Book Review: In Office Hours

In Office Hours by Lucy Kellaway

The blurb: Stella Bradberry and Bella Chambers work at the same high-achieving, high-end London firm. Bella is a pretty, young single mum, but an assistant to men with half her smarts. Stella, a go-getting, multi-tasking mother of two, has a seat on the board firmly in her sights.

But then these two sharp, intelligent women do something rash: they embark on affairs with male colleagues they wouldn’t look twice at outside work. Suddenly, both are telling lies to friends, loved ones and workmates. In the grip of passions they cannot, nor wish to, control, they carelessly break all the rules, sabotaging friendships and careers.

They’ve risked their livelihoods for love. But ending an affair is always harder than beginning one . . .

My review: I am struggling with this book to find something nice to say, the characters are for me almost 100% vile. Bar Bella, who I like but wish had a little more integrity.

Right so from a less passionate point of view. i have read this for our book club and I can see why it’s a seminal book in the women’s fiction genre, it’s clever, intense and causes a strong reaction with almost everyone who reads it. It’s like watching a car crash, you want to look away but you don’t want too but in the end I had too. It was too much. Unlike other books that have that ‘don’t do it’ edge to them, for instance The Mistress’s Revenge where I didn’t dare not watch the events unfold, this book became so distasteful, primarily due to a lack of connection with the characters, that I dreaded having to pick it up. I felt genuinely depressed after every read. The characters dependency on each other was nauseating and I really wanted there to be a strong woman in it, that didn’t feel worthless.

So whilst I can appreciate the cleverness in creating such a strong reaction for me I don’t read to be depressed. There were no glimmers of happiness here.

2 out of 10 stars **

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