frances graduated from Bournemouth Film School and then from the Masters programme at the American Film Institute, Los Angeles. Returning to London, she has worked for several years in film and TV as a script editor and producer for both the independent sector and the BBC.

Her first novel, The Girlfriend, became an international best seller.

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