Book Review: Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki

Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publisher: Hogarth

Summary:  A sinister, sexy noir about art, motherhood, and the intensity of female friendships, set in the posh hills above Los Angeles, from the New York Times bestselling author of California.

High in the Hollywood Hills, writer Lady Daniels has decided to take a break from her husband. She’s going to need a hand with her young son if she’s ever going to finish her memoir. In comes S., a magnetic young artist, who will live in the secluded guest house out back, care for Lady’s young toddler son, and keep a watchful eye on her older, teenage, one. S. performs her day job beautifully, quickly drawing the entire family into her orbit, and becoming a confidante for Lady. But as the summer wears on, S.’s connection to Lady’s older son takes a disturbing, and possibly destructive, turn. Lady and S. will move closer to one another as they both threaten to harm the things they hold most dear.

There's so much to say about this book because it propelled me on a rollercoaster that had me laughing, rolling my eyes & yelling at the characters throughout, but I truly don't want to put out a bunch of spoilers. So what's left to say? This is a very well done book and I enjoyed it immensely.

Once or twice a year, I come across a book that gives me a look in at characters that is so uncomfortable in its bare honesty that I am both repelled and pulled in. In this way and especially as the mains here were women who seemed determined to self-sabotage, it reminded me of Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum. All the pain & frustration with more hope in the end than I thought Lady and S deserved. The themes of repetition and becoming the thing you've railed against and hated was strongly written. The descriptions of LA and it's otherwordly expanse and inhabitants were done beautifully. Also worth mention here, I really loved the pastel hued cover.

It's like everyone in this book is running two versions of themselves & you can't differentiate which is real & which is the Sim. Lady & S are deftly rendered & their lives yin/yang but also parallel along the way. Seth, though, was the one I was most interested in & he didn't even get a POV. He didn't need a POV to come through as a strong character & that was excellent. Points to the author for enlightening me on selective mutism as I'd never heard of it at all. Blistering, witty & hits the pain feels but is also so unerringly Cali this reader was transported.

Definitely recommended & a favourite. If you're a fan of literary fiction, LA settings or looking for your next Hausfrau-type read, this is worth a look.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Expected publication: May 9th 2017 by Hogarth

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