A sinister, sexy noir about art, motherhood, and the intensity of female friendships, set in the posh hills above Los Angeles, from the New York Times bestselling author of California.
High in the Hollywood Hills, writer Lady Daniels has decided to take a break from her husband. She’s going to need a hand with her young son if she’s ever going to finish her memoir. In comes S., a magnetic young artist, who will live in the secluded guest house out back, care for Lady’s young toddler son, and keep a watchful eye on her older, teenage, one. S. performs her day job beautifully, quickly drawing the entire family into her orbit, and becoming a confidante for Lady. But as the summer wears on, S.’s connection to Lady’s older son takes a disturbing, and possibly destructive, turn. Lady and S. will move closer to one another as they both threaten to harm the things they hold most dear. Darkly comic, twisty and tense, this mesmerizing new novel defies expectation and proves Edan Lepucki to be one of the most talented and exciting voices of her generation.
This book has me a bit tied up in knots. It as a lot darker than I expected, which is saying a lot, but it wasn’t bleak. I wasn’t sure what I should expect honestly, but it riveted my attention when I saw it available on Blogging for Books so I snagged it. I’m really glad I did, however it didn’t quite live up to the expectation.
Written in the voice of the two main characters, Lady and S, the book jars between their two stories. It didn’t transition all that seamlessly. So many times I was lost as well as their stories blended together and it was hard to remember which story belonged to whom. Lady has loved and lost and blames her mother. Her oldest son is diagnosed with selective mute-ism and while he is not technically an adult she’s not quite ready to cut that cord. She hires the nanny for her youngest son, not quite a preschooler. S is a recent college graduate trying to reinvent herself. She’s an artist, sort of, and has chosen to take on a project that honestly, I guess I’m too old to understand. She is trying to recreate who her mother was, before she had a child. Or even when S was just a child. She’s obviously got her own Mommy issues as well. The supporting cast does an excellent job of helping these two women tell their stories, and possibly change the direction of their lives. Not always in for the positive.
The characters are so well developed that I grew to care about them, even the supporting cast. The story flowed well that even with the Minions of Mayhem interrupting at every turn it wasn’t a difficult book to read. Just difficult to keep their stories straight. Though it did tend to drag at times. It’s not going to sit on the favorite shelf any time soon but I do think that it has a lot of potential and it is definitely worth a reread. In the right library, it would be a well loved book.
WARNING: This book does have some language and some sexual content. It is not for every reader. Just sayin’.
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Blogging for Books. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.
About Elan Lepucki
Edan Lepucki is the New York Times bestselling author of California, as well as the novella If You’re Not Yet Like Me. Her next novel, Woman No. 17, will be published by Hogarth/Crown in May of 2017.
She is a graduate of Oberlin College and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and her short fiction and nonfiction have been published in McSweeney’s, Narrative Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times. She is a staff writer for The Millions and the founder of Writing Workshops Los Angeles.