“Still, the thing lurks in the corners of my mind, that squat little beast called memory, its sticky fingers covering everything with a thin layer of slime.”
*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Bookouture in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***
I have seen a lot of positive reviews about The Stepmother and that was why I wanted to read this book by Claire Seeber in the first place, but unfortunately I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. In fact, I struggled to get into the story at first. The pace is quite slow in the beginning and I had a hard time figuring out what the story was really about; the whole mystery around Jeanie’s secrets and how this was dragged out was starting to get annoying instead of intriguing. That might just be because I felt a strong dislike for the main character Jeanie in the first place (and her new family for that matter), but in general I had a hard time connecting to the story and my feelings for Jeanie definitely didn’t make it easier to enjoy this book. What I did like about The Stepmother is that it reversed the roles of the typical ‘evil stepmother’ plot. I could really appreciate that and made this story a lot more original. The pace also picked up later on and I definitely didn’t see most of the plot twists coming. I did feel that while the first part of the story was almost uneventful, there was almost too much information squeezed into the final part of the story. It made the revelations feel less important, which is a shame because some of the twists were without doubt a huge surprise. All in all not the best psychogical thriller I’ve read this year, but I guess I will give it the benefit of the doubt.
Jeanie can’t believe her luck when she meets Matthew and they get married not long after. She thinks she has gotten a second chance for both her and her son Frank, being able to start over after all that happened… But her new fairytale life doesn’t seem to be so perfect after all. Both Jeanie and Matthew have teenage children from previous relationships, and it is not easy to raise a blended family under one roof. Especially since Matthew’s ex-wife seems to have left her mark everywhere in the house Jeanie now tries to call her home… To make things worse, Jeanie’s step-daughter Scarlett rejects her and the terrible secret Jeanie is hiding is threatening to destroy her new marriage. Someone knows, and that person isn’t about to let go and let Jeanie have her fresh start. But who is behind the threats?
I really wanted to enjoy this book, but unfortunately it took me a long time to get a proper feel for the story. In fact, the first part is mostly uneventful and almost boring, although the pace did pick up later on. The biggest problem I probably had with The Stepmother is the fact that the main character Jeanie is just SO unlikeable. I normally can get over that fact, but since the first part of this story is so character-driven in the first place, it made it really hard to enjoy reading it. The last part of the story was a whole lot more interesting, but there were so many revelations in such a short time that it almost felt like an information dump. I did like the fact that Jeanie wasn’t the typical evil stepmother and the many plot twists were without doubt creative.