The Hive by Gill Hornby

By Sydney Loney
As many fortysomething moms waiting for their children in the playground can attest, not much changes from girl to grown-up: There are the same social hierarchies, the same jealous insecurities and the same formidable cliques. At the centre of The Hive is blond, beautiful, bossy Bea — the self-important mom who magically gets everyone around her to do her bidding. The narrative begins when Rachel, recently abandoned by her husband, realizes she has also lost her position as Bea’s best friend and suddenly finds herself observing all the action from the fringes of the playground at pickup. Adjusting to her new status (and dropped from planning committees and spa lunches), she soon strengthens her ties to other outcasts — the indomitable Georgie, desperate-to-be-included Heather and sad, sarcastic Jo, each with her own domestic hardships and relationship hurdles chronicled neatly between 8:45 a.m. drop-off and 3:15 p.m. pickup. Can the women withstand Bea’s passive-aggressive attacks on their characters? And what happens when another queen bee threatens the sanctity of the hive? Told with humour and empathy, the debut novel by Gill Hornby (yes, the sister of novelist Nick Hornby) is a spirited social satire that celebrates both the strengths and weaknesses of female friendships.

The Hive, Gill Hornby, $29. Available at and


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