Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Book Review: Those Other Women

UK cover
By Becky Gulc

‘Poppy's world has been tipped sideways: the husband who never wanted children has betrayed her with her broody best friend.

At least Annalise is on her side. Her new friend is determined to celebrate their freedom from kids, so together they create a Facebook group to meet up with like-minded women, and perhaps vent just a little about smug mummies' privileges at work.

Meanwhile their colleague Frankie would love a night out, away from her darlings - she's not had one this decade and she's heartily sick of being judged by women at the office as well as stay-at-home mums.

Then Poppy and Annalise's group takes on a life of its own and frustrated members start confronting mums like Frankie in the real world. Cafes become battlegrounds, playgrounds become warzones and offices have never been so divided.

A rivalry that was once harmless fun is spiralling out of control.

Because one of their members is a wolf in sheep's clothing. And she has an agenda of her own.’ (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon UK.)

Those Other Women was completely refreshing, modern and engaging from the very beginning.
US print cover
Based on the title alone, I assumed this book would be about fidelity and to be honest, I wondered if I would have read this type of book numerous times before. I was so pleasantly surprised to have it all wrong.

Whilst yes Poppy experiences infidelity, and yes it knocks her for six, the plot doesn’t reside on this for long before the real gist of the story begins. As a new friend/colleague, Annalise has a huge impact on Poppy and she doesn’t let her dwell on what’s happened to her. The pair share a contentment at being non-mothers, and a shared distaste of ‘smug mummies’ who they feel are getting away with and monopolizing everything. Soon this dynamic duo are setting up their own members only Facebook group, NOP, an alternative to MOP, a popular local mum’s Facebook group. Whilst it was maybe innocently set up as a small local online community for those not intending on having children, just to discuss what’s going on locally and connect with like-minded people, it is surely never going to stay this innocent and simple is it? No.

I enjoyed the premise of these Facebook groups as a basis for a novel. I use Facebook, I know these kinds of groups, and the good points and bad points were cleverly written. Whilst our main characters are team NOP, I thought the writing worked well in terms of making me empathize with both groups. And whilst these non-mums and mums often can’t see each other’s viewpoints, I could always see both sides to a story. That felt so important as a reader, as you need to bond with the characters regardless of your own personal circumstances. It helped that it was often supporting characters that were a bit more extreme in their viewpoints, although our main characters also made some poor and hasty decisions at times.

US Kindle cover
The pace worked well for me and I was kept interested throughout, not only in finding out if and how the conflict between NOP and MOP (which becomes very much offline as well as online) would be resolved, but finding out more about our characters; particularly Annalise, as someone we knew little about. A further core character, Frankie, is also not introduced properly to the reader until around the half-way mark, I thought this shift in narrative worked and kept it interesting. There’s a lot going on with the social media groups as a consistent core.

Whilst I thought the big reveal of the ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ could have been more shocking, by this point I knew it wasn’t going to be a real surprising reveal. This didn’t matter overall as there was lots going on elsewhere to keep tensions and intrigue high. I would definitely read more by this author, a great read!

Thanks to Penguin Random House UK for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Nicola Moriarty:


Janine said...

These sound like good books.

Dianna said...

I try to stay away from drama in my real life, but it's fun to read about in books. Would like to read Those Other Women!

Laurie I said...

This sounds good. I like the varied covers.