'My Husband's Girlfriend' is the latest psychological thriller from author, Sheryl Browne. It's a twisty, intriguing page-turner of a story, packed with mystery and misdirection.
A shifting narrative told from multiple points-of-view, the plot mostly follows Sarah. Amidst the early stages of divorce and doing her best to prioritize her son, Ollie.. and his best interests.. Sarah's uncertain about her soon-to-be ex-husband's new girlfriend.
Noticing his favorite toy, Bunny, is gone. Replaced suddenly with something new given to him by Laura, the newest addition to their familial situation, Sarah asks Ollie about it but he becomes nervous and evasive.
When she broaches the subject of her concern with Steve and even Joe, the new person in her own life, no one wants to hear it. Sarah comes across as the jealous ex-wife, while Laura seems to be the perfect stepmother figure with the sweet, often fearful vulnerability.
As a separated parent, to a degree this was kind of a worst nightmare scenario for me. I certainly never liked the feeling I might be replaced by someone in my child's life.. becoming less important to them or having them prefer to be elsewhere. To add to that idea, the very real possibility that my child might have been at risk from someone who was a part of their family unit when I wasn't around.. was frightening.
Now for me, the reason was more along the lines of toxicity and self-destructive splash damage, rather than deliberate maliciousness. At least where my child was concerned. To be facing it with some methodical outsider and have no one willing to give credence to my concerns would be terrifying.
Though I picked up easily on who did what and when, early on in the story.. it was not due to lack of plot turns on the author's part. In fact, there were so many that the ride is a bit of a rollercoaster, always coming up on some new jarring curve over the next climb.
My one complaint is small and common for these types of stories. The characters are prone to extreme overreactions all the time and that kind of constant melodrama just makes it feel a little less real for me. That's not to say people never act like that, but ALL the people in any given situation rarely do.
Other than that, the story was intense and did a great job investing me in the outcome for Ollie as well as the final reveal for an older mystery drawn throughout. I was pretty certain I knew what happened, but it's always satisfying to find out whether or not you're right.
The pacing is very solid, moving smoothly enough that I was able to make my way through it very quickly. Only putting the book down to take care of obligations. Definitely a fun read if you like winding thrillers and a lot of family drama.