Gather round kids, I’ve got a little tale to weave for you:
Everyone, everywhere who has ever hosted Thanksgiving: Christina, don’t bite off more than you can chew. We know you cook and entertain, but a whole Thanksgiving is kind of a different bird (PUN INTENDED PEOPLE). It might be stressful.
Me: BAH, *me in my infinite wisdom of hosting an event I’ve never hosted before*. I’ve done Friendsgiving (which was a POT. LUCK.) and I cook all the time, like you said. This wont be so hard, you’re making a mountain out of a mole hill.
Me (after going to my first grocery store):
SO, long story short. My bad for missing the “Food Friday” post. I do have a recipe to put up that I’m going to get written and scheduled for Friday so keep an eye out! In the meantime, as I prepare for Thanksgiving I thought I’d bring y’all a review for another one of my forever backlogged books!
It’s kind of a tale as old as time isn’t it? Girl meets the perfect guy. Girl and guy fall in love. Girl meets guy’s mother. Girl and guys’ mom decidedly do NOT fall in love and madness ensues. The “monster-in-law” trope is one that I’ve seen numerous times. I’ve seen it done well and I’ve seen it done poorly. Right out of the gate though, I want to note that in writing this review I’m thinking to myself “you know what I haven’t seen before?” Petty, mean and spiteful father-in-laws. Just saying that men can be just as petty and awful as women, I’d like to see one of those.
Anyway, turns out, this is exactly our MC Emily’s life! When she meets the handsome and charming Adam at a work event it seems like fate has intervened in her life. He’s everything she could’ve ever wanted in a partner: attentive, loving, and you know… interested. As Emily and Adam’s relationship progresses they hit all the major milestones quickly, including being introduced to his mother. Except, where Emily was hoping for a “second mom” of sorts, what she got was the Wicked Witch of the West.
There’s something about your mother’s voice that nobody else can replicate. That takes you back to school, when you were little and waiting in the nurse’s office for her to come and pick you up.
As Emily and Adam’s relationship continues to progress, it seems like Emily is the only one that sees the wickedness within her mother-in-law Pammie. As the events pile one on top of the other and as Pammie continues to gaslight Emily with Olympic level skill she begins to think maybe she is the problem, maybe she really is going crazy. However, as Pammie and Emily’s story lines collapse upon one another even more questions arise. What did happen to Adam’s ex-girlfriend? Was her death really just a horrible medical mishap? Or…did Pammie really love her as much as she says she did?
She’d become a master of deception, subtly changing her demeanor, prowess, and even her voice, I’d noticed, when he was around.
When you’re writing a trope that’s been done over and over again, I personally think you’ve really got to bring something truly original to the table. For me, I felt like I had this one all parsed out from the get-go. My biggest gripe here is probably in Emily herself. [As I’ve said 7 billion times] I don’t need likable characters but I at least want them to be interesting. Emily was neither interesting nor likable. She spent nearly the entirety of this book whining incessantly about everything while doing nothing (actively) to change her situation. I consistently found myself thinking “oh my god, come on girl, this is half your own damn fault”. Maybe it’s just me, but people who complain and then do nothing to change what they’re complaining about are the worst.
What I will say, was that while a good portion of this mystery was a bit predictable the ending was my favorite part. I found the majority of the read to be a bit slow and redundant. A lot of “wahh, my life sucks my MIL doesn’t love me” and then “oh look, Pammie is gas-lighting Emily again”. However, when we did get to the final twists and turns in the end it was really the only time I found any of the characters particularly likable. I did however feel like the ending could’ve been achieved without making the characters so consistently unlikable. All in all, this one wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t great either. I’d put it right in the middle with “yes, this was entertaining but no I didn’t love it”.
Suggested For: Slow moving mysteries, fans of the “evil mother-in-law” trope.
Music Mood: Mountains by Moontricks
Have you read The Other Woman? If so, what did you think? What tropes are you tired of seeing done over and over? Drop me a note in the comments and let me know!