The Safest Place by Suzanne Bugler

Jane Berry has always dreamed of moving to the country. When she uproots her family and takes them to live in rural paradise, at first it all seems perfect. She has the house and the space she always longed for and is determined to make a better life for herself and her children. But when her marriage comes under pressure the dream starts to fall apart.

A seemingly promising new friendship shows its dark side and Jane finds her life spiralling out of control. Then one night a line is crossed that threatens to ruin her and break apart her family forever.

Jane lives in a small, cramped London house with her husband, David, and their two children, Sam and Ella. She and her husband used to take regular trips to a hotel in the countryside and they fell in love with the village it was in. When Jane’s son, Sam, starts secondary school and starts to withdraw she decides that she wants to move away from London and start a new, idyllic rural life there. David, takes more convincing, but she does all the research and finds the perfect property for them. David is still apprehensive about the two hour commute to his job in London, but he agrees with Jane’s plans because she promises that it will be what is best for the children.

At first, everything is perfect. They enjoy the space and fresh air their new home has to offer. However, things begin to go downhill as David becomes more and more worn out by his commute and is spending less time at home. Jane befriends Melanie, a confident laid-back woman who has a son and daughter the same ages as Sam and Ella. Melanie has a very relaxed parenting style and this begins to rub off on Jane.

David begins to look for flats to rent in London during the week, so he doesn’t have to commute back and forth, but with the mortgage on the new house there is no way they will be able to afford it. He does comes up with a solution, though – he has a friend in London with a spare room he can use a couple of nights a week.


However, this solution isn’t as innocent as it seems. Jane overhears a phone conversation by chance, and then searches through David’s phone to discover he is having an affair. She forces him to move back to London to live with his new girlfriend, reluctantly allowing him to come home at the weekends to see the children.

As her idyllic rural dream crumble, Jane becomes more and more dependent on Melanie, who encourages her to drink bottle after bottle of wine and let Sam have drunken teenage parties. One night changes their friendship forever, when Melanie’s teenage son rapes Jane in her own bedroom. Jane’s life disintegrates as she tries to avoid telling everyone and severs ties with Melanie and her family. However, the secret doesn’t stay secret for long with Facebook and other social media sites and Jane has to turn back to David for help.


Jane wasn’t a very likable character – I found her very selfish, realistically she knew that the move to the country wasn’t right for her family but she was so set on it for herself she forced it upon them all. Even when it all started going wrong she carried on in denial and blamed everyone else for the failure of her dream.

This book wasn’t what I was expecting, from the back cover I thought it would be some sort of horror/thriller type thing, but I still enjoyed it. It showed how easily a seemingly ‘perfect’ life can evaporate with a few wrong decisions.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s