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Author: Jayne Cowie
Publication Date: March 22, 2022
Page Count: 318
My rating: 4 stars
About the book:
Think The Handmaid’s Tale but with the women in charge, set in a world where all men are electronically tagged and placed under strict curfew, and the murder investigation threatening to undo it all.
Imagine a near-future Britain in which women dominate workplaces, public spaces, and government. Where the gender pay gap no longer exists and motherhood opens doors instead of closing them. Where women are no longer afraid to walk home alone, to cross a dark parking lot, or to catch the last train.
Where all men are electronically tagged and not allowed out after 7 p.m.
But the curfew hasn’t made life easy for all women. Sarah is a single mother who happily rebuilt her life after her husband, Greg, was sent to prison for breaking curfew. Now he’s about to be released, and Sarah isn’t expecting a happy reunion, given that she’s the reason he was sent there.
Her teenage daughter, Cass, hates living in a world that restricts boys like her best friend, Billy. Billy would never hurt anyone, and she’s determined to prove it. Somehow.
Helen is a teacher at the local school. Secretly desperate for a baby, she’s applied for a cohab certificate with her boyfriend, Tom, and is terrified that they won’t get it. The last thing she wants is to have a baby on her own.
These women don’t know it yet, but one of them is about to be violently murdered. Evidence will suggest that she died late at night and that she knew her attacker. It couldn’t have been a man because a CURFEW tag is a solid alibi.
Curfew by Jayne Cowie is a thrilling science fiction fantasy novel. The story in Curfew is one that is told in two timelines, one at present day and the other beginning four weeks earlier. It’s also one that changes the point of view between several of the characters in an alternate reality in Britain.
In the present police have found the body of a murdered woman. Pamela is a detective working the case trying to find out just who was responsible. There shouldn’t be a crime like this as men are all tagged and have to obey a curfew to keep woman safe so they should have known if a man was out after curfew but Pamela is sure this couldn’t have been done by a woman.
Four weeks earlier Sarah was taking her teenage daughter to work to show her the possibilities out there for her as a woman. Sarah works in the tagging center doing her part to keep men in line after her husband was sent to prison for breaking curfew. Sarah’s daughter Cass doesn’t believe the system is fair to men and regularly argues that fact with her Curfew teacher, Ms. Taylor.
Curfew by Jayne Cowie is being marketed as a reverse Handmaid’s Tale and I suppose that’s a fair assessment. I admit I was curious as to a world that the women were in control but what really pulled me into this story and wouldn’t let me go was they mystery within. The author’s style of alluding to what will happen and then going back to build it had the pages turning faster and faster to see how it would all turn out. This was almost a five star but I have to admit I couldn’t help wondering why there wasn’t at least one nice male involved as it seemed to point to them all being horrible which isn’t the case. Otherwise I found this an incredibly addictive read and had a hard time believing it was a debut!
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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About the author:
As an avid reader and life-long writer, Jayne Cowie also enjoys digging in her garden and makes an excellent devil’s food cake. She lives near London with her family.
You can find her on Instagram as @CowieJayne