The Other Mrs. Miller by Allison Dickson
Publishing Date: 16th July 2019
Source: Received from the publisher, thank you!
Number of pages: 336
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
In this unputdownable domestic suspense debut, a lonely suburban housewife finds her life entangled with the family that moves in across the street at the same time that she becomes convinced someone is watching her–perfect for fans of The Couple Next Door and The Last Mrs. Parrish.
Once a darling of Chicago’s social scene, Phoebe Miller fears she’s become irrelevant and cliché: just another miserably unfulfilled housewife who drowns her sorrows in Chardonnay and ice cream and barely leaves her house. Maybe it’s her dark thoughts and fertile imagination that lead her to believe the worst about everything she spies going on in the exclusive suburban cul de sac she calls home. But surely that rusty blue sedan that keeps idling by her driveway is a sign that she’s being watched. And that new family that just moved in across the street–Dr. Ron Napier, his vivacious wife, Vicki, and their handsome college-bound son, Jake–can’t be as perfect as they appear. Especially not with the bruises on Vicki’s arms and the fear in Jake’s eyes.
When a chance introduction to the exuberant Vicki–and a forbidden encounter with Jake–draws her out of her shell and deeper into the Napiers’ orbit, Phoebe’s life finally gets the infusion of excitement she’s been missing. But when anonymous threatening notes begin landing on her doorstep, she’ll have to ask herself just how well anyone can truly know their neighbors…and how close to home unforeseen danger sometimes lies.
Phoebe Miller is a bored housewife, spending days at home, cleaning and baking. Her marriage to Wyatt is on the brink of collapsing. After a scandal revolving around her father, Phoebe finds herself even more isolated from reality, drinking more and more to pass the time. It’s then that she notices a car, parked in the neighbourhood, and she has a feeling that whoever it is, they’re watching her, so she starts to note down when she’s seen the car. Then a new family moves across the street, and Phoebe is interested in them, especially in the Napiers son, Jack. But things start to seem to go out of hand for Phoebe. Do the Napiers have something to hide? Who is the person in the blue sedan?
The book is divided into two parts and I must say that the first part was better than the second one. Firstly it focused on Phoebe and her life and even though she was not a character that I warmed to, I was fascinated with her life, past and present, and the new neighbours seemed truly intriguing. Whereas the second part felt much slower, much too forced and bit unbelievable, and it felt like reading two different stories. It was hard to believe in the characters’ actions and honestly, I was not so invested in the plot any more.
The whole stalker idea also didn’t seem completely thought over, and as I don’t want to spoil your reading I can’t say anything more! But it was illogical for me, wanting something from Phoebe but instead of approaching her they wanted to blackmail her, threaten her and maybe even kill her instead of telling who they were.
Phoebe is a complex and complicated character, and not easy too like, she has actually awakened ambivalent feelings in me. I’ve never warmed to her but I felt sorry for her, although I also think that she put herself in the situation she was living. Yes, I did understand her but I couldn’t understand why she simply didn’t do anything to have the life she wanted to have – she simply wallowed in her own misery, pitied herself, drinking and eating away at her problems. But altogether I don’t think she was a bad person, probably she simply didn’t know how to deal with all her problems, the traumatic childhood when most of the time her father didn’t acknowledge her existence or labelled her as worthless, and as a result she was living like in a limbo, without hobbies, friends, career, wallowing in her past, convinced that everyone knows who she is and who her father was though the truth may be totally different – people are not aware of who she is, at all.
It was an interesting domestic thriller where events start to roll slowly like a snowball and then take on epidemic proportions of an avalanche. Unexpected and unpredictable and you simply want to know what’s going to happen next, though not one to have blown my mind. The end left me, I don’t know, confused would be probably an understatement – yes, it surprised me but not in a positive way. Don’t get me wrong, please, I did enjoy the book but there were too many things that simply didn’t sit well with me, but that’s me and maybe you’re going to enjoy the book more than I did. And I’m curious what the author will come up with next.