Summer Reading: The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

The Perfect Girlfriend has been on Lindsay and my unread shelf for quite some time, and we finally decided to pull it off our shelf, dust it off and find the perfect summer spot to read it. Unfortunately, I could only read it outside once due to the rain. It’s putting a damper on my summer reading plans, but I made the best of it and read The Perfect Girlfriend inside while imagining all the places I could fly on one of Juliette’s flights. She may not be the perfect girlfriend but just might be the perfect flight attendant.

What makes The Perfect Girlfriend a great summer read?

  • Pure entertaining escapism
  • Readable, good one to escape from the rest of the world and immerse yourself in this fictional world
  • Takes obsession to whole new level. Juliette’s obsessions and cold her attitude will chill you to the bone on a hot summer day while entertaining you.

Where to read The Perfect Girlfriend

On a flight for a sense of place that might add some extra turbulence to your reading experience

In your hotel room after a busy day in the city sightseeing as you are relaxing with Gun N’ Roses playing in the background.

In the backyard or anywhere outside

In your favorite chair if it is raining outside like it was when Brenda read it

What to drink while reading The Perfect Girlfriend

Lindsay’s favorite summer drink is a gin smash, so I had to join in on that and drink one while I was reading The Perfect Girlfriend.

Wine and I am sure Juliette would love to you some while reading this one but be sure to stay away from a kir royale

I also had a glass of wine while I was reading it inside because it was raining.

This takes obsession to a whole new level! ~Lindsay

The hook, pace, and tropes: Was the story a page-turner?

Juliette is determined to win back Nate who broke up with her six months ago. She will stop at nothing to become his ideal partner. ~Lindsay

Yes! This was a wild and crazy ride that I loved following. I really enjoyed the inside look at flight attendant training and all that is involved in their career path. Karen Hamilton did a fantastic job engrossing me in the main character’s obsessive, snarky and manipulative mind. I was gripped and entertained and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to see what she would do next! ~Lindsay

Juliette is the psycho ex-girlfriend, a trope I am not a big fan of, however, she is not the typical character for this trope. She is calm, calculating, and deceptive but is not delusional, erratic, or seeking approval. She has a clear plan, sticks to it, and is confident. While she believes she is the perfect girlfriend for Nate and has her secret reasons, she is not taking any blame because of a man. She is a well-developed character, and it was easy to sympathize with her. At times I found myself surprisingly cheering her on. Her behavior is shocking, and like Lindsay, I wanted to know what she would do next.

Believability element: Did it blur the lines between fiction and reality with a believability element that made us think it could happen?

While it was not realistic, and many things are unlikely to happen or get away with, it has a well-developed backstory that makes Juliette’s motivations for revenge convincing. It didn’t feel over the top or too much to be in Juliette’s head.

Payoff: Are the twists and turns exciting and shocking with a rewarding payoff in the end?

Yes, It was a twisted and tension filled story that kept me on my toes. ~ Lindsay

Yes, The final reveal surprised me and everything came together well in the end to make it a rewarding read for me. ~ Brenda

Is it hyped? Would we recommend it?

No, it’s underrated and one we recommend. It has all the elements of a clever well-structured domestic suspense. 

Published in Feb 2018/ Read in June 2022

From our shelf of read books by Karen Hamilton

The Last Wife

Brenda’s thoughts

The Last Wife takes us into our main character, Marie’s head, after the death of her best friend, Nina, who had what Marie wants most. A tangled, messy, twisty web of obsession, jealousy, possession and secrets start to form. Being in Marie’s head is intense, and her thoughts are a bit much at times. I wasn’t sure how to feel about her, and, at times, I felt empathy for her, and she entertained me and other times I was rolling my eyes at her.

There are a few unlikeable characters here with secrets of their own weaved into the story making this a twisty one. It’s all about those secrets and the story takes on a lighter feel to it then this dark and twisted reader is used to. The drama to the story moves it forward and there’s are a few strings to the storyline. I became tangled up in the strings trying to figure out what direction the story was going and just when I thought I untangled the line, it got tried up in another one. Around the halfway mark, the story goes in a direction I was not expecting, and buried secrets start to come to light. Marie is determined to find the answers, and the tension begins to rise, and I was exhausted from looking for answers to my questions.

Lindsay’s thoughts

Things wrap up well and this one makes for a lighter, suspenseful read with some drama to it!

Unlikable and unreliable characters within a dramatically implausible plot.

An intriguing premise that piqued my curiosity. I do like books with unreliable, manipulative characters which this novel has plenty of. I can tolerate unlikable characters as long as they are entertaining and unique. Unfortunately I didn’t find any of these characters remotely interesting. Within the first several pages I knew I wasn’t clicking with the narrative.

The main character was extremely conniving and sneaky. From the start her personality felt forced and overly dramatic and I just wasn’t buying into it. This distracted me and overshadowed any sort of enjoyment I may have found within the storyline.

The plot lacked tension and suspense. There wasn’t anything about the storyline that kept me curious or intrigued. It was an entertaining story but overall it was unthrilling and unmemorable.

This was my first experience with this author and this simply wasn’t a good fit for me. I need my storylines to have plausibility and characters worth rooting for (whether likeable or not).

Published and read in July 2020

Copies received by publishers for blog tour