Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction, Mystery Thriller, Adult, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Adult Fiction, Ireland
Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | WorldCat
Trigger Warnings: Cheating, Adult Bullying, Childhood Bullying, Stalking, Arranged Marriage, Marital Rape, Neglect, Drug use, Depression, Mental Illness, Domestic Violence
A twisty, domestic suspense debut about a clique of mothers that shatters when one of their own is murdered, bringing chaos to their curated lives.
She was the perfect wife, with the perfect life. You would kill to have it…
Ciara Dunphy has it all–a loving husband, well-behaved children, and a beautiful home. Her circle of friends in their small Irish village go to her for tips about mothering, style, and influencer success–a picture-perfect life is easy money on Instagram. But behind the filters, reality is less polished.
Enter Mishti Guha: Ciara’s best friend. Ciara welcomed Mishti into her inner circle for being… unlike the other mothers in the group. But, discontent in a marriage arranged for her through her parents back in Calcutta, Mishti now raises her young daughter in a country that is too cold, among the children of her new friends who look nothing like her. She just wants what Ciara has–the ease with which she moves through the world–and in that sense, Mishti might be exactly like the other mothers.
And there’s earth mother Lauren Doyle, born, bred, and the butt of jokes in their village. With her disheveled partner and children who run naked in the yard, they’re mostly a happy lot, though unsurprisingly ostracized for being the singular dysfunction in Ciara’s immaculate world. When Lauren finds an unlikely ally in Mishti, she decides that her days of ridicule are over.
Then Ciara is found murdered in her own pristine home, and the house of cards she’d worked so hard to build comes crumbling down. Everyone seems to have something to gain from Ciara’s death, so if they don’t want the blame, it may be the perfect time to air their enemies’ dirty laundry.
In this dazzling debut novel, Disha Bose revolutionizes age-old ideas of love and deceit. What ensues is the delicious unspooling of a group of women desperate to preserve themselves.
The house smelled of porridge, detergent, and soiled nappies. A few years ago, it smelled of patchouli, filered coffee, and Black Opium by Yves Saint Laurent.
Diry Laundry by Disha Bose
Online, Ciara has a perfect life with perfect children and a perfect husband. In real life, though, Ciara is nothing like the image she has carefully cultivated. Her life would be perfect if her neighbor, Lauren, would take her disorganized, messy life and leave the village. Lauren will not go, so Ciara begins to make Lauren an outcast in their small village. Not that Lauren isn’t used to it. She grew up in this village and was bullied mercilessly by the same women she desperately wanted to connect with. She finds a friend and ally in Mishti. Mishti, originally from Calcutta, finds Ireland cold and wants to return to her family. Friends with Ciara, Mishti begins to see what type of person she is and starts to distance herself from Ciara. Then, one morning, Ciara is found dead in her house. Who wanted Ciara dead, and why? The answer to that question might shock you because nothing is what it seems about Ciara’s death.
Dirty Laundry was different from what I thought it would be, and you know what? I enjoyed it. As I read it, I did compare it to soap operas (mostly Days of Our Lives). The author did a great job of portraying the downfall of the Queen Bee of the local mom group in that village. I couldn’t get enough of it.
Before I get into the review, I want to inform you about this book’s trigger warnings. They would be:
- Cheating (Ciara, Parth (Mishti’s husband), and Sean (Lauren’s partner) cheated on their SOs constantly. For the most part, it wasn’t graphic.)
- Adult Bullying (Ciara led a group of women in bullying Lauren, and this did extend to Lauren’s children. Ciara was vicious with her attacks against Lauren, online and in person)
- Childhood Bullying (Lauren was bullied by the other children in her village her whole life. The author showcased a few examples in the book. Also, Lauren’s children were bullied by the children of Lauren’s bullies. It was never shown, but Freya, her oldest daughter, did mention it a couple of times in the book)
- Stalking (Before Sean and Lauren had children, Lauren stalked an ex-girlfriend of his and attacked her)
- Arranged Marriage (Mishti and Parth had an arranged marriage, which Mishti didn’t want)
- Marital Rape (There was one scene where Parth forced Mishti into having sex with him)
- Neglect (Ciara neglected her children, Bella and Finn. The baby was only picked up or comforted if it was for online pictures. Mishti did pick up Finn at one point in the book to comfort him, and Ciara blew up at her)
- Drug Use (Ciara was addicted to pills and used Parth to write her a prescription. Sean and Lauren used pot recreationally)
- Depression (Mishti was depressed since she got married and had her daughter. She had let herself go and could barely make herself do things)
- Mental Illness (Ciara was a narcissist. I do believe that Lauren had a mental illness. She revealed that she would have missing periods, and there was one point where she blacked out after Sean started hooking up with his ex-girlfriend).
- Domestic Violence (Parth pushed Mishti around at least once during the book. Sean and Lauren had a very volatile relationship, which consisted of verbal and mental abuse of each other)
If any of these triggers you, I recommend not reading the book.
I rarely flat-out disliked a character right from the beginning of a book. Ciara falls into that category. I don’t know how to describe her other than evil and narcissistic. She doesn’t care who she hurts and how they get hurt as long as she gets her way. And if you were in her crosshairs, forget about it. She would hurt you any way she could. But, I was surprised that she was willing to do what she did to Mishti. I figured that Mishti was exempt from Ciara’s shenanigans. But I was wrong. And I was doubly surprised at who she was sleeping with. Never, in a million years, would I have picked that person. My sympathy lay with her husband. And guess what? I didn’t blame him at all for his actions at the end of the book.
I couldn’t quite get a good handle on Mishti until her scenes in Calcutta. I felt terrible for her because she was trapped in a lonely marriage. But, as her storyline went on, I started to like her. Yes, she made mistakes, and yes, she was punishing herself for them. But, she resolved some of her regret and guilt when talking to her ex-boyfriend. I also liked how she wasn’t surprised when discovering Parth’s secret. I loved how her mind said, “How can I use this to take a trip back to Calcutta?” I was also not surprised at what she did at the end of the book.
Out of the three main characters, I liked Lauren the best. She got off on the wrong foot with Ciara, but she was a new mother with zero support from her partner and was operating on zero sleep. I didn’t blame her for being snippy. I also understood why she wanted to fit in with the other moms in her village. She tried to patch things up with Ciara until certain things were revealed. And you know what, I would have done the same thing, confronting Ciara. Unlike Ciara, her children’s happiness came first, and it showed. Freya, Harry, and Willow were happy, well-adjusted children. I was surprised by what she did at the beginning and her actions at the end of the book. I couldn’t help but feel that everything would be pinned on her.
The main storyline centers on Ciara, her murder, and the events leading up to it. The plotline does jump around quite a bit, but I didn’t care. As I said above, it was like I was reading a script for a soap opera. The author clearly states who the chapter is about and how far before Ciara’s murder, the events in the chapter took place. There was so much to unpack in each chapter, and the author did it wonderfully.
There were several sub-storylines with Parth, Sean, and Gerry (Ciara’s husband). Each storyline adds additional insight into how and why Ciara died. I loved reading them because of the extra understanding I got.
The end of Dirty Laundry was a free for all. The author told Ciara’s death from four perspectives (Sean, Gerry, Parth, and Mishti). Each view had an element that threw Ciara’s death into a new light. I am not going to go much more into the end. But, as I said above, Lauren will get the raw end of the deal because of her history with Ciara (and notice how she wasn’t on my list of people at the beginning of the paragraph).
I would recommend Dirty Laundry for anyone over 21. There are violence, language, and non-graphic sexual scenes. Also, see my list of trigger warnings.
Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books, NetGalley, and Disha Bose for allowing me to read and review Dirty Laundry. All opinions stated in this review are mine.
If you enjoyed reading this review of Dirty Laundry, then you will enjoy these books:
Other books by Disha Bose: