Sunday, September 11, 2022

The Real Mrs. Tobias

The Real Mrs. Tobias by Sally Koslow
9/13/22; 336 pages

The Real Mrs. Tobias by Sally Koslow is a highly recommended domestic drama about mothers- and daughters-in-law.

This mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship story is set in NYC in 2015. The plot follows three women in the Tobias family. The matriarch, Veronika, is a psychotherapist; Melanie (Mel) is both a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law and a counselor; and Birdie who is newly married to Mel's son, Micah,is mother to Alice. When Micah does something irresponsible and stupid, all the women chime in with their opinions on what he should do and how he should respond. Since they have already been having marital problems, after a visit from the police, Birdie takes Alice back to her parents house in Iowa.

This is an entertaining look at how strong, determined women ostensibly keep families together but the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship story is also full of stereotypes. For the most part, each chapter was narrated by one of the Tobias women, Veronika, Mel, or Birdie. The focus on a multi-generational family and all the problems inherent in their lives allows for the plot to build drama and tension. The characters are portrayed as real people with flaws and shortcomings, but with a rather light touch.

Those who love family dramas will likely enjoy The Real Mrs. Tobias. The writing is excellent and Koslow does a good job providing drama and humor in the plot. Since I enjoyed it but didn't love it, I'm a bit of an outlier. Admittedly, I'm becoming rather tired of novels that are set in NYC, let alone portraying all Mid-Westerner's as stereo typically stoic. This could be a good choice for books clubs that focus on women's fiction since there are plenty of topics and plot points in the novel that beg discussion.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins via NetGalley.

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