book reviews

Book Review: The Rules of Backyard Croquet

The Rules of Backyard Croquet
Author: Sunni Overend
Published: February 2018
Publisher: Harper Collins
My Rating: 4 / 5


All’s fair in love and couture

Disgraced fashion prodigy Apple March has gone into hiding, concealing herself within the cashmere and silk folds of a formerly grand fashion boutique – the hanging of blouses and handling of difficult patrons now her only concerns.

But when her sister Poppy needs a wedding dress, old passions are reignited… along with threats from her past.


Sassy, sophisticated, and a little bit quirky are three things that come to mind after reading The Rules of Backyard Croquet by Sunni Overend.

Sunni dazzled the publishing world with her debut novel The Dangers of Truffle Hunting in 2017, and her follow up will no doubt do the same.

The Rules of Backyard Croquet is the story of one of the best named characters in the history of literature* – Apple March. Apple has settled herself into life. Settled being the operative word. She is hiding away as a retail assistant in a high-end boutique, successfully concealing the fact that she was once one of the most promising names in fashion design. But that was her old life, and Apple is quite happy not venturing back into it. That is until her sister Poppy begs her to make her a wedding dress. Reluctantly, Apple agrees and is drawn back into the world of fashion along with all it’s pretentiousness, sexiness, fame, and people she shouldn’t be falling in love with.

Sunni Overend has excelled in creating a character such as Apple. She is everything you want in a protagonist. She’s stubborn, sensitive, passionate, endearing, naive, and there are times when you just want to bash her over the head with a croquet mallet. But in the end, you can’t help but adore her and root for her right until the end. And I just loved Apple sister Poppy, and their quirky mother Ginny.

I also loved how well Sunni builds the world of the fashion industry. It’s everything you imagine – the giltz, the glam, the champagne, the extravagance, and yet an underlying passion that is driven by hard work and belief. It makes you realise somethings are just as they seem, others perhaps not. The dialogue also deserves a mention. It’s whip-smart, funny, and perfectly fitting.

I did find the beginning a little slow, but once I understood Apple’s motivations, the pace picked up and I was hooked.

The Rules of Backyard Croquet doesn’t pretend to be anything it isn’t. What it is, is a fun, sassy read that will take you on a roller coaster of emotions; an outrageous ride you will thoroughly enjoy.

Available now from all good bookstores, and online.


*This may just be my opinion