Emily is a young rising star at a headhunting firm when she meets Adam, a handsome, successful IT consultant. Emily catches Adam’s eyes right away, and the two of them get along very well with each other, so finally, it looks like Emily has found her perfect match. Emily had been in love and burned before – Tom, Emily’s ex-boyfriend had had an affair with Charlotte, Emily’s best friend which Emily only found out about when she walked in on them while they were having sex. So Adam, who seems to be ready to sweep her off her feet is just what Emily needs.
We get a glimpse of Adam’s charming ways in the early days of their courtship, and we can see why Emily would think he is “the one.” Anyway, all goes well with these two lovebirds until Adam decides to introduce Emily to Pammie, his mother two months into their relationship. Emily walks into Pammie’s home thinking she would earn a friend – a woman she might even come to love as her own mother one day. However, it soon becomes clear to Emily that Pammie is a crazy, manipulative woman obsessing over her son, and that Adam is oblivious to all of it, putting her in quite a conundrum!
The Other Woman is Sandie Jones’s debut novel. I thought the choice to cast Emily’s future mother-in-law as the Other Woman was bold – the “rival” for a man’s love had always been a mistress in other novels I’ve read! So this plot-line definitely held my attention. But as exploitative as Pammie was being, I had a hard time connecting with Emily. It could be because Emily and I have different personalities – if I were Emily, I’d have run in the opposite direction after my second meeting with Pammie. I get that Emily thought Adam was “the one,” but I’m not convinced declaring an all-out war against Pammie was a wise choice when Adam was clearly a “Mama’s Boy.” I couldn’t imagine Emily having a happy future with so much toxicity going around, especially with a man who was not ready to take her side – not even once! – over his mother’s. So to me, this whole affair had disaster written all over it!
For a debut, The Other Woman is a good page-turner. However, I couldn’t bring myself to give it more than 3 stars. To Jones’s credit, she provides us with a satisfactory reason for Pammie’s evilness towards Emily, but her explanation left some holes in the story, which is a bit of a shame – a stronger ending could have surely made this a 4-stars book for me!
Note: Many thanks to Minotaur Books for sending me a review copy of The Other Woman.