In Mary Kubica’s “The Other Mrs.,” Sadie Foust and her husband Will flee Chicago for a remote island in Maine. They leave behind a host of problems, including a disgraced career, an affair and a bullying situation with their son. Maine is intended to be sweet relief from their tumultuous life in Chicago, with the small town regulated by an infrequent ferry and a large house and a niece all left to them unexpectedly by a deceased sister. If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s that a Mainer will never delve into your personal business.
Troubles nevertheless pile on the family as the antagonistic niece acts out with open hostility, and a neighbor is almost immediately killed in the middle of the night. Sadie feels drawn to attempt to solve the mystery of the dead neighbor, fearing for the safety of her own family.
While the strange circumstances pile up around the Foust family like rocks on the Maine coastline, Sadie struggles to hold it together. “The Other Mrs.” is told mostly from the perspective of three women. Sadie is the anxious mom, fragile and concerned about the emotional and physical health of all around her. She’s perpetually worried about her children, her niece, her husband, her rude coworkers, and that pesky island murderer. Camille is an uninhibited woman with more than a crush on Will. She’s the kind of woman that will follow him on the ferry and show up at his office with the important news that she’s not wearing undergarments.
Finally, there’s Mouse, a child almost out of time and place. Mouse is deeply dependent on her dad but at the mercy of a cruel stepmother. Lest you imagine that you’ve figured out exactly what’s happening in “The Other Mrs.,” don’t forget that Kubica is masterful at spinning out a mystery and disclosing the truth only at the last minute. With at least a dozen substantial mysteries surrounding Sadie and her family, Kubica neatly lays them out and folds them up again, each in their turn. As in her first novel, the gripping “The Good Girl, The Other Woman,” Kubica pits our expectations of womanhood and femininity against a seemingly improbable narrative in this satisfying thriller.
Mary Kubica will be in conversation with Lori Rader-Day at Madison Street Books on February 24 at 7pm.
“The Other Mrs.”
By Mary Kubica
Park Row, 368 pages