Assuming her best friend’s identity, Daphne Marist flees her home and husband, infant daughter in tow, for the sanctuary of a remote mansion, secretly taking a job as a live-in archivist for her favorite author.
The book's first-person narrative opens right into Daphne's fractured memories, so it isn't immediately clear to the reader why she needs refuge—but Goodman (The Widow’s House, 2017, etc.) lays intriguing clues, including a soaked baby blanket and inexplicable light signals. Once ensconced in Schuyler Bennett’s mansion, tucked away in the Catskills and next door to a mental asylum, Daphne sorts the puzzle pieces. She met Laurel Hobbes in a support group for new mothers battling postpartum depression. They bonded quickly—after all, they had a lot in common, including infant daughters named Chloe and difficult relationships with their older husbands. Soon Daphne and Laurel have similar clothes, haircuts, and gym habits. Meanwhile, Daphne’s husband, Peter, questions whether Daphne is mentally stable. Has she fully recovered from her attempt to overdose shortly after Chloe's birth? Remembering little more than his hands on her shoulders, shaking her awake in the bathtub, Daphne can only rely on Peter’s version of the story. Meanwhile, Laurel’s hold on reality begins disintegrating, and her husband, Stan, confides in Daphne that Laurel, too, has battled mental illness. In Schuyler’s archives, Daphne discovers records for Edith Sharp, an inmate at the asylum who, 40 years ago, also suffered from postpartum depression and was treated by Schuyler's father. Edith's life seems to have inspired Schuyler's short story “The Changeling.” Curious, Daphne visits the asylum, where she finds herself caught up in a nefarious plot that may cost her her very sanity. In the spirit of Du Maurier’s Rebecca, Goodman has concocted a labyrinthine tale of tangled identities, and every twist of the plot exposes more ghosts from the past preying on the present.
A Gothic thriller deliciously riddled with dark motives and shadowy paths.