Monday, August 20, 2018

Book Review: The Other Woman

By Jami Deise

Psychological thrillers and chick lit don’t seem to have a lot in common at first glance, but a deeper look reveals that the two genres have many overlapping features. They usually feature female protagonists, and the build from unease to discomfort to terror mimics the build from attraction to complications to true love. One aspect that the genres do not share is that psychological thrillers tend to use heavier language, with lots of details about rainy weather and many heavy interior monologues. Chick lit treads lightly in this department, glancing over details to focus on dialogue and relationships.

In her debut thriller, The Other Woman, author Sandie Jones plays with this expectation, delivering a mystery that’s written in the light touch of a chick lit novel. When Emily meets Adam and quickly falls in love, she has no idea that her biggest rival for his affection is not an old girlfriend, but his mother, Pammie. Widowed at an early age, Pammie clings to Adam in a most dysfunctional way, and Emily is the only one who can see it. When Adam is around, Pammie is as sweet as pie to Emily, but when they’re alone, the cutting remarks begin.

As Emily and Adam head toward marriage, Emily becomes even more determined to beat Pammie and win Adam for herself once and for all. In this way, the book is structured much like a classic love triangle, and some of Pammie’s games are almost funny. At other times, Emily questions her sanity: Could she be the real problem? Maybe she’s just misunderstood Pammie’s attempts at friendship?

There are a few plot holes—for instance, I wondered why Emily didn’t use her cell phone to record Pammie’s insults when they were alone—and a major reveal that Emily sweeps under the rug. Mostly I wondered why Emily, a very likable chick-lit type protagonist with a gay male BFF, an interesting job, and a loving family, wanted to marry into Adam’s dysfunctional family.

I had my predictions about the ending, which Jones pulls off in a way that feels like an earned twist, not a last-minute reveal. And she subtly changes her voice so that when the stakes get higher, the language evolves with it.

The Other Woman is a quick, light page turner that I gulped up in two sittings. It’s highly enjoyable for fans of domestic thrillers, chick lit, and both.

Thanks to Busy Bee PR for the book in exchange for an honest review.


Janine said...

This book sounds like it is going to be really good.

Dianna said...

I had the chance to read the first chapter of this one -- it sounds REALLY good. Hoping to grab it when it's published!