The downside? He had teenage twins, Scarlett and Luke. Jeanie had her own teenager, Frank, but he was already away at school, only occasionally spending time with the newly created family.
Hoping to blend the families successfully, Jeanie does everything in her power to make everyone happy, but things start going awry almost immediately. Some secrets from her past, which she had been planning to share with her new husband, are spilled in the worst possible way. Who could have sent the damning e-mails to all the key individuals, from Matthew to her new employers?
Now I had my eye on pretty little Scarlett, the daddy’s girl, but Kaye was also an unlikeable ex-wife who could create furor wherever she went. Lots of screaming phone calls from her to Matthew frequently tore him away, leaving Jeanie alone…again. She could have had plenty of motive. And Scarlett spent much of the time scowling and barking at her new stepmother.
The Stepmother was not just a remake of the fairytales we all love, since it had lots of additional twists and turns that made me wonder who was behind the evil pranks that seemed geared toward driving Jeanie mad.
The novel was also a tale of sisters: Jeanie, the eldest, with little sis Marlena, the one who always leaned on big sister, but who now has her own life mapped out as a journalist. Their stories are alternately narrated, and we learn a lot about their own dysfunctional family. So the two of them are adept at families that are full of scars and old wounds, as well as secrets and lies.
I loved how we finally learn what has happened to Jeanie in the big old King house…and how she finally discovers a way to create her own happiness. 5 stars.