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Emblazoned across the cover of Sandie Jones’ novel, The Other Woman, are words foreshadowing its amazing plot: “fiendishly clever with a twist you will not see coming.” As I read The Other Woman, I kept trying to second guess that prognostication. Even so, I never imagined the way this psychological thriller might turn on itself at the end. Without question, the narrative is “fiendishly clever,” and I was completely blindsided by the “twist” I never saw coming.

Pammie, “The Other Woman,” is the mother-in-law to be of Emma, who is fiercely in love with Pammie’s son. Emma soon realizes that Adam’s mother will do anything to destroy the new romance. The plot of The Other Woman revolves wholly around this unholy triangle—Pammie thwarting Emma at every turn, Emma continually frustrated by Pammie’s malevolence, Adam ricocheting helplessly between the two women fighting for his heart.

The Other Woman opens with a brief Prologue and closes with a short Epilogue, spoken by Pammie and overtly revealing her point of view regarding her son’s potential bride. What happens more subtly in between is narrated by Emma. Innocent at first, then increasingly cognizant of Pammie’s malicious schemes, finally driven almost to distraction by the lies and obfuscations, Emma struggles to keep her wits about her. The mind games, often unwittingly advanced by Adam and sometimes even orchestrated by his brother, James, torment Emma through a series of unexpected events and confrontations.

Awkward, smothering dinner parties. A hideous hen get-away. A suspect cancer diagnosis. The wedding postponed, then delayed. An unplanned pregnancy. Mysterious hints of past misdeeds. Disastrous present-day confrontations. Almost every page of The Other Woman vibrates with tension and with unspoken interpersonal strains. Earlier, I called this novel a psychological thriller, which is exactly the correct terminology to describe Jones’ presentation, a combination of The Yellow Wallpaper and The Bell Jar, “Gaslight” and “Psycho.” Her novel digs deeply inside Emma’s psyche, letting the reader experience every step (or misstep) each of the characters advances.

On purpose, now, I need to truncate this review. In no way should a reviewer divulge how any novel reaches its denouement. Suffice to say that this one was aptly labeled at the outset: “fiendishly clever with a twist you will not see coming.” Fast-paced while remaining mentally probative, The Other Woman is a novel that will stick in the reader’s imagination for weeks to come. Its ultimate twist is absolutely stunning! – Ann Ronald

Also available by Sandie Jones: The First Mistake

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