Published by Hogarth Press on May 9, 2017
Genres: Fiction, Women
Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via TLC Book Tours for review consideration.
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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.
Whoo boy, this book! Pretty early on, I got a weird, twisted vibe from Lady Daniels. Then the same feeling from her live-in nanny, S. It felt similar to reading The Woman Upstairs and The Dinner. And just like those two novels, Woman No. 17 had the same kind of slow burn.
The dual narrative (alternating between Lady and S) worked very well; it moved the story along at a nice pace. But these two characters are truly awful. Their thoughts are problematic and discomforting, the things they do are outrageous. So yeah, they’re interesting, and I couldn’t get enough of them!
This novels explores a lot of themes: Mothers’ fears of messing up their kids, children being smothered by their mothers, estranged parents, conflict between mothers and daughters, codependent relationships, parents who overvalue their kids and how that affects them, how hurting people hurt people and often create solitude, and most of all, who has the right to tell other people’s stories?
It sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Maybe too much, in most books. But Lepucki weaved all these themes into a complex, fascinating web that really packed a punch. I finished Woman No. 17 weeks ago, but I’m still thinking about it.
Thanks to TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this book. Check out what other readers have to say about Woman No. 17 by visiting other stops on the tour.
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