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 has a unique concept with a female dominated society where men are tagged and have a curfew. The story is told through alternating points-of-view (Sarah, Cass, Helen, Pamela, and Mabel). Pamela, a detective, has her story told in the first person. After the body is found in the beginning of Curfew, the story goes back four weeks. We are introduced to each character and get their backstory. The characters came across caricatures instead of a realistic people. This is especially true of Cass who is seventeen and knows everything (sometimes her behavior seemed more appropriate for someone fourteen). Cass’s character was over-the-top and exaggerated. I wanted well-rounded, realistic characters. Only one character grew or developed by the end of the story, but the growth was not all positive. Most of the women view men as not to be trusted. There are no likeable male characters in the story. The murder is very simple and can easily be solved long before the reveal. The book started out strong with the murder, but I soon found myself bored. I found Curfew to be predictable and the viewpoint too skewed. The man-hating became tiresome after a couple of chapters. Curfew does contain foul language, violence, and intimate situations. By the end of Curfew, I had to wonder if the writer liked men at all. Curfew had a good blurb, but it ended up being a dud.
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