Ally lives with her husband, Tom, and her son, Ben, in Cestrian Park, Chester; it’s a world of verdigris planters, antique French wall clocks, Belfast sinks and Farrow & Ball colour charts. Ally loves it, but at the same time isn't sure she quite belongs there - it's such a long way from where she started out.
Next door live Juno and the half-French Manny, with their two gorgeous teenage daughters, Pascale and Sophie. Juno is beautiful, confident, curious; her household runs with a contented hum, its mechanism lubricated with organic olive oil.
But Juno has suddenly made a surprising decision: she has signed up for a reality TV show, Queen Mum. For two weeks, she will be going to live with another family in another town, while her opposite number will be moving in next door to Ally. Juno is excited; she thinks it will be a ‘fascinating cultural exchange’. Ally isn’t so sure; how will she manage without her best friend? But that isn’t the only reason why she is worried. She doesn’t like change. She has seen too much of it to find it interesting, and she knows from bitter experience how something precious can be lost in a moment.
Queen Mum is a perceptive and timely novel about friendship and love, recklessness and caution, and about how the camera, while it sometimes lies, can also reveal uncomfortable truths.