Between Two Strangers
June 3, 2023

Book Review

Between Two Strangers

reviewed by Valerie J. Brooks | Goodreads


Skylar Moore is in her small East Village studio working on her collages for an upcoming show when she receives a call that changes her life in more ways than one. Attorney Bradley Kane tells her she’s been left an inheritance of three-and-a-half million dollars. Shocked and disbelieving, she discovers who left it to her—Chris, a man she had a one-night stand with twelve years ago.

None of this makes sense. She thinks it might be a hoax but realizes it isn’t when the man’s wife threatens her. Chris’ mother comes to her as an ally. But when Skylar’s apartment is broken into, and someone tries to break into her studio, she suspects everyone—the wife, the mother, even the lawyer.

Skylar determines that the only way to find out who is threatening her is to get to the bottom of why an almost stranger left her the money. She won’t give up the money because her biggest dream is to have a baby, and Invitro is expensive.

When a new friend points out that Skylar’s one-night stand happened around the same time as Skylar’s sister’s death, Skylar is shaken, not having put the two incidents together. Could the inheritance be connected to her sister’s death? Maybe guilt money? Her sister fell off a cliff at a party. She appeared to have fallen after someone tore at her clothes. The police never determined what really happened. Now Skylar is left with the sickening feeling that maybe Chris had something to do with it. As she digs deeper into everyone’s lives, the collages in her show are vandalized with the word whore stamped on them. When one of her studio mates draws a picture of the person who tried to break into her studio, she finally has one piece of the puzzle.

Kate White’s Between Two Strangers delivers a thriller that’s exceptionally plotted. The characters come alive as all want the truth about a seemingly unanswerable question: why did Chris leave Skylar the inheritance?

At times Skylar seemed too accepting of the money and verged on being an unreliable narrator. But White adeptly shows us that Chris’ family was well taken care of with their own inheritances and that his marriage was not a happy one. The minor characters are, at times, more fleshed out than some of the main characters and seem more interesting. They also give the story depth and keep us guessing about the outcome. Between Two Strangers is an easy read with an emotional punch, especially when it turns to Skylar’s relationship with her mother. Sometimes too much attention is placed on clothing and appearance, but that’s to be expected from White who was editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine for fourteen years but left in 2012 to become a full-time author of seventeen novels. Between Two Strangers is a perfect beach read for 2023.

Thanks to Harper Perennial and the author for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

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