Title: The New Girl
Author: Harriet Walker
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
UK Publication Date: Ebook – 19th May 2020 / Print – July 2020
US Publication Date: 19th May 2020
Glamorous Margot Jones is the fashion editor at glossy women’s magazine Haute, and pregnant with her first child. Margot’s used to her carefully curated life being the object of other women’s envy – who wouldn’t want her successful career, loving husband, beautiful house and stylish wardrobe?
Maggie, a freelance journalist, certainly knows she doesn’t measure up. So when Margot gets in touch to suggest she apply for her maternity cover at Haute, Maggie seizes the chance at living a better life – even if it’s only temporary.
But the simultaneous arrival of Margot’s baby and a brutal end to her oldest friendship sends Margot into a spiral of suspicion and paranoia. Are Maggie’s motives as innocent as they seem? And what happens at the end of the year when Margot wants her old life back – especially if Maggie decides she doesn’t want to leave?
As soon as I read the blurb of The New Girl I desperately wanted to read it. I’ve always found the fashion industry fascinating and combining that with a tension-filled thriller had me totally hooked. The New Girl follows Margot Jones, a fashion editor, who helps to pick her maternity cover at work. Maggie is the effervescent and lucky woman who falls in love with Margot’s job and as the maternity leave draws to an end, Maggie becomes less and less happy to give the job back. Margot meanwhile becomes more and more suspicious and paranoid whilst adjusting to motherhood, and dealing with an abrupt end to her relationship with Winnie, her longtime best friend.
I have to say, I absolutely loved this book. I raced through it, desperate to know how everything would end up. The focus on the relationships between women was riveting. There is the contrast between Margot and Maggie which plays out beautifully. We alternate between their points of view and whilst reading Margot’s chapters I was firmly empathising with her and suspicious of Maggie’s intentions. Then, come Maggie’s chapters, I flipped and would end up more on Maggie’s wavelength and wanting her to come out on top! I loved this back and forth. Then there’s the very complex friendship, or lack thereof, between Margot and Winnie. Theirs is a thorny, murky and intriguing relationship which becomes fractured at the beginning of the book after a tragic event. The New Girl revolves around these three women, highlighting the darkness and light within them all. A lot of this novel is about intention and perception. The question of how much of what we perceive someone to thinking about or doing to us is true and how much is our own insecurity or neurosis. Margot in particular struggles with this question. She becomes a mother and whilst there is the all consuming love that comes with that, it also heightens her anxiety and magnifies the perceived threat of Maggie and the darkness around her friendship with Winnie into an obsession. As things get more and more complicated and intense between these women, the author throws in a couple of expert twists that genuinely surprised me. I really don’t have a bad word to say about this gripping, stylish and incredibly compelling novel. The New Girl is perfect for fans of fashion and psychological thrillers. You don’t want to miss this one!
I received a copy of the book from the publisher. My review is my own honest opinion.