Laura Wilson: The Other Woman
Published By: Quercus
Buy It Here: here
What The Blurb Says:
Shortly after Christmas, a message arrives at Sophie’s house, scrawled across her own round robin newsletter: HE’S GOING TO LEAVE YOU. LET’S SEE HOW SMUG YOU ARE THEN, YOU STUPID BITCH. Perhaps she should ignore it, but she ignored the last one. And the one before that. Now it’s time to take action.
But when a simple plan to identify and confront the other woman goes drastically and violently wrong, Sophie must go to extreme lengths to keep her life and her family together – while never letting on her devastating secret.
What I Say:
Trying to decide what to read next can sometimes be overwhelming. Should you read a book you have had on your shelves for ages, or maybe look online to find out what everyone else is reading. Sometimes, it is just as simple that your next read jumps off the shelf and into your hands.
The Other Woman was one of those books.
Sophie Hamilton, and her husband Leo, live the lives that most of us can only dream about. They have a gorgeous house, wonderfully perfect children, a yacht and successful careers.
Sophie sends out an annual Round Robin family newsletter, only this time one is returned with the message:
“He’s going to leave you. Let’s see how smug you are then, you stupid bitch.”
I have to say, initially I didn’t warm to Sophie – her life seemed just a little too perfect and she was one of those Instaperfect People who annoy you, but you can’t help but scroll through all their photos!
The very fact that she had a round robin newsletter was enough to make me wonder whether I could warm to her and read this book! However, this makes Laura’s novel even more beguiling, as in a strange sort of way, I revelled in the fact that Sophie found herself in a situation that was so out of her comfort zone.
What also confused me was that Sophie hid the letter from her husband, Leo. Why didn’t she show him straight away? Why not be upfront about it? Sophie knows that if she shows him, she opens up a whole Pandora’s box of ‘What If’s?”.
If she is right, he could choose to leave her to be with the Other Woman and the comfortable and enviable lifestyle she leads will come crashing down around her ears. If she is wrong, Leo could be so upset with her that he could leave her anyway and she will be in the same predicament.
Plagued by doubts, Sophie sets out to search Leo’s office to try to find some trace of evidence. She finds a tissue with some lipstick on it, but the lipstick is not hers…
To add further suspicion, Sophie’s cleaning lady finds a camisole in the family’s washing that doesn’t belong to anyone. Leo has a flat in London, so Sophie heads there to see if she can find anything else, and is unable to get in as the locks have been changed.
This is why Laura’s novel is so good, because the evidence starts to stack up against Leo so early on. You are convinced that the Other Woman exists, and that Sophie’s desire to uncover Leo’s betrayal is something that we all would do when faced with the prospect of losing the comfort and safety of our home life. Sophie’s dilemma is also more acute because we learn about her unsettled childhood and perhaps her desire to maintain the status quo is a consequence of an unstable upbringing.
As a reader, you really feel Sophie’s sense of bewilderment and sense of disbelief that something like this could possibly happen to her. However, don’t think for one minute that Sophie is to be pitied. She continues living her life as normally as possible, all the time wondering what the hell her husband has been up to. As she says;
“A perfectly ordinary Saturday morning. Except it wasn’t”.
When Sophie makes a second visit to Leo’s flat, a woman emerges, but it is someone who she knows. Her worst fears have been realised, threatening the life she holds dear and the social standing she desperately wants to cling onto.
“Pain, like a block of ice, lodged in her chest. The world slowed, stopped.”
Faced with the prospect of losing everything, Sophie cleverly manipulates the woman she believes to be guilty into coming to meet her. Sophie is clearly the woman with everything to lose, but with a sense of power over her rival, she aims to overwhelm her with her staunch belief in her right to continue to hold onto her husband.
What happens next? As a blogger loyal to her authors, as always, I will simply say, you need to read this book!
I guarantee that you will never be able to guess the chain of events that spiral away from Sophie. She desperately attempts to protect the hilariously awful secret she now has to keep to ensure that everything she holds dear stays the same.
The utter brilliance of this novel is that we see Sophie go into auto pilot, navigating her way through the mundane trivialities of every day life, cooking dinners, dealing with the children and the husband and the dog, all the time knowing exactly what has happened.
As the novel progresses, we watch in horror as Sophie’s life starts to unfurl in front of her, but there was also a part of me that recognised myself! Faced with the dilemmas that Sophie has, I think I would have reacted in much the same way!
The awful truth is that irrespective of what has happened, daily life still goes on, and Sophie has to keep up the facade of fabulousness she has so carefully crafted to ensure that no one suspects anything, even though she might have fallen apart inside.
However, just when you think that you understand everything, Laura plants a massive twist that will knock you sideways and adds a whole other layer to The Other Woman. It at once makes lots of events click into place, but at the same time, like Sophie, realise how many catastrophic choices have been made because of it.
The Other Woman is a fast-paced, clever and refreshingly different novel. It is also at times hilarious, as Sophie struggles to cope to maintain her precious facade. The brilliant twists and turns keeps you on your toes and the genuine horror of the situation pushes you out of your reading comfort zone and you are with Sophie every step of the way. Her nightmare becomes yours, as you do not know what life is going to throw at her next!
I loved it.