I’m over the moon to be taking part in the blog tour for Heleen Kist’s second novel, “Stay Mad, Sweetheart”. A cracking read that touched all my emotions, this one will stay with me for a long time!
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
THERE’S A FINE LINE BETWEEN INNOCENCE AND GUILT. AN EVEN FINER LINE BETWEEN JUSTICE AND REVENGE.
Data scientist Laura prefers the company of her books to the real world – let alone that cesspit online. But when her best friend Emily becomes the victim of horrific cyberbullying, she makes it her all-engulfing mission to track down the worst culprits.
Petite corporate financier Suki is about to outshine the stupid boys at her firm: she’s leading the acquisition of Edinburgh’s most exciting start-up. If only she could get its brilliant, but distracted, co-founder Laura to engage.
Event planner Claire is left to salvage the start-up’s annual conference after her colleague Emily fails to return to work. She’s determined to get a promotion out of it, but her boss isn’t playing ball.
As the women’s paths intertwine, the insidious discrimination they each face comes to light. Emboldened by Emily’s tragic experience, they join forces to plot the downfall of all those who’ve wronged them.
But with emotions running high, will the punishments fit the crimes?
A pacy suspense fiction with its feet firmly in the #MeToo era. 9 to 5 meets Suits with a dash of Black Mirror.
While not my usual hard boiled crime fiction , I was intrigued to read the second book from author Heleen Kist, after devouring her debut novel In Servitude. (click the link to check out my review)
Stay Mad, Sweetheart is a contemporary feminist novel which packs an almighty punch. While not crime fiction, the subject matter of the book is a crime and a moral crime too. When it becomes clear that one of the women has been sexually assaulted by a famous Hollywood star, the onslaught of abuse leads her to take drastic action.
The book focuses on four women, Emily, Laura, Claire and Suki and explores the very real every day sexism and discrimination that takes place daily in the work place. It takes no prisoners and it pulls no punches. It is entirely topical and hard hitting; the author’s clever narrative addresses some of the stigma and attitudes towards women who have been subject to sexual assault. It is frighteningly accurate in its portrayal of the experience of the victim and how their life is torn apart by a media feeding frenzy, how media can be judge, jury and executioner in cases such as this; exploring the gender stereotypes and discrimination and bullying in the workplace that still happens no matter how far we think we have come. The vicious onslaught of social media is also laid bare and it will etch itself in your brain as you read. It’s a powerful, feminist narrative evidencing through dialogue the everyday sexism and patriarchy that takes place in the workforce and Heleen Kist demonstrates the very real discrimination that some women still face each day.
As well as providing a strong social commentary, Heleen Kist also creates a perfect sense of place in her writing, taking the reader on a virtual tour of Edinburgh. Alongside this she has created some extremely strong characters, all of whom impact on the reader. This is one book that engaged and enraged me. I got angry on behalf of the characters who were treated like second class citizens because of their gender or ethnicity. Don’t be put off by the serious nature of the topic. Heleen also manages to bring a lighter touch to her writing as three of the women decide to stand up and take action against the men who treat them like 2nd class citizens. She does this by combining humour with a serious message and I’m sure that I’ll not be the only one standing punching my fists in the air as the book progresses.
This is a worthy follow up to Heleen’s first novel and she has most definitely proven that she is a writer to be watching!
Don’t forget to check out what the other bloggers have been saying:
Stay Mad, Sweetheart is available to purchase from:
and all good bookstores of course!
About the author:
Heleen Kist has been fondled, patronised and ordered to smile by random men. So she wrote ‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’, a feminist tale of revenge. Whilst her professional knowledge of technology start-ups fed the novel’s setting, its theme of harassment and workplace discrimination required no research: it is familiar to all women.
Heleen was chosen as an up and coming new author at Bloody Scotland 2018. Her first novel, ‘In Servitude’ won the silver medal for Best European Fiction at the Independent Publishers Book Awards in the USA and was shortlisted for The Selfies awarded at London Book Fair.
A Dutch strategy consultant living in Glasgow and married to a Scotsman, she’s raising their son to be a good man and their daughter to kick ass.