The Other Woman
Rating: 3.75 stars
Psychological thrillers are having a bit of a moment. We have Tana French, Gone Girl, Big Little Lies, Ruth Ware and so on and so forth. Another one to add to that growing list is The Other Woman by Sandie Jones. This is her debut novel. I picked up this book after seeing it on the Reese Witherspoon Hello Sunshine November book club pick of the month website. In many ways, I really enjoyed this book. The main character was fun to follow; I felt for her throughout the book. The antagonist was a formidable force in the book. The twist was unexpected and thrilling.
Emily wasn’t looking for a relationship when she met the handsome, charming Adam. They begin an intense relationship quickly. All is going well until Pammie enter’s the picture. Pammie is the mother of Adam and his younger brother James, and she isn’t going to be replaced as primary woman in Adam’s life without a fight. What start as small snide remarks quickly erupt into actions that leave Emily wondering why she is the only one who can see Pammie is out to get her. Emily is left reeling by this woman who is intent on forcing her and Adam apart by any means necessary.
As this is a psychological thriller, plot is such an important aspect of the book. This one took several chapters to truly ensnare me, but once it did, I was committed. The twist at the end was unexpected without jumping the shark. As soon as everything was revealed, all the pieces fell into place. My biggest critique is that the book would’ve benefitted from one more chapter explaining the resolution before jumping into an epilogue. I ended with some questions that I felt deserved more of an answer. On the one hand, I appreciate this in a psychological thriller. Sometimes things aren’t neatly wrapped up. But in this case, the questions were more about wanting more background information that would’ve cemented the twist completely in my mind. I like how it ended, but it needed a touch more explanation before lurching me into a nice summative epilogue.
A psychological thriller would be nothing without a good, solid manipulative character, and this one delivered on that front. Pammie is a piece of work. Her comments were enough to set my skin crawling and fantasize EXACTLY how I would’ve responded to some of her manipulative statements. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but I will say that Pammie is not the only character that left my scratching my head. I was so so so satisfied when all the questionable behavior and motives were explained. Emily gets put through the ringer in this book. She was a pleasant protagonist to follow. She was flustered without appearing naive. Her behavior made sense and fit with her characterization. As the situation in the book escalated, my empathy for Emily grew and grew.
Overall, this book is a solid 3.75 stars, for me. It would get 4 stars if it had one or two chapters at the end to help solidify the resolution. Final thought: if psychological thrillers are your thing and you’re tired of ones that are heavily centered around law enforcement, give this one a try.