Title: the perfect stepmother.

AUTHOR: Karen King.
GENRE: Domestic, Psychological Thriller.
PUBLICATION DATE: June 17th, 2021.
WHERE TO FIND IT

‘I just want to be your friend.’ She smiled at Lily, her dark brown eyes impossibly sincere. ‘And to be a mother to Emma too, of course.’ Her gaze flickered to Lily’s sister, but only Lily saw her expression momentarily change – from warm and loving to something else. Something Lily didn’t trust…

Lily has always had a simple dream: to be happy like her parents were. Content in their sweet suburban home, nothing in life had phased her mother and father, not even when they’d had a ‘surprise’ second child, Emma, nearly twenty years after Lily.

But their love story was cut tragically short, when – after a devastating battle with cancer – Lily’s mother died. Lily was heartbroken, but also desperately worried about her grieving dad, not to mention five-year-old Emma.

So Lily is shocked and concerned when he suddenly decides to remarry, less than a year after her mother’s death. It feels far too soon, and Lily finds herself furious with him – and his new wife, Maria, who can apparently do no wrong. She seems madly in love with Lily’s dad and instantly bonds with Emma.

It’s only Lily who can’t trust her.

Who won’t trust her.

And when Emma goes missing – could Lily be right? What if the greatest danger to them all is the woman now living in their family home?

A totally gripping and unmissable psychological suspense novel about dark family secrets, perfect for fans of Shalini Boland, Claire McGowan and Gone Girl. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for letting me read this book prior to its publication. My opinion is 100% honest, unbiased, and my own.

This is the second book I read from the same author and I really enjoyed it. The premise, the story, the characters… all of that got me intrigued from the beginning and I just had to read more. I have to admit this book has kept me reading until quite late at night, and I used to wake up extra early so I could read a couple of chapters before my day started. Although not perfect, it had all the necessary elements to keep me reading.

This book presents a very interesting debate: can a person atone for the mistakes they committed in the past? Can a person start a fresh new life after something horrible happened in their past? Can society forget and forgive, or is it asking too much? When Maria appears in the lives of Gareth and his family, nobody knows anything about her previous life before she arrived to their town. Why all the secrecy? Is she hiding something? Why is she so obsessed with being the perfect stepmother and being a perfect role model in their town? Mystery is served.

The pace of the story was well done, although sometimes Lily’s words and thoughts felt a bit repetitive. She went on and on about the same topic, and sometimes she started sounding a bit petulant. As for the rest of the characters, well constructed and developed.

The reason I don’t give it five stars is because I guessed one of the major key elements to be in play at the end of the book. To me it was pretty obvious, but I won’t say anything because I don’t want to reveal any spoilers.

Overall, a very good story with the perfect dose of suspense and thrilling elements.

So, for all of that, I give this book… 4 TEA CUPS!

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

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