The Stepmother by Claire Seeber

4 and half 1

 

I really enjoyed this book and found I’d devoured half before I realised what time it was. It’s written in a very easy flowing way with short sharp chapters switching between Jeannie and her sister Marlena.  The characters are well developed, quite complex because of their background and upbringing, and likeable to the reader because we can easily relate to them.

If you’ve been a step-mother, or indeed a step-daughter, you may be able to relate to the anxious first few meetings.  If those meetings don’t go well and you then throw into the pot that the child/children are teenagers, their father is the apple of their eye and their mother is glamorous and jealous, well, scary things can happen and in this book they really do.  I am a step-mother to a boy and girl and I know I tried too hard to make them like me, so I can fully relate to Jeannie’s over the top efforts with Scarlett and Luke. Thankfully mine didn’t terrorise me into submission!

Very loosely, the story is set around Jeannie and Matthew meeting and marrying in quick succession. Matthew is a wealthy businessman with teenage twins and an ex-wife you wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of.  Jeannie comes from a complex and broken background, has hardly had any serious relationships and finds herself swept off her feet by Matthew who is probably on the rebound.  Jeannie moves into Matthew’s former matrimonial home and when his children visit she finds she is on edge and feels a bit of an outsider in her own home.  The narrator of the story keeps referring to Snow White and this does feel very much like a grown up version of the old fairytale.

This is a very readable dark and sinister fairytale of sorts, complete with locked rooms, dead birds, secrets and wicked women.  I enjoyed it very much and will certainly read more by Claire Seeber.

Claire Seeber

 

Claire Seeber’s Website

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