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review 2017-07-12 04:54
The Secrets She Keeps
The Secrets She Keeps - Michael Robotham

By: Michael Robotham 

ISBN: 9781501170317

Publisher: Scribner

Publication Date:  7/11/2017 

Format:  Hardcover 

My Rating: 5 Stars +++

 

An avid Michael Robotham fan since his first book to his latest— and each one in between! The talented Australian crime fiction author returns following Close Your Eyes, landing on my Top Books of 2016, as well as Life or Death on my Top 10 Books of 2015 with his twelveth novel—yet another supercharged smashing hit THE SECRETS SHE KEEPS! 

5 stars +++ Let me say, there are some juicy evil secrets here . . . KILLER! Top Books of 2017. 

Set aside the time (unputdownable). Would make a fabulous movie! A story that will change the way you view other people’s lives. Fitting for today's world of social media. 

Two women. Two lives. Two worlds. Two pregnancies. Two sets of very different secrets. The dangers of envy and lies. 

Character-driven, skillfully-plotted —Robotham pulls you into the dark secret world of two different women in this riveting domestic suspense thriller.

Two pregnant women. Two women from different walks of life. How will their worlds connect?

The search for happiness. Survival. Managing expectations. Wishing for something someone else has.

Agatha watches Meghan from the window of the suburban London grocery store where she works part-time stocking shelves. She is pregnant. Her baby’s father is away. She leads a sad life. What an imagination! 

She desires a perfect life. She wants to be a perfect mother and wife. She will have this world. 

“We need the darkness to appreciate the light, and the bumps along the road to stop us falling asleep at the wheel.”

Meghan is chic, elegant, dazzling. Meghan has it all. Perfect children (Lucy and Lachlan), a handsome husband (sports reporter), Jack; stylish, nice friends, beautiful, plus she writes a mommy blog. She is pregnant. Meghan Shaughnessy is a former journalist but now a super-mom with tons of followers.

One follower is obsessed and carries it further.

Agatha is delighted to discover their two pregnancy dates are within the same month. She must figure out a way to get to know this woman. To get close to her.

What is Agatha's agenda? She is the more mysterious one.

Agatha is not so pretty. People do not notice shelf-stockers.She imagines herself friends with Meg. She soon learns Meg’s habits by the things she buys and shops for in the store. She wants to have a life like Meg. She waits for her man, Hayden to return from the Navy. He does not know she is pregnant. 

Despite her dead-end job and the desperate ordinary life, Agatha has her imagination and her dreams.

However, is Meg’s life as glamorous as Agatha thinks? 

Meg’s marriage is not so perfect. The happy go lucky easy-going Jack has turned into a brittle man whose emotions seem to be wrapped tightly in barbed wire that she cannot hope to unloop them. 

Agatha watches Meg, Jack and the children for hours. She stalks. She has been inside their home. The house next to the train track. She may see more than she wanted to. (loved this part with Jack/Realtor/Agatha).

Megan had an affair with Simon. Secrets to take to the grave. 

 




What is Agatha hiding? What does her Jehovah Witness childhood have to do with the present? The horrors and monsters. She is attracted to people. When it comes to her past, people get some of the truth, some of the time. 

Told in alternating voices, Agatha has a haunting past she hides. Meghan’s perfect life begins to unravel. What unfolds is heart-pounding chilling suspense! They may have more in common than they know. 

A top-notch thriller and a compulsive read. Dark, twisted, and emotionally charged! 

Am always amazed at how a man writes such strong women characters. He gets inside their heads—flawed characters, full of emotion, sprinkled with wit, humor, book titles, movies and lots of heart and intensity. 

The author mentions in the acknowledgments: . . . “The Secrets She Keeps, a novel whose structure, substance, and twin voices are the most ambitious I’ve ever tackled.” 

Congrats! Just when I think the next book cannot possibly be better than the previous, the author manages to create another intelligent award-winning psychological masterpiece!

Not only is Robotham one of the most talented writers, he could be a standup comedian. Hilarious one-liners. 

I love the Joe O’Loughlin series; however, the author’s stand-alone's are to be savored as well. One of the top crime thriller international authors today. As always, glued to the pages. (Your US fans adore you!) 

Looks like we will get to see more of Joe O’Loughlin, with The Other Wife, coming July 2018 (can’t wait). A pre-order for sure! 

Also purchased the audiobook (currently listening). Love narrator, Lucy Price-Lewis delivering a riveting performance. 

For fans of Karin Slaughter, Paula Hawkins, Paul Cleave, and Liane Moriarty. Highly Recommend. 

A special thank you to Scribner and NetGalley for an early reading copy. 

JDCMustReadBooks

 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/04/03/The-Secrets-She-Keeps
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review 2017-06-26 03:24
The Child
The Child - Fiona Barton
ISBN: 978-1101990483
Publisher: Berkley 
Publication Date: 6/27/2017 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 5 Stars 

 

Join Me June 27 Blog Tour Host

Fiona Barton returns following her award-winning debut The Widow, landing on my Top 50 Books of 2016, with a riveting follow-up, THE CHILD — as readers catch up with journalist Kate from the first book.

From love and loss, a character-driven intense psychological suspense tale of three women. Emotional destruction — dark secrets and lies are exposed, a whodunit mystery keeping readers glued the pages to the twisty finale!

You can bury the story . . . but you can’t hide the truth.

“When truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.” — Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Kate Waters, a journalist was bored. She needed a story. She soon finds an intriguing case and she will not stop until she writes the story and solves the mystery.

Headlined “Baby’s Body Found.”

An infant’s skeleton had been unearthed on a building site in Woolwich near London. The police were investigating. No other details. She tore it out of the paper to save for later as she often does when running across a potential story.

Who is the baby and how did it die? Who would bury a baby? How could anyone kill a baby?

When checking with the authorities she found newborns were tricky when it came to DNA especially if they have been underground for years.

Kate loved a glint of something in the dark. Someone to absorb her totally. Something to sink her teeth into. Anything to get her out of the office. She is obsessed with finding out the name of this baby. She wants the story. The Building Site Baby. Who drove someone to bury a baby?

 

 



From alternating POVs, we hear from Kate and the three women: Emma Simmonds, Jude Massingham, and Angela Irving. (enjoyed the way each section is clearly defined).

Angela’s newborn daughter went missing some 28 years earlier. Every March 20 she would cry, thinking of Alice’s birthday. She had less than twenty-four hours with her. The dread would come each year before the baby’s birthday. She could not put the painful memories behind her.

Emma suffers from anxiety and depression from her past. She knows that a secret takes on a life of its own. She must protect her secret. She will keep it safe.

“I’ve always thought that’s a funny saying. Let sleeping dogs lie. Because sleeping dogs always wake up eventually, don’t they?”



Angela soon calls Kate to find out more. Could this be her daughter? She has never given up hope her daughter would one day be found.

Jude had been a single mom in the late seventies trying to forge a new career with a child to look after, but the rent was cheap. It did not matter where she lived, she was caught in her own little world. She threw Jude out of the house when she was sixteen, choosing her boyfriend Will over her daughter.

How does this current tragedy connect these three women? Secrets threaten current lives. A nameless child.

With alternating time periods (2012-2013) with flashbacks to the 70s-80s, Kate continues to dig deep to solve the mystery of the baby. She begins looking at old missing children cases from the 70’s to the mid-1990s. (Loved Kate from The Widow) and her tenacity!

 

 


Barton captivates readers with an enthralling page-turner, as addictive and intense as her debut. How well you know those closest to you?

A well-written slow-burning whodunit suspense mystery with depth, Barton once again shines, using her own career as a journalist to enhance the intensity and mystery of the Building Site Baby. Even though each of the women brings emotion to the story, the real mystery to be uncovered comes from the relationship between Emma and Jude and how this connects with Angela.

Highly recommend, both The Widow and The Child. For fans of Mary Kubica, B.A. Paris, Clare Mackintosh, and Ruth Ware. These talented ladies are TOP-Notch authors and enjoy their writing style.

Often a psychological suspense makes a big impact, even though they may not always be edge-of-your-seat fast paced action. I also enjoyed reading about the inspiration behind the novel.

A strong theme of motherhood with a twisty surprise ending. A mother who has not given up after forty-two years. Readers will be drawn into the lives of each of these women. Savor and unravel the mysterious puzzle, with many red herrings. The tension mounts and all the secrets and lies surface. Enjoy the journey.

Well-crafted, twisty, addictive, and intriguing. Can’t wait to see what comes next. . .

A special thank you to Berkley and NetGalley for an early reading copy.

JDCMustReadBooks

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

About the Author

 

My career has taken some surprising twists and turns over the years. I have been a journalist - senior writer at the Daily Mail, news editor at the Daily Telegraph, and chief reporter at The Mail on Sunday, where I won Reporter of the Year at the National Press Awards, gave up my job to volunteer in Sri Lanka and since 2008, have trained and worked with exiled and threatened journalists all over the world.

But through it all, a story was cooking in my head.

 

The worm of my first book infected me long ago when, as a national newspaper journalist covering notorious crimes and trials, I found myself wondering what the wives of those accused really knew - or allowed themselves to know.

 

It took the liberation of my career change to turn that fascination into a tale of a missing child, narrated by the wife of the man suspected of the crime, the detective leading the hunt, the journalist covering the case and the mother of the victim.

Much to my astonishment and delight, The Widow was published in 36 countries and made the Sunday Times and New York Times Best Seller lists.

 

It gave me the confidence to write a second book ,The Child, in which I return to another story that had intrigued me as a journalist. It begins with the discovery of a newborn's skeleton on a building site. It only makes a paragraph in an evening newspaper but for three women it's impossible to ignore.

 

The Child will be published in June 2017 and I am embarking on my next novel. My husband and I are still living the good life in south-west France, where I am writing in bed, early in the morning when the only distraction is our cockerel, Titch, crowing.  

 

Read More 

 

 

 

 

"The ultimate psychological thriller! Barton carefully unspools this dark, intimate tale of a terrible crime, a stifling marriage, and the lies spouses tell not just to each other, but to themselves in order to make it through. The ending totally blew me away!"  --Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author  

 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/01/03/The-Child
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review 2017-06-25 22:58
Every Last Lie
Every Last Lie - Mary Kubica

By: Mary Kubica 

ISBN: 978-0778319986

Publisher: Park Row Books 

Publication Date: 6/27/2017 

Format: Hardcover 

My Rating: 5 Stars

Featured Friday Read

 

One of my very favorite authors, talented bestselling author, Mary Kubica returns following, the sensational Don’t You Cry, landing on my Top 10 Books of 2016 with yet another 5 star winner: EVERY LAST LIE — a compelling and clever domestic suspense of a young widow trying to make sense of her husband’s untimely death.

A marriage of secrets.

A slow-burning twisty psychological suspense. Heart-pounding, a tale of one woman's desperate search for answers. From an array of emotions —grief, disbelief, anger, fear, and confusion.

What was her husband hiding? Her children are one parent away from being orphaned. A young daughter with nightmares. Was he killed purposefully, intentionally and with malice? Was he the bad man or someone else?

Clara Solberg lives in Chicago suburbs with her husband Nick, a dentist; with children: four-year-old daughter, Maisie, and newborn son, Felix.

A few days after Felix is born, Clara receives the horrific news. Her husband is dead in an automobile accident, yet their daughter is alive, unharmed. He was on his way home from taking his daughter to ballet practice.

Chinese or Mexican? These are the last words Clara would ever exchange with her husband. If she had asked for Mexican, Nick would be home.

A crash on Harvey Road leaves one dead.

An accident implies that something has happened unintentionally and without deliberate cause. Soon Clara begins to suspect foul play was to blame.

She is angry at Nick for leaving her.

Nick is dead. When she is not sad, she is angry. For him being careless. For driving too fast with Maisie in the car. For driving too fast period. For losing control and launching headfirst into a tree.

She hates the tree. The force of the impact wrapped the car around the oak tree on Harvey Road, while Maisie sat in the backseat, on the opposite side, miraculously unharmed.

Reckless driving is to blame. There is no investigation. He was driving too fast. What was going through is mind, minutes before the accident?

Her daughter says there was a bad man in a car, following Maisie and Nick. Who is the bad man that was following Nick and her daughter? Who is the bad man that took her husband? A black car.

Her daughter is afraid. She continues to scream, “the bad man is after us. He’s going to get us.” She fears for her terrorized four-year-old-daughter. She fears for herself and her family.

She replays Maisie’s words over and over in her mind. In no uncertain terms, Maisie has made it clear that Nick’s car accident was no accident at all. The questions continue to run through her mind.

Does Maisie know this bad man? Did the car push Nick from the road? Did her daughter get a glimpse of him before the car went airborne, flying into the tree? Did Nick see the man?

An illusion or a figment of a little girl’s imagination? What if there was another car on the road that fateful afternoon? What didn’t she know about her husband? What secrets was he hiding?

Everyone loved Nick. He had no enemies. Whatever transpired on the street had to be the worst kind of luck, a simple act of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Was someone watching Nick as he crashed?

Why was he going sixty on four-five miles per hour road, that drops to twenty at the bend?

 

How could Maisie be fine and unharmed? Did he take the turn too quickly? A black car? Would he take his own life with his own daughter in the car?

Carla is in denial. She cannot bring herself to tell her daughter her father is gone and not coming back. He is dead.

She must find answers. Financial problems. Who was Melinda Grey?

Drugs, restraining orders, stealing, affairs, suicide?

This cannot be Nick. There were no secrets in their marriage, or was she wrong? She begins to suspect everyone.

Nick’s secrets. How secrets can destroy marriages. Lives. Families. From an unreliable narrator, feelings of paranoia, grief, confusion. The money. She soon learns there is nothing. She needs closure. She hates this feeling of the unknown and uncertainty.

What really happened on Harvey Road?

Clara is overwhelmed by grief, caring for her children, the needs of her aging parents; she’s also unable to sleep. She is coming unhinged. Is she going through the stages of grief? Can she ever reach acceptance?

Skillfully executed, Kubica takes readers on a chilling psychological journey— a woman grief-stricken obsessed with solving the events surrounding her husband’s mysterious death.

A fan of Mary’s very first book and everyone in between, to her latest: EVERY LAST LIE – a domestic suspense which will leave you guessing to the final conclusion, as we hear from POVs of Clara and Nick.

Motherhood is a strong ongoing theme in the novel, both Clara as a mother to Maisie and Felix, as well as Clara’s relationship with her own mother, Louisa. Many of these relationships are strained. An ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions.

As always each of her books is strongly character-driven and psychologically rich. You feel Clara and Nick’s desperation. If only there were no lies. How would the outcome be different?

The feeling of entrapment and coming unhinged is front and center. A twisty suspense of lies and secrets you cannot miss. For fans of B.A. Paris, Ruth Ware, Kimberly Belle, Clare Mackintosh and Fiona Barton My favorites.

Highly recommend all Mary Kubica’s books! Top-rated —she never disappoints her fans and you can always expect to be surprised.

 

A special thank you to Park Row Books and NetGalley for an early reading copy.

 

JDCMustReadBooks

 

Buy the Books

 

 

    

 

 

 

Don’t You Cry
Top Books of 2016

Pretty Baby
Top Books of 2015

The Good Girl
Top Books of 2014

 




 

 

 

About the Author 

 

Mary Kubica is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of four novels, including THE GOOD GIRL, PRETTY BABY, DON’T YOU CRY and EVERY LAST LIE. A former high school history teacher, Mary holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature.

 

She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children, where she enjoys photography, gardening and caring for the animals at a local shelter.  Her first novel THE GOOD GIRL was an Indie Next pick in August of 2014, received a Strand Critics Nomination for Best First Novel and was a nominee in the Goodreads Choice Awards in Debut Goodreads Author and in Mystery & Thriller for 2014.

 

Mary has been described as “a writer of vice-like control,” (Chicago Tribune) and her novels have been praised as “hypnotic” (People) and “thrilling and illuminating” (Los Angeles Times). 

 

She is currently working on her next novel.

 

Photo by Sarah Jastre

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/02/17/Every-Last-Lie
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review 2017-05-27 10:02
In This Moment
In This Moment: A Novel - Karma Brown

By: Karma Brown 

ISBN: 978-0778329916

Publisher: Park Row Books 

Publication Date: 5/30/2017 

Format: Other

My Rating: 4 Stars 

 

Bestselling author Karma Brown returns following The Choices We Make (2016) with an with an equally moving, emotional and riveting follow-up.

IN THIS MOMENT a woman struggles with complexities of tragedy, guilt, and secrets as her life unravel along with those around her.

Meg Pepper is a wife and mom with a real estate career. Married to Ryan, a physician. Daughter Aubrey age fifteen (boyfriend Sam Beckett).

Meg and Aubrey are running late for a dentist appointment and Meg is picking up her daughter at school. She is struggling to balance family and career and has not been completely honest about an event in her past.

They notice Jack (Sam’s twin brother) on the side of the road attempting to get across. His mom is a financial whiz and works at one of Boston’s private equity firms. The boy’s dad Andrew is a stay at home dad, having left a journalism career when the twin boys were born.

Jack has his skateboard on the curb’s edge in one hand waiting for the car coming toward their car to pass so he can cross. His friends are on the other side waiting. Aubrey tells her mom they should let him cross. She waves him across. A life-changing split-second choice.

However, just as she does so, the unthinkable happens. Jack’s body smashes into the windshield of the other car which came out of nowhere, too fast. Aubrey and Meg are mortified. How did this happen?

Sarah Dunn, Audrey and Jack’s history teacher was texting and had to stop too quickly.

However, it is Meg’s guilt, which haunts her.

She was the one who deemed it a safe crossing for this innocent and clearly vulnerable teenager now lying in the road with an injury that will forever change his life. How could she have let the boy cross the street?

The accident turns into a nightmare for all concerned.

Meg is suddenly slammed with a memory from when she was sixteen; from a terrible night where another teen lay bleeding and broken on a road in front of her. She has worked hard not to think about that night because she cannot breathe around her guilt when she does so. But just like that, it was back and she was left sucking in air around the heaviness of the memory—

And like the part she played on that night so long ago, she was the reason Jack Beckett cross the road when he did. It is her fault. With a simple careless wave of her hand, she did this.

Soon they are at the hospital and she faces the family. With her daughter dating the brother, and even though the family may not be close friends they know one another through their children.

Meg becomes overwhelmed with guilt. Her family and Jack and Sam’s family torn apart. Meg becomes close to Andrew as her terrifying dreams continue. The past and present collide. She is thinking about Paige. Her friend from the past. Her face haunts her.

It has been twenty-eight years since that horrible night. Now the dreams surface again. Two days after Ryan slid the engagement ring on her finger. Only a week after her twenty-fifth birthday, when she learned her mom had cancer. Ryan in pre-med. A woman who had to grow up too fast. A sister who had to take care of her little brother and her dad.

Meg throws herself into helping the family and drawing closer to Andrew. Shutting out her own family in the process, especially her own husband. He knows the truth about the accident long ago, but he has never understood why she holds herself responsible. She carries it inside. She is spiraling out of control.

Andrew turns to Meg for support, and the two bond over the tragedy, putting at risk her marriage, family and her own moral compass.

Will these two families ever be the same?

As the past secrets and guilt collide with the present, Meg is at her breaking point. Emotional and heartbreaking, a picture-perfect life comes shattering apart in the blink of an eye. A wife and mother striving for perfection and balance with personal, career, and family.

She is searching for answers yet she cannot trust herself, to be honest through her grief with the weight from the accident of long ago and the one in the present.

Once again, Brown delves deep, exploring the intense emotions and pressure of guilt, grief, parenting, marriage, accountability, and responsibility. However, in the end, family comes first and that has to take top priority. If we let that slide, all will begin to unravel.

Brown has proven herself a strong voice representing the trials of the modern-day contemporary woman. I enjoyed reading about the inspiration behind the novel. Publishers Weekly interview. Spotlight on Karma Brown.

A cautionary tale. This scenario could happen to anyone. My heart went out to Meg and the author does an exceptional job with the character development.

If you have read Karma’s previous books, she has a way with domestic suspense, tragedy, emotion, grief and aftermath – which hits on every cylinder. She holds nothing back and you get inside her character’s heads. You feel the emotions. Their desperation. Their vulnerabilities. The character’s emotions are real, heartbreaking, raw, and painful.

The past tragedy and present storyline enhanced the overall tension and suspense, keeping you glued to the pages while demonstrating how guilt can hold you down and shape your life years later.

For today’s contemporary woman who sometimes strives too hard to be perfect. Thought-provoking in our fast and furious world today. Learning to forgive yourself in order to move on with your life.

For fans of Amy Hatvany, Jodi Picoult, Diane Chamberlain, Liane Moriarty, Karen White, Heather Gudenkauf, Sarah Pekkanen, and T. Greenwood.

Highly recommend!

A special thank you to Park Row Books and NetGalley for an early reading copy.

JDCMustReadBooks

 



On a side note: This road crossing fiasco is a real problem here. I walk everywhere in the downtown urban area of West Palm Beach and there are two major crossings which are quite busy from my apartment. A crossing with four busy lanes to the market and shops and no way around it. The only route. Many times a car in one lane will stop to allow you to pass, at the crossing (no light here).

However, you cannot trust this, just as the book outlines— because the person in the other lane may not stop and the speed here is very fast. This is quite dangerous since a large number of elderly seniors live downtown, and walk to the store along this route. They are already quite unsteady in their walkers, wheelchairs, and scooters. I cringe each time I see this happen, holding my breath.

These elderly folks are like in their late 70s-90s and still trying to live independently in this crazy screwed up health care system of ours, which offer little or no support for long-term skilled nursing. (many of them living in my building).

When this happens to me, I motion for the car to pass along. Nice for them to make the gesture; however, a risk as the author outlines. Too much room for error when you cannot judge if the car in the other lanes will stop. In addition, we soon will have a train going 80mph at this same intersection with the station located here, with 40 stops a day coming mid-summer, so let’s hope they build an overpass or some alternative for all the S. Florida seniors. (myself included since I fall into this newfound category).

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/02/02/In-This-Moment
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review 2017-05-14 07:21
Woman No. 17
Woman No. 17 - Edan Lepucki

By:  Edan Lepucki 

ISBN: 9781101904251

Publisher: Crown 

Publication Date: 5/9/2017 

Format: 9781101904251

My Rating:  4.5 Stars

 

Edan Lepucki returns following California with her latest WOMAN NO.17 – a cleverly written twisty contemporary of motherhood, womanhood, relationships, and identity.

Infused with art in many forms, a web of deceit, dark and witty — a sinister look into a Hollywood family and complex relationships. When things are not always as they appear.

Think a "helicopter" insecure mom with a past; an impersonator, selective mutism, alcoholism, childhood traumas, a revealing photograph, narcissistic behavior, self-sabotage, social media (Twitter) obsession, time, age, a love triangle, and a bunny.

However, this is no typical “Fatal Attraction” . . . A modern contemporary saga: deeper, absorbing, and entertaining. No boiled bunny; however, a floating Peter Rabbit bunny.

An emotional powerhouse of a novel!

Being a child, daughter, and mother is painful." A burden. Told from different perspectives.

Set in Hollywood Hills, a part of the Santa Monica Mountains; a hillside neighborhood of the central region of the city of Los Angeles, California— Lady Daniels is married to Karl, a rich guy who appears to love his family and has given her the life she never had previously. Lady has not always had it so glamorous and able to live this lifestyle.

As we revisit the past, Lady was formerly married to a no-good bum, jack-ass Marcus. None of her girlfriends or anyone liked him. She gets pregnant and ready to have an abortion years earlier and Marcus wants her to keep the baby. Before their son, Seth is even a toddler, Marcus leaves with a little help and financial incentive from Lady’s mom.

Lady hated her mom. Vicious and gorgeous. They had not spoken in twenty years. A love/hate relationship. As a single mom, Lady raised her son, Seth, barely making ends meet. She is protective of him. He never speaks. Marcus never knew about his selective mutism. Then Karl comes along and they marry and are raising son Devin (age two) and Seth. He is a good father to both boys.

As the book opens, Seth is now nineteen, and Devin is a toddler. Devin is a constant chatterbox and talks non-stop, unlike his brother. Seth does not speak and talks via his iPhone, sign language, social media, and letters.

Lady and Karl have an argument regarding an incident about her son Seth. She asks Karl to leave for a trial separation; however, they have a unique relationship and still see one another. Lady does not know what she wants. She is very confused and troubled.

Lady had written an essay in Real Simple about the strains of parenting a mute child After it went viral, she landed a book contract to expand on the subject.

In her forties, she decides to hire a nanny to help take care of Devin, so she could spend her time writing. However, she goes to coffee shops among other things and never writes. She procrastinates and overthinks everything.

She hires a twenty-two-year-old girl, called “S”. S is not her real name. She connects with Lady and Devin. Immediately, Lady hires her without even doing a background check. She moves into the cottage.

Lady is needy and in desperate need of companionship. She makes crazy poor choices. She pushes Karl away, and overprotective with Seth, and does not have the patience for Devin. However, she and S soon become friends. Even though they have a twenty-year-age difference, the two have many things in common. Mainly their dysfunctional overbearing mothers. (and, Seth). The claws come out.

As the book moves on, we hear from Lady and S. We know early on, S has something up her sleeve. Lady has a past involving a photograph called Woman No. 17, taken by her sister-in-law, and nemesis, Kit. How will these three connect? (Lots of triangles in the book).

S begins working on a secretive art project and in the meantime, she becomes closer to Seth. (before/after) in reverse. They connect in more ways than none. He is working on a film plus much more. He also is a little naughty. S loves to drink as well as Lady. Lady is always hungry.

Readers learn more about Lady’s past and S’s family. Seth is mysterious with a secretive side. Lady thinks about Marco and wants him to meet (their) son. Karl is trying to get back together. Marcus is curious about his dad. Lady and S have their own secrets.

Stop. Drop. Dead. Private signs.

Twitter: @Sethconscious and @muffinbuffin41. Crazy action going on here.

Seth is a teen boy. Lady Daniel’s baby boy. He was like a wild animal, rarely seen and barely understood. He has selective mutism. Was Seth a skilled liar? Dangerous? S and Seth are both artists.

With all the drama and the deception, there are so many funny hilarious moments. One of my favorites one-liners, among many:

“Mommy,” Devin said, finally tearing himself away from the screen. “You done with your dog hair?”
I laughed and wiped my face with my sleeve. “Hair of the dog, baby."
"And, yes, I finished it. Go back to watching your show now. Mommy’s all right.”



Triangles: Seth/Lady/S, Marco/Karl/Lady, Lady/Marco/Kit, Seth/Kit/S, (Sure I am leaving out more).

A woman saddled with secrets. Guilt. Betrayal. A mother who straddles between love and doubt. A collision course. Two complex women. Secrets and lies. Lady is not as put together as she would like others to believe. WOMAN NO. 17 would make an interesting movie. (Very LA)

 



The author skillfully crafts complexities of life with a twist. A compelling portrait of motherhood. WOMAN NO. 17 is like nothing you will ever read. It is unique. The author is talented and delves into the human psyche. With flawed characters, written with a deep understanding of mothers, daughters, sons.

The best description (bullseye) and an accurate summary of the book (great review):

. . . “Despite the hint of deceit and scent of illicit canoodling in the air, Lepucki doesn’t appear to be interested in writing a trashy noir cum sly bodice-ripper, though some of the sexy scenes do get a pinch, well, rough. Pretty early on, it’s clear that she’s experimenting with exploring something deeper. Mainly: what it means to be a needy, vulnerable, passionate, discarded lover,
wife, daughter, and mother.” . . .

“Woman No. 17” is structured like a classic she-said, she-said. In odd-numbered chapters, we hear about events from Lady’s perspective —
and the scoop ain’t pretty. " . . .
San Francisco Chronicle.



Like the book based, mini- TV series, Big Little Lies, there is a façade. Twisted secrets. Friendships. Motherhood. Relationships. She was poor, lonely, and single when Lady met Karl. Did he ever really know the real Lady? Lady is coming unglued and her life is unraveling. Self-sabotage. The haunting photo.

Gripping. Provocative. Thought-provoking, and yet frustrating.

The book raises big questions about identity, ethics, art, parenthood, relationships, motherhood, social media and our modern digital age. A mix of intriguing, stimulating, unpredictable, mysterious, and utterly engaging.

I hit the literary jack box: I scored an electronic early reading copy from NetGalley, and granted an early print book from LibraryThing Early Reviewers, and purchased the audiobook, which sealed the deal!

My favorite narrator is Cassandra Campbell. I pretty much pre-order every book she narrates. Her voice is calming and soothing. She was a perfect Lady and Devin. Phoebe Strole was well-suited for the younger S! 11 hrs and 46 mins. Kept me entertained for days!

Ironically, I had just finished The Scattering (Strole) and The Book of Summer (Campbell) performing and directly afterward got to hear them both as a duo team.

Looking forward to reading more from Lepucki. Her writing is inventive, unique, sharp, fascinating, dark, mysterious and witty. I found myself dying to get back to the book. It was addictive. Strongly reminded of Ellen Meister’s The Other Life with the art connection, humor, and an honest look at the innermost thoughts of struggling women.

A special thank you to Crown, LibraryThing Early Reviewers, and NetGalley for an early reading copy.

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/01/01/Woman-No-17
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