Monday, September 16, 2019

Julie's Review: Pretty Guilty Women

Author: Gina LaManna
Series: None
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Pages: 336
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Mystery
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: A story of how friendship binds you to your past, present and future
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab

Summary: Something has gone terribly wrong at the Banks wedding. A man is dead. Four different women rush to offer confessions, each insisting that they committed the crime ― alone. Ginger is holding her family together by a thread, and this wedding weekend is not the fabulous getaway she anticipated. Kate has enough money to buy her way out of anything. Well, almost anything. Emily can't shake her reputation or her memories, and she's planning to drown this whole vacation in a bottle. Lulu's got ex-husbands to spare, and another on the way ― as soon as she figures out what the devil the current husband is up to behind her back. Why would they confess to the same murder? Only they know ― and they're not telling. This page-turning novel explores the depths of friendship and the truths we love to ignore. 

Review: I love a good mystery, a good classic who-dunit, which is what Pretty Guilty Women is at it's core. It is also about female friendships, forgiveness and understanding. Let's face it, female friendships/relationships are complex and when there's a misunderstanding it can be even worse. For 4 college friends reuniting isn't necessarily a happy event. Emily is dealing with a pain so deep she drinks to try to keep it supressed; Ginger is struggling with being a mom to a brood of 3 with a teenager who thinks she's an idiot and Kate struggles with being unable to obtain what she wants the most. The 4th friend is the one getting married and is mentioned throughout the book but isn't integral other than getting them all in the same place.

It's at the hotel bar that they meet Sydney with her baby Lydia and Lulu who each is harboring a secret one with more consequences for the group than the other. As the women drink more and longer into the day/night, each opens up about their own insecurities. Ginger still harbors ill feelings towards Emily even though she has no clu what she's been through in the last 10 years and well Kate is still bossy and in charge.

What ensues over the next 24 hours is murder and mayhem with various points of view but one thing is clear they are all covering up for someone, the question is whom? We are given snippets of the night as the police investigate the murder and the events leading up the murder. We are given the events leading up to the murder from each of the women's POV, which is always interesting. They each have their own version of the truth because it is what they saw and how their experiences shaped their view.

I like complex female friendships and none is more complex at times than mother/teenage daughter. Ms. LaManna does a great job of exhibiting this with Ginger and Elsie's relationship. They speak at each other and not to each other which is typical plus neither one really listens to the other one. Also, how do you repair a friendship when you have been harboring ill-will to someone for so long? This is Ginger and Emily's quandry. And who really is Sydney Banks? Is she on the run?

Now I will confess (haha) that I figured out who the murdered man was pretty early on BUT I didn't see a couple of outcomes of the murder coming, so I'm all about a twist that gives me pause.

I really enjoyed the mystery and getting to know these women and their struggles. It was a great reminder about how not to judge because you really have no clue what people have been through. For fans of Liane Moriarty, you will want to check out this one.



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