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. Left alone with her children, she’s going to need a hand taking care of her young son if she’s ever going to finish her memoir. In response to a Craigslist ad, S arrives, a magnetic young artist who will live in the secluded guest house out back, care for Lady’s toddler, Devin, and keep a watchful eye on her older, teenage son, Seth. S performs her day job beautifully, quickly drawing the entire family into her orbit, and becoming a confidante for Lady.
But in the heat of the summer, S’s connection to Lady’s older son takes a disturbing, and possibly destructive, turn. And as Lady and S move closer to one another, the glossy veneer of Lady’s privileged life begins to crack, threatening to expose old secrets that she has been keeping from her family. Meanwhile, S is protecting secrets of her own, about her real motivation for taking the job. S and Lady are both playing a careful game, and every move they make endangers the things they hold most dear.
Darkly comic, twisty and tense, this mesmerizing new novel defies expectation and proves Edan Lepucki to be one of the most talented and exciting voices of her generation.
“Woman No. 17 tastes like a juice box of suburban satire laced with Alfred Hitchcock. A wicked fun critique of motherhood and women’s friendships…The disclosures that Lepucki engineers in this smart novel are sometimes painful, sometimes hilarious, always irresistible.”
– Washington Post
“While Woman No. 17 does possess all the trappings of a frothy page-turner — stormy arguments, showy melodrama, and (oops!) an affair, there are some quiet, serious moments, too. It’s the intersection between the two that makes this read both scintillating and thought-provoking.”
– San Francisco Chronicle
“..Keen-eyed, artfully noirish study of the psychological Bermuda Triangle that develops between a wealthy single mother, her selectively mute teenage son, and the more-than-she-seems nanny who’s brought into their lives.” (Grade: A-)
– Entertainment Weekly
“Sexy, shadowy, suspenseful.”
– Los Angeles Daily News
“Both deliciously complicated women attempt to repair the damage of their upbringings even as their lives spiral further and further out of control. Lepucki anchors Lady and S’s wild ride with keen observations and sympathy for her unmoored creations—their humanity shines through even in their most unhinged moments. Astute, nuanced, and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, Woman No. 17 is the kind of book you’ll find yourself underlining, and it will stay with you long after you put it down.”
– Book of the Month Club (May selection)
“In Woman No. 17, Lepucki has crafted an intricate, gripping story of people behaving very badly. You will want to race to the end to see what happens, but don’t cheat yourself. This book deserves to be savored –gorgeously written, darkly comic, smart and thrilling.”
– Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, New York Times bestselling author of The Nest
Woman No. 17 is a provocative and timely meditation on art, authenticity and representation in a digital age. The increasingly gripping plot suggests the outcomes of a thriller, but at the crucial moment the novel swerves toward subtly profound truths about our capacity for self-sabotage and self-reinvention, the power of trauma to shape lives, and the inexorable gravity of family secrets. Lepucki’s smooth prose and deft handling of point of view reveal a writer fully in command.
– Matthew Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of We Are Not Ourselves
“Woman No. 17 fizzes with references to contemporary culture and sparks with larger, timeless questions: Where is the line between performance and identity? What separates life from art? And can we ever escape the gravitational pull of our parents? Edan Lepucki shows herself to be a sharp-eyed chronicler of our modern world.”
– Celeste Ng, New York Times bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You
“Taut as a thriller (with plenty of sex and secrets), Woman No. 17 raises big questions about identity, art, ethics, parenthood, and more. In Edan Lepucki’s hands, the philosophical is transformed into a page turner; I don’t know how she does it.”
–Rumaan Alam, author of Rich & Pretty
“[A] Hollywood noir about the electric bonds between women… this one is a safe bet for beach season.”
– The Week
“Lepucki’s brisk style and arresting characterizations make for a compelling portrait of womanhood in the present moment, right down to its intriguing integration of social media.”
– Publishers Weekly
“Lepucki’s arch and provocative tale of elaborate and privileged dysfunction poses sharp questions about inheritance, self-expression, and love.”
“Always enjoyable…this novel succeeds by staying light on its feet.”
Woman No. 17 appears on many of 2017’s most anticipated book lists including Vulture, The Millions, Huffington Post, Nylon, New York Observer, Washington Post, Redbook, SF Weekly, and The Boston Globe.