Never judge a book by its cover.

And never let first impressions cloud your judgement of a lead character.

Especially not gobby, bolshie Jocelyn Jones, who upsets nice-but-a-little-bit-dim Kathleen by muscling in on her exclusive friendship with Adam from the corner sweetshop and making out with Mark, the love of Kathleen’s life.

And, the thing that really gets up Kathleen’s nose: Jocelyn insists on calling her Conky, short for Concorde, because of her ‘stupidly big nose’.

However, Mark is soon history and Kathleen eventually gets a nose job.

In the meantime, the trio, Kathleen, Adam and Jocelyn, become friends for life after an unconventional nativity play goes very wrong.

It’s 1985 and the world is at their feet: Adam dreams of becoming a writer, Jocelyn wants to become a pop star and Kathleen – well, she wants to be an embalmer.

The truth about Jocelyn

Fast forward 30 years and it’s all gone horribly wrong.

Kathleen is borderline alcoholic and Adam knows the truth about Jocelyn.

And Jocelyn?

She’s dead: killed in a fall from a multi-storey block of flats.

The History of Us is a complex, multi-voiced account of three friends who go from having the world at their feet to having the weight of it on their shoulders.

Hidden depths

It’s beautifully written – as you’d expect from a writer of the calibre of multi-award winning writer Jonathan Harvey, whose screen and stage credits include Coronation Street, Gimme Gimme Gimme, and Beautiful Thing.

His characters zing with personality and, with the exception of Adam, (what you see is what you get), all have hidden depths – especially Jocelyn.

And sadnesses.

Again, especially Jocelyn.

This is Harvey’s fourth novel. I’ll definitely be adding the others to my ‘To Be Read’ pile.

Review by Sue Featherstone.

The History of Us is available to buy on Amazon