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The Other Woman: The most breathtaking twist of the year Hardcover – 5 Oct 2017
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Everything that makes for gripping drama. Solid characterisation, emotional depth, a claustrophobic feeling of impending maleficence . . . and a cracking good mystery at its dark heart . . . my best book of 2015 by a mile (Crimesquad)
Wilson shakes and stirs the ingredients into a beautifully written, gripping and haunting mystery novel (Jessica Mann Literary Review)
Perfectly in tune with current tastes (Barry Forshaw Financial Times)
One of our most original and sensitive crime writers (Jake Kerridge Daily Express)
Wilson has always been an acute observer of dysfunctional families, and she writes extremely well (N. J. Cooper Book Oxygen)
A slow-burn story with brilliant characters built up layer by layer and a plot that comes ingeniously together. A great read (The Bookbag)
A really beautifully written and atmospheric family drama-cum-psychological thriller here from Laura Wilson - a highly addictive and often haunting read that is utterly gripping (Liz Loves Books)
She has it all. How far would she go to keep it? A breathtakingly tense thriller from the author of THE WRONG GIRL, about one woman's determination to defend what's hers - and how quickly a straightforward plan can spiral out of control. Perfect for fans of Katerina Diamond's The Secret and Fiona Barton's The Widow.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
But there is a woman out there who finds these letters too much to swallow and for 3 years in a row the letter has been returned saying what a Smug Bitch she is and the latest says she has been having an affair with Leo for 2 years and he will soon leave the Smug Bitch for her. Sophie sets about trying to find this mistress of Leo and finally confronts who she thinks this woman is by inviting her to tea. There is a standoff which results in disastrous consequences.
What follows is a chaotic turn of events which resembles an Ealing comedy and soon Sophie’s ordered beautiful life is crumbing around her ears. I was in turn rooting for her and wanting to see her comeuppance but it is hilarious and gripping at the same time. No one comes out smelling of roses in this book.
In amongst the black comedy and drama, there is a pretty strong message that comes though - that being rich, smug and having it all does not make you popular or happy. I loved it.
The premise is that Sophie, a rich and rather self-indulgent woman, comes to believe that her husband, Leo, is having an affair. After some amateur investigation she is convinced that Jessica is Leo's love interest, and so she invites Jessica to tea at her house with the intention of having it out with her. An argument ensues, Sophie pushes Jessica, Jessica falls and is impaled on a rather unfortunately spikey statue. This all happens early on in the novel. What follows is a hilarious farce in which Sophie has to dispose of Jessica's body (temporarily stored in the chest freezer), her car, handbag etc while dealing with the nosy dog-walker and the parochial vicar who keep popping in, and her senile mother who keeps inconveniently finding things belonging to Jessica and handing them to Sophie in public situations ('Is this yours, dear, or does it belong to that Jessica?' 'What Jessica? I don't know a Jessica.'). It all has a real feel of Fawlty Towers to it (remember 'The Kipper and the Corpse' episode? It's just like that.) and is really quite funny. It's a wonderful picture of middle England (well, Norfolk) and an amateur murderer bungling things while fending off the well-intentioned members of her family. It's hilarious and I like it for that reason, but it's not frightening or horrifying, and for that reason, it doesn't feel like a thriller at all.
I'm not sure I've reached a firm conclusion even after finishing it.
It has an interesting enough set up (and who hasn't rolled their eyes when receiving a round robin Christmas essay from someone you barely know telling you how wonderful their life is?) but as it unfolds you do wonder whether this is all one big send up. As the misery and disasters piles on our heroine (who thanks to being the sender of that previously mentioned round robin letter might not entirely have the reader's sympathy) it straddles a strange line between being quite utterly unbelievable and yet being strangely plausible if you have managed to get lost in the storyline.
It's an interesting read and one I wanted to get to the end of. But I'm not sure it quite convinces wholly on any of the number of books it appears to be trying to be. Not funny enough to succeed as an out and out spoof, but not quite believably dramatic enough to convince as a crime thriller. It's not helped by a rather forced ending, for me. Though I must admit I'm at a loss as to how it could have ended any "better".
An entertaining enough curiosity that nevertheless just falls short of greatness on a number of levels.
Honestly Sophie is a bit of a Stepford Wife. Wonderfully she actually takes her Christmas Round Robin letters seriously and believes that all and sundry are agog for details of her children's achievements. Clearly she is a disaster waiting to happen. Someone out there is waiting to give her her come-uppance. Husband Leo is distracted, impatient and snappy about expenditure. So when a Christmas letter is returned with a rude, cross, anddisturbing message scrawled over it (and haven't we all wanted to do that) - more than once - over three years in fact, it's not too much of a leap to imagine the sender might know something Sophie doesn't about the state of their marriage. Life in the Old Rectory becomes a little less sunny. Sophie, whose exercise regime consists of walking Dexter the dog, jumping to conclusions and lifting her elbow, has to become a detective in her own life.
As the plot unfolds there are surprises and twists that entertain rather than shock but nevertheless this kept me interested until the end. The finale left me slightly quizzy, it was a bit hurried maybe, but I suppose the plot had nowhere else to go. A different style of psychological thriller - kind of crossed with chick lit!
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