3 of 7
272 pages; Little, Brown and Company
This English thriller alternates perspectives, toggling between Nina, a crisp, put-together mother of a teenager and Emma, the overwhelmed, financially strapped mother of a baby and a toddler. The two women run into each other at a supermarket and, little by little, Nina insinuates herself into Emma's life—stealing her wallet (but returning it!), luring her little boy into the bushes at the park (but returning him, too)—all without Emma picking up on Nina's dark agenda. When Nina invites Emma and her family to use her vacation home in the South of France, the book turns into a race to the finish as we finally find how these women really came to know one another—and why one of them is so obsessed with the other's ruin. The most riveting part of the story is narrated by the cold, calculating, magnetic Nina. The sections where the reader is listening to Emma beat herself up about burning dinner and spilling milk, though, can get tiresome. The end, however, is perfectly executed, leaving you at the most excruciating moment possible—when a horrible thing is about to happen and there is nothing you, or any of characters, can do to stop it, save read as fast as you can until the words run out at that last, crucial moment.
— Leigh Newman