It’s a normal afternoon when I walk out the patio doors of our kitchen to check on Mia, my stepdaughter, who is swimming in our backyard pool. But she’s gone. My heart stops when I see the back gate is open, her pink, fluffy towel lying folded on a chair. I was just feet away. Why didn’t I hear her scream? Who took our little girl?
My husband can’t understand how I could have let his daughter disappear. And when the police come asking questions, I wish I could wind back time to that normal afternoon when I was cooking lasagna for my family, Mia’s favorite. I can tell the officers don’t believe me: they’ve cast me as the evil stepmother.
I just wish I could understand the messages I’ve found from my husband on Mia’s phone: I’m so sorry, I still love you. And why his wedding ring is found at the bottom of the pool after Mia disappeared. He never told me it was missing. What else is he hiding?
But the detective keeps asking me where I was during those ten minutes when Mia vanished. And I can’t tell her my secret. From the way she’s looking at me, I know she thinks I did something to my stepdaughter. Mia and I haven’t always been that close and sometimes she drives me nuts, just like any normal teenager, but I would never hurt her.
I just need you to believe me.
A twisty novel packed with unputdownable suspense about the power and damage of secrets we hide. Perfect for anyone who was totally hooked by The Mother-in-Law, Kerry Fisher and Big Little Lies.
Readers are utterly gripped by The Stepdaughter!
“Wow!! Where do I begin? What an absolutely gripping, intense psychological thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat, flying through the pages and full of suspense!!… I cannot wait to read more books by the very talented Georgina Cross who I will definitely be adding to my top authors list!!! A mind-blowing, suspense-filled, psychological, page-turning thriller!!!” Goodreads Reviewer ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“Wowser! This was a fast mover. I literally read The Stepdaughter in two sittings and don’t know where today went… I think I suspected just about everyone at some point… I’d definitely recommend this book to fast-paced psychological thriller lovers. It’s not one to be missed. Be prepared to lose time once you start reading!” NetGalley Reviewer ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“Awesome book! I Absolutely LOVED this book!! I liked the characters and the story was so good, the ending got me. All in all, a Great read.” NetGalley Reviewer ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“Oh my word what a brilliant book this is, it got me interested from the very first page… and soon became a fast-paced psychological thriller which I couldn’t put down. It was extremely well written, excellent characters, brilliantly addictive. I was holding my breath until the very last page, all this with an ending I didn’t guess.” NetGalley Reviewer ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“Took off like a bullet and never let up the whole time… Had me hooked from the beginning… The ending was amazing – I never saw any of that coming… Clear your schedule because once you pick it up you won’t be able to put it down… You will read it again and again because one time just won’t be enough.” Goodreads Reviewer ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“So good that I finished this book in one go! A real rollercoaster ride type of thriller, fast paced with so many twists and turns in each chapter that will send your mind reeling… I was so hooked into the story that I didn’t even know I could finish the book that fast!” Tropical Girl Reads ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“Gripping, fast paced and filled with twists and turns. I immensely enjoyed this thrill-ride of a book. Had me on the edge of my seat, holding my breath to find out what was coming.” Goodreads Reviewer ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“I spent the whole book changing my mind about what happened and who was responsible and did not ever draw the right conclusions on this one. It’s a great read and I can see this becoming a TV series.” Goodreads Reviewer ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“Had me hooked at page one and soon became a fast-paced thriller, filled with twists and turns along the way… A thrilling ride with a surprising ending not many people would predict… Thoroughly recommend.” Crease in the Spine Books
“What a debut it is! I was hooked immediately, and the story flowed seamlessly as I was led down a dark and twisty path of secrets and deception… A highly enjoyable and compulsive read that kept me guessing until the very end… An author to watch.” Goodreads Reviewer ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“Great read!!… Outstanding writing and it kept me hooked right until the last twist on the last page!” NetGalley Reviewer ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Customer ReviewsSee All
The Stepdaughter, by Georgina Cross, is an easy read that is full of twists. Thank you Netgalley, Bookouture, and Georgina Cross for allowing me the privilege of reading The Stepdaughter. My feedback is voluntary and expresses my own opinions.
Tripp was devastated after his wife died and he was left as a widow to care for his young daughter Mia. Not long after her death he meets Vanessa, and they are married two years later. He is a wealthy attorney and comes from a highly respectable family with old money so he and Vanessa know that they will never have any financial worries. The generations of his family were established early in their community, so he has a shining reputation.
Vanessa worked hard to accomplish her status in the workforce, and was somewhat disappointed when Tripp asked her to quit working to take care of Mia until she finished middle school. Mia was so young when her mother died that he doesn’t want her to ever feel scared or alone so Vanessa gives in and agrees to be a stay at home mom. Although she loves Mia as if she was her own child, she struggles with the idea of living in the same house where her mother lived and being compared to her. Does Tripp love Vanessa as much as he did Susannah? Over time she makes changes to the house so that it isn’t still set up as a shrine to his late wife but she makes sure to have her things put in storage so that Mia can have them when she’s older and so that that part of her life is never forgotten. With Tripp working late, long hours, Vanessa is left to be the one to do most of the running around for their family and taking care of everything. When Mia was younger it was easier to learn how to be a parent, but the older she gets the harder it becomes for Vanessa to know the right things to say and do. When she and Tripp first married she was convinced that she could help fix him and Mia, but she’s not so sure anymore. As tensions rise over the years, Mia’s emotions explode when Vanessa accidentally misses a mother daughter tea and overhears Vanessa when she is talking to her best friend on the phone. Other things have slowly mounted over the years that have also left Mia and Vanessa feeling at odds with one another.
Mia is a typical teenager with raging mood swings compounded with grief over missing her mother. She is a highly awarded swimmer though and finds solace in swimming. She admires her swim coach and relishes in his praise, but when rumors start circulating that his behaviors towards the girls on the team are inappropriate, his image and intentions become highly questionable.
While the next door neighbors house is going up in flames, Mia is swimming laps in the pool in her backyard one minute, but is gone the next. As emergency services are called and a search for Mia is underway, Julia, their next door neighbor coms to stay with Vanessa to try to help her.. Although she’s heart broken over the loss of their house, especially since it was built when the community was first established and is irreplaceable, she does her best to try to comfort Vanessa. Julia’s mother, Charlotte lives with her and her husband because of her struggles with dementia, which make it impossible for her to live on her own. At the best of times she is somewhat coherent, but for the most part she is easily confused and unable to make sense of things.
When Vanessa discovers that Mia is gone, she panics and calls Tripp. She’s convinced that Mia didn’t just randomly leave on her own because her dry towel by the pool suggests that she didn’t even dry off when she got out and it in incomprehensible that she would’ve gone anywhere wearing only a wet bathing suit.
When police investigations start to intensify, everyone tells their own version of the truth and the events that led up to Mia’s disappearance, but they also make sure to keep their individual secrets hidden because exposing the complete truth would make it seem more plausible that they had motives to hurt Mia.
Set in Alabama, in a community where everyone knows everyone else, the story is told primarily between the main detective, Vanessa, Julia, and Mia with the timing of the events going back and forth from before and after the day Mia disappeared. Although it was somewhat predictable, it was an easy read, and I especially loved the twist at the end!