Review: The Stepmother by Claire Seeber

The Stepmother: A gripping psychological thriller with a killer twist - Claire Seeber

Published by: Bookouture (15th July 2016)

 

ISBN: 9781786810496

 

Source: NetGalley

 

Rating: 4*

 

Synopsis:

The perfect wife. A fairytale family. Don’t believe your eyes…

Jeanie and Matthew are a happily married couple who both have teenage children from previous relationships.

No one said it would be easy to raise a blended family under one roof but Jeanie and Matthew are strong. They will make it work.

And whilst Jeanie’s step-daughter Scarlett rejects her, Jeanie will just have to try harder to win her over.

But Jeanie has a past. A terrible secret she thought she’d buried a long time ago. And now, it’s coming to the surface, threatening to destroy her new marriage.

Someone is playing a terrifying game on Jeanie and she must put a stop to it once and for all.

After all, a fairytale needs a happy ending … doesn’t it?

 

Review:

Each chapter in this psychological thriller is told from the perspective of new wife, Jeanie, or her sister, Marlena, with Jeanie focusing on what is happening in the here and now, whilst Marlena has a more reflective view. It was useful to get some insight into the sisters' childhood and the ways in which it must have affected their views and actions in their lives and relationships.

 

As Jeanie encounters strange goings-on at home, the intelligence of Claire Seeber's writing shines through, leaving the reader as bewildered as Jeanie. The clever plot twists shift your focus this way and that, until you have absolutely no idea who is responsible for what, who is innocent and who, ultimately, is guilty.

 

Although I enjoyed the story as a whole, there were a couple of parts I found hard to get into. There is an awful lot going on and lots of different points I felt could have been explored further, or omitted all together, to make the story more concise. But, no doubt I'm being overly critical.

 

I thought the characters were quite well developed, and I really liked Jeanie. Although she was a pleaser, she also had a little bit of fighting spirit too, and the combination worked. I could picture each of the characters really well too, the descriptions were so good. Each little mannerism and personality trait came through, it was like the whole book played out in front of me. The descriptions of the environment, the houses and grounds, were fantastic too. I felt as though I could see each of the rooms and the gardens. I distinctly remember feeling the same way about a previous book by the same author and being very impressed by her writing. Claire Seeber is definitely one to watch.

 

Special thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced reader's copy, in return for my honest review.