Still reeling from the scandal that devastated her life, single mother Jeanie meets Matthew, a wealthy, divorced father of two teenagers, and finds herself swept away in a whirlwind romance that quickly leads to marriage. Feeling optimistic in their love, Jeanie dreams of blending their families together and living happily ever after… but her step-daughter immediately rejects her and Jeanie’s vision of a happy life seems unlikely to happen. Jeanie begins to feel like an outsider when Matthew’s children are around, and she realizes how little she and Matthew knew about each another before they got married. The one thing she doesn’t want him to know is the secret she’s keeping about her past, but it’s only a matter of time before he finds out because someone has been sending threatening messages to Jeanie, taunting her with their knowledge of the truth. Between that and the strange, frightening things happening at the house, Jeanie’s fairy tale life is quickly becoming a nightmare.
This is a truly fabulous read, guaranteed to hook you immediately. The story is told through the eyes of Jeanie and her younger sister, Marlena. Each have distinct personalities that come through wonderfully in the way each sister tells her side of the story. The characters we see through their eyes come to life not only through the way they’re written, but in how each sister perceives them. Marlena’s responses (spoken or otherwise) to some characters are particularly enjoyable to read, and I often found myself smiling at her no-nonsense attitude towards them.
Rather than a single mysterious element, The Stepmother is comprised of several layers of them. One of my favorite things to do as I read a book is trying to figure out where the story is headed, who the ‘bad guy’ is (if it’s unknown) and why they’re doing what they do. My attempts to do this as I read The Stepmother resulted in glorious failure, for the most part. I did manage to suss out one person/thing, and was feeling fairly pleased with myself until I came to one of several shocking twists near the end. That one little thing I figured out was nothing compared to those explosive revelations.
If you love getting lost in a good psychological thriller, I can’t recommend this one highly enough. Just be sure to set aside plenty of reading time, because this one is damned hard to put down once you get started!
Author: Claire Seeber
Title: The Stepmother
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Published: July 15, 2016 by Bookouture
About the Book
The perfect wife. A fairytale family. Don’t believe your eyes …
Jeanie and Matthew are a happily married couple who both have teenage children from previous relationships.
No one said it would be easy to raise a blended family under one roof but Jeanie and Matthew are strong. They will make it work.
And whilst Jeanie’s step-daughter Scarlett rejects her, Jeanie will just have to try harder to win her over.
But Jeanie has a past. A terrible secret she thought she’d buried a long time ago. And now, it’s coming to the surface, threatening to destroy her new marriage.
Someone is playing a terrifying game on Jeanie and she must put a stop to it once and for all.
After all, a fairytale needs a happy ending … doesn’t it?
A compelling, dark and twisty psychological thriller that will grip fans of Behind Closed Doors, Between You and Me and The Teacher.
About the Author
Claire Seeber has worked in TV, both in front of and behind the camera, written for a range of broadsheets, and is now training to be a counselor. Lullaby, her first novel, was written on a creative writing course at Goldsmiths, and was bought by HarperCollins, which went on to publish four of her novels.
Author photo and bio via Bookouture.