The tagline for The Hunting Wives was “How far would you go to fit in?” And before I talk about the plot of the book and my recommendation I want to talk about my personal feelings of isolation as a mother. It began almost immediately when I had children because my friends and I had kids at different times. Some started earlier, so they were busy. Then it was me, and no one wanted to hang out with me because either they were busy with toddlers or they weren’t down with hanging out with babies etc. I don’t have any siblings, I only have one parent and with no judgement I can say that she doesn’t particularly mess around with babies…so I could see the appeal of wanting to fit in with the “cool moms” as our main character Sophie does. Things are better for me now that I don’t have 3 kids under the age of 4, but man, those were tough times. So at first, I really got Sophie and then? I did not get Sophie at all… Soph, you blew it!!!
Sophie O’Neill believes her life should be a certain way. Part of that stems from her childhood where she was constantly uprooted and raised by an erratic mother. Sophie gives up a career that satisfies her to settle down with “the perfect man” and to raise the “perfect child” and have the perfect life. She’s constantly snapping pics for the ‘gram and just trying to be the embodiment of whatever it is society feels a perfect wife and mother should look like. Deep down though, she has feelings that she wants it all to implode because I’m pretty sure what’s perceived as perfect isn’t actually right for her at all. She pushes those feelings down because she doesn’t want to lose this perfect life.
When she goes to a charity event as a guest of her friend Erin, she meets and is enthralled by Margot Banks and her small crew of rich socialites. Sophie is instantly smitten in all ways. Margot is sexy, confident, rich, elegant and cool. So when Margot invites her to a secret “hunting party” Sophie is eager to be accepted into this group, even if she feels like she might lose herself–she might even be hoping to. The hunting parties entail going to Margot’s lake house property (oh how I wish someone would some day say that line but with my name in it, ha ha) and shooting skeet. The hunting part of the party happens after the shooting. The ladies get dolled up and go out looking for men. They all agree that they don’t actually sleep with the men they find, but do just about everything else…which, along with every other bullshit thing that comes out of Margot’s mouth, is a total lie. It’s after one of these hunting parties that Sophie realizes that Margot is sleeping with a member of the hunting party’s 18 year old son. And when that son’s girlfriend goes missing…Sophie has her suspicions.
The premise of this book is fantastic, and for a good portion of the book I was hooked. Then it went off the rails in a way that was less than fantastic and became rather ridiculous. I’ll tell you this much, if I were drugged once by someone in my circle and I knew it? I probably wouldn’t accept another drink at another occasion from the same person especially if I were the main person of interest in a murder investigation, a murder I knew I didn’t commit. So there’s that. Also, the characters are all so largely unlikeable (constant connections to Mean Girls but adults and geez, I experience that momstrosity every damn day, so no thank you please). I can’t really recommend the book because of the second half, but it started out strong and interesting and so I’m floundering somewhere between 2.5-3 stars.