Book Review: The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances


Book Title and Author: The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances
Publication Date and Publisher: January 30, 2018 by Kensington Books
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Adult, Domestic Drama
Pages: 432 pages
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Date Read: January 24, 2018 (e-Arc)

3.5 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis:

A chilling domestic thriller, The Girlfriend brilliantly renders the relationships between a fiercely protective mother, a charming son, and the young woman who will stop at nothing to come between them.

Laura Cavendish can’t wait to meet the woman who’s won her son’s affection. Despite a successful career in television and a long, prosperous marriage, Laura’s world revolves around kind, talented Daniel. She pictures his new girlfriend, Cherry, becoming a close friend and confidante . . . one day, even a daughter-in-law.

But although Cherry is beautiful and amiable, Laura can’t warm to her. There’s something about the possessive way she touches Daniel, the little lies Laura detects. Cherry seems to resent Laura, driving a wedge between mother and son—until one day Daniel is injured in a terrible accident. Six months later, with Daniel still in a coma and facing death, Laura makes a fateful decision—and carries out an astonishing deceit.

A handsome doctor for a husband, with a trust fund and a family villa in St. Tropez—it was all supposed to be Cherry’s. Now, instead of living with Daniel in his impeccable home, she’s jobless and broke. And then Cherry discovers Laura’s stunning deception. But Cherry is too clever, too ambitious to let her get away with it. She’d already transformed herself into Daniel’s dream woman. Now she’ll become Laura’s worst nightmare.

My Review:

When I requested The Girlfriend from Edelweiss, I did it based on the intense, chilling sounding premise that promises readers that it’s a “gripping, artfully plotted psychological thriller.” However…and once again…this is a book that is marketed to be something that it is not since it’s much more of a domestic drama with a few spine-tingling and creepy moments thrown in. While reading it, I imagined a very dramatic, over the top, suspenseful, soap opera type, made for TV movie, which isn’t a bad thing but not at all what I expected. Regardless that the book has been mismarketed, I think that many people who enjoy light suspense or tense, apprehensive family dramas will like this book or even love it.

Actually, I really enjoyed the book! To be honest, it was a bit of a pageturner because it has an addictive quality that draws you in since you want to see what terrible things the two main female characters are going to do next…and believe me, there are some insane, diabolical things happening in this book! However, I didn’t love the book. My biggest problems (besides its not being a psychological thriller) is its uneven pacing, and it is quite predictable in parts due to an overabundance of cliches. Otherwise, it would have been a 4 star read.

What worked well in the novel is Michelle Frances wrote fantastic and highly believable characters who just happen to be some of the most unreliable narrators that I’ve come across in a long time! Laura is an overbearing mother who only wants what any mother wants for her son–for him to be safe and have the best life can offer. Yet, she takes possessive too a whole new level of crazy when she begins to suspect that her son Daniel’s new girlfriend, Cherry, is a lying, conniving golddigger. You soon learn there is a reason for Laura’s fierce overprotectiveness of her son, and it pulls at your heartstrings. At the same time, her lies and manipulations in the middle of the book towards Cherry are insane! It made me really glad that my mother-in-law likes me!

Then there is Cherry, the girlfriend. Let me just tell you that I absolutely despised Cherry. I may have disliked Laura at times but at times, I felt sorry for her. I never felt sorry for Cherry. Cherry’s a girl who was brought up by a poor, single mother, and she’s determined to have a life of luxury, and Daniel is the key to the life she thinks she deserves. Nothing is going to stand in her way, certainly not his mother! This was an intense, twisted, cruel character. **Slight Spoiler** There is one scene near the end of the book that involves animal cruelty where I almost DNF’d the book because I was so sickened and upset. So if you have a problem with animal cruelty, this book is not for you! *** But even with Cherry’s twisted, messed up deceptions and manipulations, this still wasn’t thriller material.

This book is seriously crazy though but in a good way. Yes, it has predictable cliches and unlikeable characters but when I was reading it, I felt like I was being sucked into the lies and deceit taking place. The ending was a bit of a let down since the buildup was full of creeping apprehension and tension, but I’m okay with the way it ended.

My best advice is read this book without any expectations of it being a psychological thriller or suspense and know it’s a twisted, dark domestic drama. I believe if my expectations had been different, then I would have enjoyed The Girlfriend much more. I still recommend it, and I would like to read more of Frances’ books in the future.

** Thank you Edelweiss, Kensington Books, and Michelle Frances for an ARC copy in exchange for my fair and honest review.**

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About the Author: Michelle Frances


Michelle Frances graduated from Bournemouth Film School in 1996 and then from the Master’s programme at the American Film Institute, Los Angeles, in 1998. Returning to London, she has worked for several years in film and TV as a script editor and producer for both the independent sector and the BBC.

The Girlfriend is her first novel.

Find out more at


22 thoughts on “Book Review: The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances

  1. I can’t handle animal cruelty so this is definitely a no for me! I’ve been finding several of my recent reads were miss marketed or misleading in the marketing strategy which is so frustrating! Great review though Stephanie!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. No, me either! If it hadn’t happened at around the 88% point in the book, I would have just stopped reading it. But by that point, it seemed pointless. It was just so unnecessary to the plot since it was a method of revenge and to terrorize another character. I’m sure another way could have been found.

      Yes! I’ve been very frustrated lately with the the mismarketed books, especially ones labeled psychological thrillers. I know that genre sells, and throwing that on there garners attention, but it just frustrates and annoys those of us who are avid readers of the genre and have high expectations. Thank you! 😊

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I really don’t understand why stuff with animals is being done so much lately. It really can ruin a book for me and definitely affect my rating. It seems like it’s actually getting used more often. It makes my heart race and I get stressed and I don’t like feeling that way. Soon as an animal is mentioned in the book now I start to worry about it. I’m glad you mentioned it.
    Excellent post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t either! I hate it, and I think it’s totally unnecessary. This scene happened around the 87% point, really came out of the blue to be honest with the way it was set up, so I do give the author props for shock value! But I would have loved to have been shocked a completely different way!! I would have stopped reading the book if I hadn’t read so much of it and only had a few chapters left to read before finishing! Thank you! 🙂


  3. Excellent review, Stephanie 🙂 Sorry to hear it wasn’t what you expected. It did catch my interest, especially the characters Laura and Cherry. I love books that draw you in. Maybe I’ll pick this one up sometime. 🙂 Have a great weekend 🙂 ❤


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jo-Ann! It was still a good read! They were some crazy, delicious characters!! Cherry, especially was awful and one you love to hate! I think you would enjoy it 😊📚❤ You too!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well I do like messed up and crazy books… but I tend to shy away more from domestic stuff than psychological thrillers- it’s really good to know that this was miss-marketed- because I like to know what I’m getting into before I pick something up! Thanks for the heads up! I’m glad that you enjoyed it and that it was a page turner, even with the uneven pacing- great review!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh me too…and I would definitely rather read a psychological thriller any day of the week although I’ve read so many lately even the wildest of them seem tame. I’m going to have to read some horror soon to spook me! I’m just so done with the marketing of the books as psychological thrillers. It seems to be a theme throwing that label on a tension, creepy drama in hopes it makes it sell. Oh, you’re welcome! Me either! I don’t think I would have enjoyed it and would have DNFd it if the characters hadn’t been so wicked and wonderful to hate! I honestly haven’t hated a character this much in I can’t remember when, lol!! Thanks! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It was good! Hated that I was expecting a psychological thriller though, lol. I think it would make a fantastic movie though although I will DEFINITELY keep my eyes closed when it’s the puppy part. Thank you!! I should have skipped that part…I don’t know why I thought she was being nice there, ugh!! I should have known she was up to something awful!! I think since my dog just died 2 months ago, that I’m still super sensitive to pet things, but animal abuse in books always gets me. I think I was one of the very few who didn’t like The Marsh King’s Daughter last summer because of it!! Ugh!


  5. I do like the sound of the two women. They sound a bit dark and twisted, especially Cherry so that has me intrigued about the book. Too bad about the misleading marketing. That can really ruin a book since you end up going into it with totally different expectations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cherry is definitely dark and twisted! Evil really! Laura is more manipulative and gets in over her head! It was too bad about the mismarketing. I know they do it since psychological thrillers sell so well, but it really can ruin the book. Luckily this one had enough going for it to keep my interest! 😊


  6. Great review, Stephanie! This doesn’t really sound like one I would enjoy. Sorry it didn’t meet your expectations. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the book. 💖 Happy Valentine’s Day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jenn! It was a bit crazy that is for sure! I definitely would have liked it more if my expectations hadn’t been up there for a big thriller, but that seems to be happening a lot with some of the marketing, lol. Maybe I won;t read the blurbs….Idk…I think you would REALLY enjoy The Great Alone that I just read by Kristin Hannah. I’m not sure if you have read anything by her (The Nightingale?), but it was so amazing. Reminded me a bit of Jodi Picoult with the storytelling. I always cry and cry when reading her books! Anyway! Sorry that I’ve been off the grid. Kayley tested postive for Strep B on Wed last week, and it has been a nightmare. I ended up getting it over the weekend as well but because she had bronchitis at the same time and has asthma, she went into respiratory distress, so I had to call 911 to take her to the ER on Monday, and she spent overnight there Monday night and was released late Tuesday. She was dehydrated too. The Tamiflu the gave her just made her throw up, so we had to stop giving it to her after the 1st day, so that didn’t help towards the dehydration!! She’s doing better now, thank God because I was going crazy scared! She’s on antibiotics, steroids, albuterol, cough meds, etc. She’s home from school the rest of the week, so she’ll have missed 9 days…ugh! I still have a 102 fever, and it’s been 4 days since I was diagnosed, but they said it would come and go. I had to call my rheumatologist, and she said since my immune system is so low anyway that I’m in the high risk category for having flu complications, so she started me on augmentin as a prophylactic to try and prevent pneumonia since I got pneumonia last yr after having the flu and was in the hospital 3 days…and I just had pneumonia over the summer!! I totally forgot today was V-day! Wow! I felt really bad, but I will make it up to hubby and the kids when I’m better! Except when I was with Kayley at the hospital, I haven’t left my bed (well to go to the bathroom). It’s been a week…ugh…my middle son was in a car accident last Tues and hubby had to take him to the ER because he has a concussion and injured his shoulder! He just went back to school today! I’m praying the flu for me and her is the end of all this!! I’ve got reviews to write for the week that I fell behind on and blogs to catch up on! 😦 A little at a time I guess. Happy Valentine’s Day!! I hope it was lovely!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’ve got to be kidding! What is up with the strep? I’m hearing people talk about getting strep with this crazy flu. I’m so very sorry to hear you are having all these problems. I feel so bad for you. Are you okay? Your poor daughter too and son! I’m praying for you guys for quick recoveries. This flu is the worst and I surely hope your fever comes down.

        My kids are sick now, but it appears to be a cold and not flu. They have had fevers but not super high or anything. Ugh, I’ll be happy when this flu season is over.

        I hope everything else is going okay. Hope to chat soon. Man, we need to catch up! 💙 Get well soon wishes!!! 💗💖💗💖😘

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m glad I saw your review. I own this one, but haven’t felt like picking it up. Animal cruelty is a fail for me. They are defenseless and I hate when authors use them as a shock value. I can usually just skim it, but it just angers me so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes!! It makes me so angry! That and child abuse!! I would have skimmed this part if I’d expected it, but I didn’t although in hindsight I should have! If you want to read it at some point, send me a message and I’ll give you a hint of the area to skip. It’s thankfully towards the end!!


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