Book review: People Like Her by Ellery Lloyd

I hadn’t heard of Ellery Lloyd before but loved the sound of this very contemporary psychological suspense.

Followed by millions. Hunted by one.

THE INFLUENCER 
I need to be liked. It’s my job. My personal brand is built on honesty. 
Family, friendship, cheering other mothers on when things get tough.
Doing it together – telling it like it really is – that’s what @the_Mamabare is all about. 

THE HUSBAND 
I just want a quiet life. Her adoring followers feel like they understand my wife.
My wife certainly understands them. 
I know she is beautiful, smart, ambitious, charming. 
But she’s also a liar. 

THE FOLLOWER 
I want revenge. The filter’s about to drop. 
I’ve been watching you and your family very closely. 
You’ve ruined my life. 
Now I’m going to ruin yours.

This story pulled me in from the first page. The characterisation was sooo good and I was fascinated by their lives which were in some ways transparent and in others very private. Emmy’s a social media influencer who’s built up a huge following among young parents as Mamabear, a very relatable mum who inspires other young parents. Her social media life is a business that’s grown out of her journalism background as opportunities in print journalism dried up rather than a depiction of their real lives but as readers we have access to another viewpoint so are constantly aware that someone out there has a grudge against Emmy and is out to destroy her.

I loved the way the author shows how Emmy in particular is caught between her two lives – the fictional one she presents to her followers and her real one in which she’s a much more organised, together person but has problems she couldn’t share online without compromising her image. As we meet her mother and glimpse experiences from her childhood we start to see where this chameleon-like behaviour comes from.

I especially liked author Dan’s narrative. He admires his wife’s ability to play the social media game which provides them with a generous income, but he becomes increasingly concerned about the consequences of living in the social media spotlight, and the effect this could have on their children. He finds the other influencers shallow and potentially threatening and is baffled by his wife’s ability to ignore this and shrug off comments by trolls. And he also knows that one unpopular post could bring everything crashing down.

The tension soars as it becomes clear that one of Emmy’s haters has got access to the family’s real life as well as the one she posts about, and is also playing with the truth, making the couple fear for their little girl’s safety.

This was such a clever book and a perfect contemporary read showing the lure and pitfalls of life as an influencer. I devoured it! Although the change in direction for one of the characters at the end required a bit of suspension of disbelief, I really enjoyed the way the story was teased out and would recommend this to anyone who enjoys psychological suspense. You won’t regret it!

Throughout I found myself wondering who Ellery Lloyd was and why I hadn’t heard of him or her before. It turns out Ellery Lloyd is the pseudonym for husband and wife team Collette Lyons and Paul Vlitos. Collette’s a former journalist and editor, has been content director of Elle and editorial director at Soho House, while Paul’s an author of two previous novels and programme director of English literature with creative writing at the University of Surrey.

People Like Her will be published by Pan Macmillan on 21 January.

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