The Mother Next Door by Tara Laskowski, 3.5 Stars

Never show their feelings.
Never spill their secrets.
Never admit to murder.

The annual Halloween block party is the pinnacle of the year on idyllic suburban cul-de-sac Ivy Woods Drive. An influential group of neighborhood moms—known as the Ivy Five—plans the event for months.

Except the Ivy Five has been four for a long time.

When a new mother moves to town, eager to fit in, the moms see it as an opportunity to make the group whole again. This year’s block party should be the best yet… until the women start receiving anonymous messages threatening to expose the quiet neighborhood’s dark past—and the lengths they’ve gone to hide it.

As secrets seep out and the threats intensify, the Ivy Five must sort the loyal from the disloyal, the good from the bad. They’ll do anything to protect their families. But when a twisted plot is revealed, with dangerous consequences, their steady foundation begins to crumble, leaving only one certainty: after this year’s block party, Ivy Woods Drive will never be the same.

Advanced Praise:

“THE MOTHER NEXT DOOR is a wonderfully creepy and sinister read which drew me in and kept me gripped as the web of lies and mysterious secrets from the past unraveled. Tense, twisty and intriguing, readers definitely won’t be able to put this down.” —Karen Hamilton, international bestselling author of The Last Wife

“In The Mother Next Door, Tara Laskowski proves once again she’s top-of-game with nuanced characters and intelligent suspense.”—Shannon Kirk, author of Gretchen and In the Vines

“A smart thriller that … delivers surprising twists with effortless pacing that keeps the reader turning pages long past bedtime.” — Washington Independent Review of Books

“Readers will feel as though they are watching a championship chess game play out before their eyes, with the victor entirely uncertain and maybe the ‘prize’ unwanted.” — BOLO Books

My Review:

Just spend a little time around an elementary school and THE MOMs will out themselves. There will be a group of super high-achieving moms who wield all the power. They plan all the events, they decide who gets the coveted volunteer spots. They rule the school. In The Mother Next Door, they are the Ivy Five.

Theresa is newly married and has moved with her teenage daughter, and her husband, the newly minted principal of the high school. She knows right away who the moms to get tight with are. In fact, they all live on her street. The thing is, it’s not a coincidence. Theresa isn’t completely new to town, she pulled strings to get her husband her job, and while the Ivy Five plans their famous Halloween Bash, it’s hard to tell who will be burned more by this information, Theresa or the Five.

As it turns out, the Ivy Five also has secrets. Laskowski paints a tale of women we all know but with a more sinister plot than we’ve hopefully encounter in our own lives. It’s a quick thriller and a fun read for the spookiest time of year. Special thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin for an advanced e-galley in exchange for my honest review. This one is out now. Get your copy!


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