I loved Liane Morarity’s BIG LITTLE LIES, and I’ve been on the hunt for books like it for a while now. There is something so compelling about a good book featuring family secrets, messy friendships, and the dark underbellies of suburbia. Domestic suspense, domestic noir, mama dramas. Call it what you will. These 15 books will have you eagerly turning pages, anticipating the next shocking twist in these unexpected suburban lives. Readers, meet your next BIG LITTLE LIES obsession.
When Quinn Cruz receives a cryptic text message from her older sister Nora, she doesn’t think much of it. Then Nora shows up at the lake near Quinn’s house with a little girl, and instructs Quinn to keep the child safe and secret. While Quinn struggles to honor her sister’s desperate request and care for the lost, scared Lucy, she fears that Nora may have gotten involved in something way over her head—something that will threaten them all. It’s a matter of life and death, of family and freedom, and ultimately, about the lengths a woman will go to protect the ones she loves.
In this provocative domestic drama, a sweet 16 birthday party goes horribly awry when a tragic accident occurs. In the ugly aftermath, a wealthy family in San Francisco finds their picture-perfect life unraveling, their darkest secrets revealed, and their friends turned to enemies. This is one page-turner you’re going to want to read.
Coolly elegant Philippa has somehow married the scion of the last family-held investment bank in New York City. Then her childhood friend Gwen Hogan uncovers an explosive secret about Philippa’s single days. When Gwen’s husband, a heavy-drinking obsessive prosecutor in the US Attorney’s Office, stumbles over the connection between Philippa’s past and the criminal investigation he is pursuing at all costs, this insulated society is forced to confront the rot at its core and the price it has paid to survive.
Reading this book, you will make many assumptions. You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife. You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement—a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love. You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle. Assume nothing. Twisted and deliciously chilling, THE WIFE BETWEEN US exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage, and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.
A kind, bookish only child born in the 1940s, Alice Lindgren has no idea that she will one day end up in the White House, married to the president. In her small Wisconsin hometown, she learns the virtues of politeness, but a tragic accident when she is 17 shatters her identity and changes the trajectory of her life. As her husband’s presidency enters its second term, Alice must confront contradictions years in the making and face questions nearly impossible to answer.
AMERICAN WIFE is the story of a kind, bookish child who winds up marrying the charismatic son of a powerful Republican family. When he unexpectedly becomes the president, she discovers that she both loves and fundamentally disagrees with him—and that her private beliefs increasingly run against her public persona.
Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night, when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately lands on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story. What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family—a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.
Imagine that you live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses. You’ve known your neighbors for years and you trust them. But then preteen Pip discovers her 13-year-old sister, Grace, lying unconscious and bloody in a hidden corner of a lush rose garden. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?
When Pip; her 13-year-old sister, Grace; and their mother move into an idyllic communal garden square, they could have never predicted the gruesome betrayal that would leave Grace lying unconscious and bloody in a hidden corner of the rose garden.
Thirty-four-year-old marine biologist Kyra Winthrop remembers nothing about the diving accident that left her with memory loss. With only brief flashes of the last few years, she lives an easy life on an island with her devoted husband, Jacob. But all is not what it seems. Kyra begins to have visions—or are they memories—of a rocky marriage, broken promises, and cryptic relationships with the island residents, whom she believes to be her friends. As Kyra races to uncover her past, the truth becomes a terrifying nightmare.
Amber Patterson is tired of being a nobody. She wants more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted. To everyone in their exclusive town, socialite Daphne and her real-estate mogul husband are a couple straight out of a fairy tale. Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn’t have a meticulous scheme. With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, THE LAST MRS. PARRISH is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent.
Morgan is completing her thesis on victim psychology and newly engaged to Bennett, a man more possessive than those she has dated in the past, but also more chivalrous. She returns from class one day to find Bennett brutally mauled to death, and her beloved dogs covered in blood. When Morgan tries to locate Bennett’s parents, she discovers that everything he has told her was a lie. Morgan’s research into Bennett has taken on new urgency: in order to stay alive, she must find out how an intelligent woman like herself becomes a victim.
After finding her fiancé dead in their apartment, Morgan discovers that everything he ever told her was a lie—and, in fact, he’s had several fiancées all believing the same story. Then, things take a harrowing turn when one by one, these other women are murdered.
Lida Stearl prides herself on always doing the right thing. It has served her well as she built a career, maintained a happy marriage, and raised her young niece after her sister was murdered by her brother-in-law Clarence. Then she discovers that Clarence, on death row for his crime, is seeking pen pals from the outside. For the first time in her life, Lida crosses a line and writes to him, pretending to be a naïve, flirtatious 23-year-old, in an effort to seek retribution. As letters pass steadily between Lida and Clarence, her obsession with revenge unfolds and she begins to question her morality.
When young lawyer Lily marries Ed, she’s determined to make a fresh start. To leave the secrets of the past behind. But then she takes on her first murder case and meets Joe—a convicted murderer whom Lily is strangely drawn to and for whom she will soon be willing to risk almost anything. But Lily is not the only one with secrets. Her next-door neighbor Carla may be only nine, but she has already learned that secrets are powerful things. When Lily finds Carla on her doorstep 16 years later, a chain of events is set in motion that can end only one way.
Bucolic Newport Cove is proud of its distinction of being named one of the top 20 safest neighborhoods in the US, but it’s also one of the most secret-filled. When a new family moves to this quiet, tree-lined cul-de-sac, Tessa Campbell seems friendly enough to the other mothers, if a bit reserved. Then the neighbors notice that no one is ever invited to Tessa’s house, and it soon becomes clear that Tessa is hiding the biggest secret of all.
As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve. But Ani has a secret. There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her and that threatens destroy everything. With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to have it all.
Ani FaNelli is the epitome of young, modern women. And that’s not a good thing. Image-obsessed, cruel, and deceptive, Ani isn’t crazy so much as extraordinarily damaged from two traumatic high school events that are expertly revealed, piece by piece, in this masterful debut. I loved the anger in this political, well-observed novel, made more powerful by the reveal that Knoll’s own sexual assault contributed to its creation. Contemporary and timely: believe the hype.
Crazy like: Carrie Bradshaw with a cleaver.
Best crazy moment: Ani’s choice of porn. (Ouch.)
Anna’s daughter Julie was kidnapped from her own bedroom when she was 13 years old, while Anna slept just downstairs. And then one night 8 years later, the doorbell rings. A young woman who appears to be Julie is finally, miraculously, home safe. Anna and the rest of the family are thrilled, but soon Anna begins to see holes in Julie’s story. When she is contacted by a former detective turned private eye, she is forced to wonder if this young woman is even her daughter at all. And if she isn’t Julie, what is it that she wants?
Years after 13-year-old Julie was kidnapped from her bedroom, she turns up on the doorstep of her family’s home. But is this young woman the real Julie? Propulsive and suspenseful, GOOD AS GONE will keep readers guessing until the final pages.