I often lie to make my life easier, but that doesn’t mean I condone lying in others.
Eve has reluctantly fallen for Gideon, things are going so well that it’s time for her to meet Mother. Marjorie can do no wrong in the eyes of her loyal son, upon first meeting it’s definitely she who rules the family. Is Marjorie really that bad, or is it Eve’s lack of a big family having grown up with her Aunt Audrey that causes her to misunderstand the dynamics in Gideon’s own. One thing is certain, Marjorie is an overbearing manipulator but it takes one to know one, this time she has a worthy opponent.
In all honesty, Gideon didn’t seem worth this much fuss but maybe it’s the challenge that makes the relationship seem that much more worth keeping. No way is Eve going to let Marjorie win, because history proves she has driven other potential love interests away from her adoring son. With histrionics and deception, she knows how to pull the strings in her family of puppets, though not all fall into step. Gideon’s sister keeps her distance with her husband and children preferring peace to her mother’s cold ways and there is a twin sister that has her own dirt on the matriarch, unless she really is as mad as a hatter, as the family tells it. Malcom, why does Gideon’s father cower to her demands? Why does no one see her for what she truly is?
Eve’s younger brother Dominic has a gift for pulling her into his family drama, he’s come calling again with the hopes of rallying support against his ex, hoping to win custody of his daughter. The problem is, she is sure his daughter Pixie is better off with her mother Sophie. As if that isn’t enough, his conspiracy theories are exasperating, and a bit troubling. She doesn’t have time for this, on top of sparring with Marjorie and trying to maintain her relationship with Gideon.
Then there is Claire, “I really don’t know how Claire and I have maintained our friendship for so long as she disapproves of almost everything I say and do.” Claire is a psychologist and tries to be the voice of reason in Eve’s life. Listening to Eve complain about her woes with Marjorie, Claire attempts to prod Eve in a more sensible direction, and away from assuming Gideon’s mother has ‘sinister intentions.’ But Claire could be wrong about Marjorie, couldn’t she?
Eve isn’t about to let the witch win, no way! She finds support in unusual places, uncovering Marjorie’s biggest deceptions and betrayals, one even against her own children.But is Eve herself squeaky clean? Does Eve have a few things to hide from Gideon? Either way, it’s definitely game on!
The novel changes from a common story about the struggle of trying to make things work with one’s partner’s family, doing everything in their power to make you feel unwelcome and drive a wedge between the two of you, to a far more devious tale. Marjorie isn’t the only one willing to ‘go to great lengths’ to come out the winner. I didn’t expect deception to be a character itself, but it is in so many ways to the very conclusion. Maybe honesty isn’t always the best policy here. She has met her match in Eve, who isn’t always likable either. The similarities between them begs the question, what the heck happened in Marjorie’s life to make her so calculated? Will we ever know? For both of these women, the truth is something to be molded to fit the narrative of their lives. A strange story indeed.