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  • Writer's pictureCaitlyn Lynch

Book Review: The Perfect Stepmother by Karen King

Lily’s mother died of cancer only a year ago. When she finds out that her father is not only seeing someone else already, but planning to get married again, Lily is utterly horrified… and even more so when she discovers it’s Maria, a friend who helped Lily’s mother out during her cancer battle. Something about Maria seems off to Lily, and when Lily’s little sister Emma vanishes, Lily just knows Maria is at the bottom of it.

Every now and again I come across a book with a protagonist so utterly insufferable, I just want them to be proven wrong about everything. Unfortunately, Lily is one of those characters. She was juvenile and determined to be right, no matter the cost to anyone else. I felt desperately sorry for Maria from the beginning, having to put up with such a self-righteous, entitled little madam hellbent on sabotaging her life, and that feeling only intensified as the truth of Maria’s past was revealed. She’d been through enough, and the worst part was, by the end of the book, even though Lily knew the truth, she still didn’t seem to think Maria actually deserved happiness. I honestly despised Lily, and it’s rare I say that about a book character who’s not clearly intended to be a villain!

The premise was interesting, but the execution left me cold as we repeatedly rehashed Lily’s desire not to have Maria around and Lily continuously searched for justification that Maria was an awful person who didn’t deserve to be happy. By the end of the book, I was gritting my teeth every time the narrative moved from Maria’s POV back to Lily’s, and for that reason I cannot give this more than two stars.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.

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