Published by William Morrow ISBN 9780062562647
Trade paperback, $15.99, 336 pages
Carol Goodman writes mysteries usually set in the Catskill Mountain/Hudson Valley area of New York State, where she resides and where my husband grew up. It's a unique setting, where she paints a picture of spookiness and dread amid the beautiful mountains and valley.
In her latest novel, The Other Mother, before the story begins, we know that it will be about a woman who is diagnosed with Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, which means that she will have thoughts about harming her child. The reader is uncomfortable right away.
As the story begins, Daphne Marist has taken her baby daughter Chloe and is hiding from her husband. Is she a victim of domestic violence? Daphne has taken a job as an archivist for Schuyler Bennett, who happens to be Daphne's favorite author. When Schuyler greets Daphne, she calls her Laurel. Why?
From Daphne's journal entries, we discover that Laurel is her best friend from a mommy support group. Laurel also has a young daughter named Chloe, and Laurel helps bring Daphne out her shell. She spruces Daphne up, getting her new clothes and a new haircut, similar to Laurel's. She even finds her a babysitter so that the two ladies can go to yoga class.
The women bond over their children and the fact that they both lost their parents at a young age. They both have degrees in library science (and Laurel is an archivist as well) and Laurel says that it's because they "both wanted to put the world in order after it had fallen to pieces."
The story goes back and forth from Daphne's journal entries to her new job with Schuyler. Schuyler lives in a old stone home, replete with a tower, on the grounds of a psychiatric hospital that her father, a reknowned psychiatrist, founded.
Daphne becomes intrigued by a patient whom Schuyler's father treated, who many years ago left her baby in a dumpster at college and has lived at the hospital ever since. But Daphne's interest in this woman draws the attention of a doctor, and that causes trouble.
As the story progresses, we find out why Daphne is using Laurel's name. We also get journal entries written by Laurel that give us a surprising new perspective on Laurel's life. No one and nothing is as it seems in this spooky novel.
The Other Mother reminds me of those trippy 1970's made-for-television movies that would star Linda Blair or Kim Darby as a woman in jeopardy. A woman would be made to believe that she was going crazy by people around her to hide a sinister plot. It definitely has that 1970's vibe for me, and if you spent your Friday nights watching those movies, The Other Mother is for you.
I have to admit that I found the ending a little contrived, I'm not sure I buy the way it all tied together. But the women's stories of their postpartum issues were very real and emotional, and I think any mother will feel for Daphne and Laurel and their struggles.
Carol Goodman's website can be found here.
Thanks to TLC Tours for putting me on Carol Goodman's tour. The rest of her stops are here:
Tuesday, March 27th: Into the Hall of Books
Wednesday, March 28th: Write – Read – Life
Thursday, March 29th: The Book Diva’s Reads
Friday, March 30th: bookchickdi
Monday, April 2nd: Jessicamap Reviews
Tuesday, April 3rd: 5 Minutes For Books
Wednesday, April 4th: A Splendid Messy Life
Thursday, April 5th: Doing Dewey
Monday, April 9th: Caryn, The Book Whisperer
Tuesday, April 10th: Tina Says…
Tuesday, April 10th: Novel Gossip
Thursday, April 12th: A Bookish Way of Life