Monday, March 16, 2009

(26)The Stepmother by Carrie Adams



I first read The Godmother over a year ago. And thoroughly enjoyed it. But it wasn't until I was on page 286 of The Stepmother that I realized it was a sequel to the 2007 book.

Tessa King is now thirty-eight and has finally met the man of her dreams, James Kent. The only drawback is that James has an ex-wife and three daughters. Can Tessa find room in her heart for three step-daughters? Can James be the husband she needs him to be, while at the same time, being the father his daughter's need him to be? And what about Bea? The Ex-Wife. Will she win James back? Can Tessa get past her own insecurities with James & Bea's history to live Happily Ever After?

The book alternates viewpoints. Between Bea & Tessa. The first few chapters are told from Bea's viewpoint. And after four years of separation, Bea is starting to believe that her & Jimmy will be getting back together. When Jimmy says that he needs to talk to her, Bea is all ready to hear that he wants to move back in. Instead, he tells her that he met someone. Bea does not take the news very well & starts a downward spiral of alcoholism & bulimia to deal with her pain and perceived failure. Can Bea & Tessa share Jimmy & the girls or will the bitterness & jealousy destroy them all?

I have never been a Stepmother, but I was in a serious relationship with a newly divorced man with two kids. And it was hard. A lot of the same issues & feelings that Tessa dealt with. The jealousy, the fear, the need to be first on the list of priorities. And finding yourself number 4 or number 5 on that list. The guilt for having those feelings. Been there, done that & it was ugly. The worst of all was the fact that he didn't even realize or acknowledge what I was feeling. My relationship didn't survive, but will Tessa's?

I really liked how Carrie Adams alternated viewpoints. And it was critical for her to show Bea's side first. It would have been easy, being that Tessa was the developed character (from The Godmother) it would have been easy to paint Bea as the "bad guy" right from the start. Instead, we see the Super Mom fall apart as she feels her life spinning out of control. Then we see Tessa handle "Stepmother" situations with less than grace. Neither character is perfect, but they both want the same thing. A Happy Ending.

You may think that The Stepmother is a Chick Lit book by the cover, by the synopsis. It is not. It is an emotional, in depth look at both sides of the "Second Marriage Story". There is no "villain" in the story. Just two women with real feelings trying to survive. A great read! Highly recommended!

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I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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