Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki
English | 2017 | Mystery/Thriller| ePUB | 3.2 MB
A sinister, sexy noir about art, motherhood, and the intensity of female friendships, set in the posh hills above Los Angeles, from the New York Times bestselling author of California. High in the Hollywood Hills, writer Lady Daniels has decided to take a break from her husband. She’s going to need a hand with her young son if she’s ever going to finish her memoir. In comes S., a magnetic young artist, who will live in the secluded guest house out back, care for Lady’s young toddler son, and keep a watchful eye on her older, teenage, one. S. performs her day job beautifully, quickly drawing the entire family into her orbit, and becoming a confidante for Lady. But as the summer wears on, S.’s connection to Lady’s older son takes a disturbing, and possibly destructive, turn. Lady and S. will move closer to one another as they both threaten to harm the things they hold most dear.
Darkly comic, twisty and tense, this mesmerizing novel defies expectation and proves Edan Lepucki to be one of the most talented and exciting voices of her generation.
I wasn’t born with the name lady. My birth certificate reads Pearl, and I was called that for the first year of my life until one evening, as my mother was getting ready for a party, I stepped into her shoes. They were so big, the heels so high, that I couldn’t lift my feet. I had to ski across the room to her.
“Look, Mommy,” I said.
My mother glanced up from her jewelry box or her address book or her vodka soda and said, “What a lady.” Like that, I had a new name. Like that, I became someone else.
It would be a sweet little story if my mother weren’t so damaged. She didn’t talk to anyone in her family, wouldn’t say why, and she rarely let me see my dad until it was too late and he was in the hospital with the stroke that would kill him. For as long as I could remember, it had always been just my mother and me, marooned on our pathetic female island. If she forgot to pick me up from school—which was more often than I want to admit—I’d have to walk the three miles home. Once I took the bus and my mother was appalled. “We do not take public transportation!” she cried. In the eighth grade, I hitched a ride from a woman who said I looked like an orphan, shivering like I was, my hair a mess.
“There’s something to that,” I told her.
When I was a girl, my mother would sing me “Happy Birthday” at night as a lullaby. If that sounds cute, it wasn’t. Even now I equate the song with darkness, with the long toss-and-turn to dawn, and on my birthday, I still ask for something else. “Sing me Elton John or whatever,” I’ll say, because I don’t know his songs, not really. Marco once refused me this request, and I wouldn’t blow out the candles. They burned down to little eraser-tops, the wax pooling into the white frosting until Marco intercepted, pulling the candles out in a mad rush, extinguishing the flames between his fingers. I wish I could say that was our last birthday together, but then I got pregnant with Seth so we dragged things out for another year or so.
Did you know that if you bite on a real pearl, it should feel gritty against your teeth? I learned that when I was in my twenties, and ever since I’ve wished for my old name back. But I’m Lady now, for better or for worse, and people love the name, or they say they do.