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  • Mandy McHugh

The Imposter, Marin Montgomery: A Review

Sometimes, I go into a book without any expectations, and after a string of particularly heavy books, I was eager to start a title with a psychological bent that would keep me on my toes.

When Sibley is forced on sabbatical from her law firm, she decides to return to her childhood home in order to face her demons. Upon arrival, however, she finds her mother Deborah in waning health. She's seeing things. She's hearing things. And running beneath their familial tensions is a deeper, darker secret that no longer wishes to remain buried. I liked this book. First, I'm a huge fan of unreliable narrators, and in Deborah and Sibley, we get two. You never know which one you can trust most, if either, and because of that, this is a read that will keep you turning pages. Their voices are distinct and in terms of painting a troubled relationship between mother and daughter, Montgomery succeeded. Indeed, the most interesting parts of this story were the moments when Sibley and Deborah butted heads or confronted each other. I had some issues that kept me from falling in love. The characterizations (and sometimes descriptions) felt inconsistent and a little scattered at times. While I found the mind-bending questions of who was telling the truth fascinating, I didn't care for the fact that some of the more bizarre or "out there" moments were left unexplained--which is surprising considering I also found that the action of this story is almost entirely in reiterations of the past. We get different accounts of what happened back in the day, but we're never really in that moment, partially to propel the mystery and suspense, but also because the narrative switches from first to third, and I think if we'd had a flashback, the structure wouldn't have worked for the big twist in the end. So I understand the choices, but I wished the conflict was more present tense than relayed through conversations. Overall, The Imposter is an interesting read that explores complex mother/daughter relationships and touches on several relevant social issues. I'd recommend to fans of quiet psychological suspense, as I think readers will relate to the story at its core. Big thanks to Thomas and Mercer and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review considerations.

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