Title: The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense
Length: 432 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
A mother. A son. His girlfriend. And the lie they’ll wish had never been told.
Laura has it all. A successful career, a long marriage to a rich husband, and a twenty-three year-old son, Daniel, who is kind, handsome, and talented. Then Daniel meets Cherry. Cherry is young, beautiful and smart but hasn’t led Laura’s golden life. And she wants it.
When tragedy strikes, a decision is made and a lie is told. A lie so terrible it changes their lives forever…
The Girlfriend is a taut and wickedly twisted debut psychological thriller—a novel of subtle sabotage, retaliation, jealousy and fear, which pivots on an unforgivable lie, and examines the mother–son–daughter-in-law relationship in a chilling new light.
The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances is a domestic mystery about a mother who is suspicious about her son’s new girlfriend’s motives for dating him.
Laura Cavendish is very devoted to her adult son, Daniel. They are rather close (hmm, maybe too close?) and she is delighted he is now moving on to the hospital portion of his medical training since he will be living close by. Almost immediately, Daniel meets Cherry Laine, an estate agent in training, and Laura is rather nonplussed to discover her son is quite enthralled by the young woman. Hoping to form a fast friendship with her son’s new girlfriend, Laura is unsettled by how quickly Cherry ingratiates herself into their lives. Her misgivings fall on deaf ears and Laura’s relationship with Daniel takes a backseat to his fast moving romance. When Daniel is gravely injured in an accident, Laura makes an impetuous decision that comes back to haunt her in a rather dramatic and downright scary manner.
Laura is an overly involved mother whose marriage has been on the rocks for several years. Like any mom, she wants the best for her only child and she is not at all eager to share Daniel’s attention with a girlfriend. In her favor, Laura does want a friendly relationship with Cherry but the young woman rubs her the wrong way almost right from the start. In the con column, Laura seems to go out of her way to try to find damning information that will prove her negative feelings about Cherry are correct. While Laura’s doubts and concerns about Cherry might be well founded, her motherly concern quickly crosses a line that she cannot recover from.
Cherry is an opportunistic gold digger who wants a wealthy man to help her escape from her very humble beginnings. In spite of her attempts to move up the social ladder, she feels inadequate and uncomfortable when she meets Daniel’s friends and family. Cherry is manipulative, sly and quite willing to lie to get what she wants out of life. Easily picking up on Laura’s animus, Cherry begins a game of one-upmanship to cement her position as Daniel’s girlfriend that eventually has tragic consequences.
The Girlfriend is a clever mystery that has a unique storyline. Daniel is a fabulous character who is a little naive when it comes to his new girlfriend. Laura is initially likable but quickly turns into an unsympathetic character whose devotion to her son is somewhat unhealthy. Cherry come across as a money grubbing social climber who is willing to do ANYTHING to escape her working class background. The story moves in fits and starts and becomes a little repetitive as Laura and Cherry go to extreme lengths as they compete for Daniel’s attention. The novel comes to a rather exciting conclusion that ends with a shocking revelation. All in all, an enjoyable, suspenseful debut from Michelle Frances.