The first is Craig, a young man in his twenties who discovers that he has a two year-old son and also has to contend with his romantic feelings towards his new boss Amisha. The second lead character is Susan, a married woman who has walked out on her overbearing husband and spoilt child to begin a liberating new life on her own in Birmingham.
The novel is divided up into two first-person narratives, alternating between Craig and Susan which keeps the drama character-driven and ensures the reader gets to know the characters inside-out. Both leads are beautifully drawn and complement each other perfectly: Craig is brash whilst Susan is timid, Craig is comfortable with city life whilst Susan is intimidated, Craig is becoming a father whilst Susan withdrawing as a mother. It provides a rich dual narrative and their unlikely friendship is a joy to read about.
D'Souza's other great strength is her affinity with Birmingham (UK) where the novel is set. She joins a host of great Birmingham writers including Iain Grant, Heide Goody and James Brogden who similarly set their novels in England's second city.
In particular, D'Souza focuses on Birmingham's rich park culture, hence the title of the novel. You may have heard that Birmingham has more canals than Venice but it also has more parks than Paris. As such, several prominent scenes take place in well-known Birmingham parks, such as Cannon Hill, Highbury and Moseley Park. As a long-term Birmingham resident, I was fascinated to learn about some of these parks and I will certainly be visiting some soon!
Park Life is a well-crafted, enjoyable read about real people with real problems. I highly recommend it to men or women, particularly those who live in Birmingham.
I would also suggest you visit D'Souza's website which cleverly contains bonus features that do not feature in the novel, namely Susan's first impressions of Birmingham and Craig's fitness regime. Both are worth a read.
In summary, Park Life deserves to be in your life. Available on Kindle, Kobo and other devices.