Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.
Ever since the release of The Party, Robyn Harding has been a buzzing name in the thriller-writer world. So many people loved that book – but I was not one of them. Nevertheless, I wanted to give her another shot and see if maybe I would see the spark that everyone else was seeing. Here is my review:
Summary (Goodreads): Frances Metcalfe is struggling to stay afloat.
A stay-at-home mom whose troubled son is her full-time job, she thought that the day he got accepted into the elite Forrester Academy would be the day she started living her life. Overweight, insecure, and lonely, she is desperate to fit into Forrester’s world. But after a disturbing incident at the school leads the other children and their families to ostracize the Metcalfes, she feels more alone than ever before.
Until she meets Kate Randolph.
Kate is everything Frances is not: beautiful, wealthy, powerful, and confident. And for some reason, she’s not interested in being friends with any of the other Forrester moms—only Frances. As the two bond over their disdain of the Forrester snobs and the fierce love they have for their sons, a startling secret threatens to tear them apart…because one of these women is not who she seems. Her real name is Amber Kunick. And she’s a murderer.
The best way to summarize this book is that it is about friendships and past secrets. And I know this sounds intriguing. I mean, it’s what drew me to the story in the first place. And in the beginning, it really was quite good. There was that typical start that I’m noticing in a lot of thrillers, where a woman who feels like she doesn’t belong with other “moms” meets a glamorous “mom” who becomes her best friend. The author also created a good amount of tension that pulled the reader into the story.
But ultimately …. nothing really … happened.
I mean, it was just so predictable. You’ve got these two women who both have “dark secrets” but it is quite obvious from the start who is the more “dangerous” one, just from the way the author relies on overused tropes. Now, I don’t necessarily have a problem with this. It’s a tried-and-tested trope that works so if it ain’t broke, why fix it? But there was nothing unique about the story. There was lack of depth in plot and character interactions, and I didn’t even really like the main characters.
But when I mean nothing happened, I literally mean that NOTHING HAPPENED IN THIS STORY. One character discovers the truth, and when the information gets out …. well, that’s pretty much how the story ends. It just felt like there was all this buildup and it led to pretty much a pointless story. The other character also had a “resolution” of her ghosts but it was quite disappointing; it basically happened in the last 15-20 pages of the book and there was no introspection or depth to it. And I know that the whole point of hyping this character’s past was to make readers suspect her intentions, but it was such a disappointing truth that I felt cheated out of an experience.
I know it seems like I hated this book. But my main problem was just with how things ended. I still think the idea behind the story is very interesting, and it reminded me a lot of the story of Karla Homolka (and that is all I’m going to say because NO SPOILERS). The actual writing of the story was quite good and it was a quick read. However, the ending left me unsatisfied and because the author had so hyped it up with all the tension, I just couldn’t get over the disappointment. For that reason, I’m giving this a 2/5 stars.
Happy reading ~