Allison Dickson: The Other Mrs Miller
Published By: Sphere
Available from all good bookshops from 16th July
What The Blurb Says:
Two women are watching each other.
Phoebe isn’t sure when the car started showing up. At first she put it down to the scandal around her late father, but she’s certain now it’s there for her. What’s interesting about an unhappily married housewife, who barely leaves her house?
Only one knows why.
Every morning, not long before your husband leaves for work, I wait for the blinds beside your front door to twitch. You might think I’m sitting out here waiting to break into your house and add a piece of your life to my collection. Things aren’t quite that simple. It’s not a piece of your life I want.
When a new family move in across the street, it provides Phoebe with a distraction. But with her head turned she’s no longer focused on the woman in the car. And Phoebe really should be, because she’s just waiting for an opportunity to upend Phoebe’s life…
What I Say:
Let’s be clear about this. I was never planning on doing a blog post about The Other Mrs Miller, definitely a tweet review, possibly a video one, and I picked it up on Saturday morning because I was trying to clear my TBR Pile and I liked the look of the story.
Normally, if I intend to write a review, I have a notebook filled with copious notes, pages littered with post its, and a blog post set up and ready.
I am flying by the seat of my pants as I write this review as I can only tell you what my reactions are as I sit here and type!
The thing is, once I picked it up The Other Mrs Miller, I couldn’t put it down because it’s the absolute definition of a page turner, and I wouldn’t be doing my duty as a book blogger if I didn’t recommend it to you! It is such a perfect summer read, and I am not surprised that it has been picked up to be a television series.
It’s the story of Phoebe and Wyatt Miller, who live very comfortably in a beautiful house in an affluent area of Chicago. Their marriage is slowly falling apart, as Phoebe and Wyatt move further away from each other, and is compounded by the fact that they had a stillborn son and are now unable to conceive naturally. Phoebe has had to endure the pain and disappointment of multiple IVF failures, and no longer feels the connection she once had to her husband. While Wyatt has a career as a therapist, Phoebe doesn’t work and is also tainted by the fact that she is the daughter of the businessman Daniel Noble, who has been all over the press and is notorious for his awful treatment of women, so her father’s reputation precedes her.
Bored, listless and bitter at what her life has become, Phoebe spends her days in a drunken haze in her mansion, unable to face being part of the world outside, worried that she will encounter hostility and anger from those who know who her father is. As the days pass, she notices that there is a blue car constantly parked near her house all the time, and that someone seems to be watching her.
When Phoebe tries to tell Wyatt about her concerns, he brushes them aside as the ramblings of his drunken wife, who has far too much time on her hands and is refusing to try and work on their marriage. When a new family called the Napiers move in across the street, Phoebe starts a friendship with the mum, Vicki, and she finally starts to allow herself the luxury of having a friend and realises maybe it is time to start living again. The only problem is that the Napiers have a college age son called Jake, and although Phoebe knows it is wrong on every level, she feels herself attracted to him, and knows from the sideways glances, and things that are not said, that he feels the same way too.
The Napiers might, on the face of it, seem to be the average American family, but as Phoebe gets closer to them, she starts to understand that what you see is not always what you get. Is this all American family as wholesome and naive as they initially seem?
Allison brilliantly shifts the narrative between Phoebe and the occupant of the car, so that we understand not only what has brought the driver to a point in their life where sitting outside Phoebe’s house is the only course of action for them, but that there is a dangerous and unpredictable edge to this person that doesn’t bode well for Phoebe.
As Phoebe and Jake edge ever closer, they make an emotional decision which starts a chain of events that pulls you along at a break neck speed as you hurtle towards plot twist after plot twist, and a series of revelations that will have you flicking back through the pages wondering how on earth you missed them! There are a few plot points that will make you stop and say ‘really?’ but, put those doubts aside and just let yourself get lost in the glorious and unrelenting drama that you cannot help but be caught up in!
There are scenes that you almost have to read through your fingers because they are so tense, where the characters sit in a polite silence because no one wants to be the first one to unleash the reality of what they all know..
The problem with reviewing The Other Mrs Miller is that to tell you anything else that happens will only ruin it for you – and you know me by now- I’m not going to do that!
The Other Mrs Miller is a perfect, fast paced novel, which thrills and shocks you as you turn each page. It is a novel about identity, what family means and how in the most extreme situations, normal people can find it in themselves to do things they would never have thought possible.
Aside from the fact that I really enjoyed it because it is a rattling good read, it also allows us to go behind the curtains of the houses in this privileged road in Lake Forest, and shows us that behind every erratic decision and heated argument, there are real people with lives that have been damaged and changed forever by the actions of others.
The Other Mrs Miller is an unapologetic, full on page turner, perfect for a Summer Read. Let yourself get lost in it, revel in the plot twists and just sit back and enjoy the drama!
Thank you so much to Viola Hayden at Sphere for my gifted copy in exchange for an honest review.