Mother’s Day means different things to different people. To some it’s a day of celebration, to others it’s a reminder of the worst days of your life. 20 years ago on Mother’s Day a baby was stolen from a stroller. Now, two murders exactly 20 years later, are opening up old wounds from the kidnapping and have unknowingly tied four women together. 80-year-old Edith is convinced she doesn’t need to be living in a nursing home while her estranged daughter Clio is struggling to cover the financial cost of the home and keep her life together. 18-year-old Patience, as a caretaker at the nursing home, has developed fond feelings for Edith but is also searching for answers on her past. Lastly, prison librarian Frankie is convinced Clio knows where her runaway daughter is and is determined to find her. All four of these women have secrets, and this Mother’s Day they’re all about to be revealed.
In Good Bad Girl, Feeny tackles the complex dynamics of mother daughter relationships, and she has certainly crafted some unique and interestingly flawed characters. I found all our main narrators to be both unlikable and likable at the same time but while I felt they were well crafted, the different POVs and not fully understanding how they were connected gave the story a slow start. The web Feeney was laying out for us with these characters was almost too complex which made the first half of the book feel slow. Once I finally started to make connections, I had lost some of my initial interest in the story.
Something that could be triggering for some people but that I appreciated in this story as a new mom, is Feeney’s portrayal of postpartum depression and what it means to be a good mother. As a newer mom, I’m finding myself to be very vocal about the struggles women face in the 4th trimester and on. Even though this is a thriller with a kidnapping, I feel strongly that the more we see these topics in mainstream media the more likely we are to see change in the way society stigmatizes new moms. But this could certainly be a Trigger Warning for some people.
I’m ashamed to say that while I have copies of Daisy Darker and Rock Paper Scissors, this is my first Alice Feeney book. I think with most her books it’s good to just dive into the story without any context and so I’m glad that’s what I did here. While I did enjoy this book, the complexity of the plot bordered on confusing resulting in 3.5 stars rounded up to a 4-star rating.
Good Bad Girl comes out August 3, 2023. Huge thank you to Flatiron Books for my advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion. If you liked this review please let me know either by commenting below or by visiting my instagram @speakingof.books.