Pretty Little Liars is pretty much teen drama tops. The books and the show. I mean, who can resist? Certainly not me. So when I first heard about Safe in My Arms, by Sara Shepard who also wrote Pretty Little Liars, my interest was peaked. But this one has a completely different feel. In fact, it felt a lot more Iike Big Little Lies.
There’s just something intriguing about people who have a lot of money who are willing to drop obscene amounts on their children’s education. When they aren’t old enough for it to really matter. It definitely feels a bit more like they are trying to impress the other parents, right?
PRAISE for Safe in My Arms
“We’ve got a secret and we can’t keep it: Safe in My Arms might be even juicier than Shepard’s bestselling Pretty Little Liars series. Just don’t tell A we said that. Equal parts PLL and part Big Little Lies, three moms who feel like outsiders in their ultra-wealthy community come together to uncover the truth about why the principal of their elite preschool was attacked—and why they’re being framed.”
“The New York Times bestselling author of “Pretty Little Liars” dives back into the school years, this time in an exclusive California preschool. (Think: Big Little Lies.)”
—GMA.com, “33 books to heat up your July”
“A smart and insightful page-turner, Safe in My Arms is a twisty mystery filled with keen observations about the impossibly high standards of motherhood and the critical importance of finding friends willing to accept you as the forgivably flawed person and parent you really are.”
—Kimberly McCreight, New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia and A Good Marriage
“We’ve read stories about the cutthroat world of high school and colleges, but in Safe in My Arms, Sara Shepard reminds us that things can get dark in academia way before that. This sharp, smart, and oh-so-twisty look at the sinister side of a privileged preschool is the kind of book that will have you staying up way too late–even if it’s a school night.”
—Rachel Hawkins, New York Times bestselling author of The Wife Upstairs
“Sara Shepherd returns to the domestic suspense scene with a deep dive into the lives of three mothers at a fancy private preschool, all of them harboring dark secrets. Taut, smart and twisted, Safe in My Arms is everything I love in a suspense novel, a whip-smart tale of just how far a mother will go to protect her child. All the stars!”
—Kimberly Belle, internationally bestselling author of Stranger in the Lake
From the Publisher:
The latest novel from Sara Shepard, author of Reputation and the #1 New York Times bestselling Pretty Little Liars series. When the principal of an elite California preschool is attacked, three moms—who feel like outsiders among the school’s manicured and ultra-wealthy community—must work together to uncover what she’s hiding, figure out who’s trying to frame them, and make sure their own secrets stay hidden.
Andrea, Lauren, and Ronnie all see themselves as good, loving moms who are trying their best, but they each arrive at the Silver Swans preschool Welcome Breakfast with something to hide. Andrea is running away from a past on the East Coast, which she cannot afford for the other parents to discover. Lauren is recovering from a postpartum condition her husband has warned her not to disclose. And Ronnie is hiding herself and her daughter from the one man who could at any moment appear in their lives and ruin everything she holds dear. They already feel like impostors among the school’s community of polished parents. But then notes appear in their children’s backpacks after the first day at school. Notes that indicate that someone knows their deepest, darkest secrets and needs them gone. Does someone not want them in the community? Or is it something more menacing—does someone know everything?
When the principal of the school is the victim of an almost-fatal attack, it quickly becomes clear that the Silver Swans community is not as flawless as the brochures and website would have you believe. The three moms must band together to uncover the school’s many secrets before the other suspicious parents and town police close in and use their outsider status to blame them . . . and before they lose what they have worked so hard for.
It took me a little while to get into Safe in My Arms. But once I got to know the characters a bit, they actually were a pretty interesting group of ladies. We have Lauren, who left a successful career to be a stay at home mom, who now suffers from postpartum rage (who knew that was a thing???). Then we have Ronnie who makes money by kind of cleaning people homes (or just pushing a vacuum cleaner) topless. Also interesting. Then we have Andrea, who was probably my favorite of the ladies. And she hasn’t always been a lady.
Of course we still have all the other pretentious parents and from the start it seems like both the other parents (and the principal) kind of hate this trio. And they start getting threatening notes. And really the anonymous notes is where any parallel to Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars stops. These women may be offbeat, but they are confident and they know who they are. Together, no one can touch them.
Safe in My Arms was a refreshing spin on the same old story of the women who don’t quite fit in with the perfect PTA moms at school. I appreciated all the characters and they felt genuine. There’s not a ton of mystery here, but a bit of intrigue. I would have given it a slightly higher rating, but the ending felt the tiniest bit Scooby Doo to me.
Special thanks to Netgalley and Dutton for an advanced e-galley in exchange for my honest review. This one is today, July 27. Get your copy: