The Playdate

A Novel

The Playdate

You leave your kids with a friend down the street. Everyone does it. Until the day it goes wrong.


In a quiet London suburb, a group of mothers relies on each other for friendship, favors, and gossip. But some of them shouldn’t be trusted, and others have dark secrets.

When Callie moved into her new neighborhood, she thought it would be easy to fit in. The other parents have been strangely hostile, though, and her frail daughter Rae is finding it impossible to make friends. Suzy, with her rich husband and her three energetic children, has been the only one to reach out, although their friendship has recently felt inexplicably strained. Now the police have suggested that someone dangerous may be living in their neighborhood, and the atmosphere feels even more toxic. Then there’s the matter of Callie’s ex-husband, and the shocking truth behind their divorce . . . a truth that she would do anything to hide.
  • Atria/Emily Bestler Books | 
  • 432 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451656671 | 
  • July 2012
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Playdate includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


For the past few years, Suzy has been the only one in her to reach out to her neighbor, Callie—a single, struggling mother caring for her sickly daughter. Although Suzy lives a seemingly charmed life across the street—with a successful husband, a lovely house, and three children—the two women become fast friends and confidantes. When Callie decides to return to work, it precipitates a series of bizarre and tragic events that reveal the dark secrets of a peaceful London neighborhood and the true identities of the strangers we think of as friends.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. The novel begins with Callie and Suzy at a pond “far from the company of men” (page 2). Considering how the story ends, in what ways is this opening scene ironic? Do you think the friendship between Callie and Suzy was a true friendship? Why or why not?

2. “‘Yes. . . . we’re going to be happy here,’ Allen said, nodding his head. It sounded like an order [Debs] thought.” (page 27) Discuss see more

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About the Author

Louise Millar
Photograph by Steve Millar

Louise Millar

Louise Millar began her journalism career in various music and film magazines and spent seven years at Marie Claire as senior editor and contributing editor. She has written for Mojo, Marie Claire, Red, Psychologies, The Independent, Glamour, and The Guardian, among others. She lives in London with her husband and daughters.