“Sinister, subversive, and somehow still grounded in a hyper-traditional, everyday reality.
With a simmering plot, an intelligent mess of a main character, and the fantasy of an equal household partnership, this book could not come at a better time. Overworked and underappreciated, Nora is emblematic of wives and mothers who have been expected to shoulder the brunt of housekeeping, child-rearing, and self-maintenance all while working a high-powered job. The question is, what is she willing to do about it?
Baker leans heavily into the tropes and stereotypes of Stepford Wives suburbia, a riff where people’s reactions to it will tell you a lot about their partnerships and/or their expectations of what a partnership looks like.”
Nora Spangler is a successful attorney but when it comes to domestic life, she finds she’s always the one doing more. She packs the lunches, schedules the doctor appointments, knows where the extra paper towel rolls are, and designs and orders the holiday cards. Her husband works hard, too…but why does it seem like she is always working so much harder?
The Spanglers go house hunting in Dynasty Ranch, a nice suburban neighborhood where Nora meets a group of high-powered women—a tech CEO, a neurosurgeon, an award-winning therapist, a bestselling author—with enviably supportive husbands. When she agrees to help with a resident’s gruesome wrongful death case, she delves into the lives of the women there. She finds the air is different in Dynasty Ranch. The women aren’t hanging on by a thread.
They swear by an unorthodox method of couples’ therapy that has transformed their relationships. Even as she fears digging up the secrets at the heart of her own marriage, Nora is tantalized by the possibility of a life that’s under control. The men seem strange. But maybe they’re just evolved. Soon Nora is relishing that her husband now shoulders half the load at home. But something is deeply wrong in Dynasty Ranch. As the case unravels, Nora uncovers a plot that may explain the secret to having-it-all. One that’s worth killing for.
Smart, sharp, and timely, this novel imagines a world where the burden of the “second shift” is equally shared – and what it might take to get there.