What’s it about?
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?
If it would have been possible I would have read this one in a single day because the story certainly invited me to do so. All the while I was reading The Stepmother I had this uncomfortable feeling, much like Jeanie, about what was going on. And believe me that there really are a lot of strange things happening in Jeanie’s life, which she gets blamed for time and time again.
I felt quite bad for her because she hadn’t had a lot of luck in her life until the day she met Ethan. He really loves her and before you can say the word married she already did and moved in with him. He has 2 children of his own, a boy and a girl and she has one 18-year old boy herself. While at first she thinks she has the perfect life, she comes to the conclusion rather quickly that her new life isn’t exactly working out the way she thought it would be. There are struggles with Ethan, plain public hostility from his daughter Scarlett and he has an ex she feels she can’t compete with. On top of that personal belongings go missing, there are a series of unexplained events and all of it seems aimed at poor Jeanie.
Is someone out to get her because of her past? Her past is a topic that is not explained for a long time but we get the notion that something happened, something bad and she still feels the consequences. Perhaps someone wants to make her pay for her past sins. Or is it someone in her present life who doesn’t want her to be blissfully happy in her new family? Is there someone trying to force her out of the house? Nobody believes her, not her husband nor her sister, and ever so slowly the secrets are revealed and Jeanie starts to unravel. The not knowing was slowly killing me too! Who could be so malicious?!
What I really love about this novel, apart from the non-stop hinting and teasing with secrets and acts of revenge, is that Claire Seeber shows the side of the stepmother in a newly assembled family. Jeanie tries her best, you see all the efforts she makes, she really means well with her new stepchildren, and for once she’s not the stereotypical evil witch in the story. This time we understand firsthand how difficult life of a new stepmother can be. I like this fresh perspective very much.
What, or rather who, I didn’t really like was Ethan, I didn’t really warm up to him from the beginning. He’s not supportive and he calls her names that I felt didn’t show a lot of love. He doesn’t deserve her in my opinion and there’s better than him out there. I also didn’t really find her sister’s story line very captivating, she becomes a little more invested in the end but too little too late. Also there is a lot of tension and suspicion throughout the story but the parts about the missing girl Nasreen which Marlena – a journalist – was investigating didn’t really draw me in.
A good fast-paced psychological thriller, anything but a fairy tale!
I received a free copy of this novel from the publicist via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.