Book Review: The Mother Next Door by Tara Laskowski
Desperate Housewives meets Big Little Lies in Ivy Woods, an exclusive cul-de-sac where the Ivy Five reign supreme… especially around Halloween, which is the event of the year in Ivy Woods. Newcomer Theresa is eager to fit in, hopeful of being accepted by the Ivy Five… even if she is utterly confused by the fact that there seem to be only four of them. There’s some secret regarding the absent fifth, and nobody seems to want to talk about it. Theresa’s got her own secrets, though, and she doesn’t dare probe too deeply, or queen bee Kendra will cut her dead. Possibly literally…
Told in alternating POV chapters from Theresa and Kendra, with a third intermittent point of view from the antagonist who wants to see the Ivy Five brought low, this takes a while to get going. The secret the Ivy Hive are protecting is fifteen years old, and it takes a long time for it to be revealed that there’s a dead body in their wake, and then even longer to reveal the victim’s connection to Theresa.
I suspected fairly early on who the antagonist would turn out to be, though I didn’t understand all the connections until late on; it’s a pretty complicated tangled web of illicit affairs and uncertain parentage. I felt a little let down by Theresa who seemed to be building herself up as someone with Deep Dark Secrets in her past, all of which were very much the kind of things thousands of other people have in their pasts. Kendra was a lot more interesting, and I wanted more of the backstory which led her to act in the way she did; that felt skimped on. We were only told about her reactions and a very brief glimpse of her feelings, but there must have been more that led up to the tragedy and I felt like we missed out on that.
An intriguing read, but it is slow to start and then rushed over some of the parts I was most interested in. I’ll give it four stars.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.