They are Phoenix’s First Family: handsome Philip Martin, son of the sitting Senator, an ex-football player who carries himself with an easy grace and appears destined to step into his father’s seat when the time is right; his wife Marina, the stylish and elegant director of Phoenix’s fine arts museum; and their four-year-old daughter Amabel, beautiful and precocious and beloved.
Finn Hunt is working a dull office job to pay off her college debt when she meets Philip and charms Amabel. She eagerly agrees to nanny, thinking she’s lucked into the job of a lifetime. Though the glamour of the Martins’ lifestyle undeniably dazzles Finn, her real pleasure comes from being part of the family: sharing quick jokes with Philip in the kitchen before he leaves for work; staying late when Marina needs a last-minute sitter; and spending long days with Amabel, who is often treated more like a photo op than a child.
But behind every façade lurks a less attractive truth. When a young woman approaches Finn, claiming a connection with Philip and asking Finn to pass on a message, Finn becomes caught up in a web of deceit with the senate seat at its center. And Finn isn’t exactly innocent herself: she too has a background she has kept hidden, and under the hot Phoenix sun, everything is about to be laid bare. . . .
Book club questions for Girl in the Rearview Mirror
- The story starts off at a political event for Senator Martin. This is where we meet Finn, Amabel, Phillip, Marina, Bryant and the Senator. How did this first chapter set the stage for what was to come?
- Finn becomes attached to the Martin family. Why do you think she was so drawn to them? What did you think of her dynamic with both Phillip and Marina?
- Finn is dating Bryant but yet she puts on somewhat of an act for him. She is vague about both her past and also family. What did you make of their relationship? Do you think Bryant ever did care about her or was he simply using her to get closer to the Martins?
- Did you think that Iris and Phillip had an affair or did you think she was bluffing at first? How would have the story played out differently if she went to the Martins directly after Iris reached out?
- Do you think Finn had a crush on Phillip? At any point, did you expect them to get involved in an affair?
- There are two backstories that are very relevant to the storyline. The first is Phillip’s car crash in college that killed his ex-girlfriend. Do you think he was drunk or high and the Senator covered it up? Is that a reason why Phillip seems somewhat indebted to his father?
- The second backstory is learning about Finn’s background and her true name. What was the significance of her changing names from Natalie to Finn? Let’s discuss the tragic boating accident in high school that killed her friend Erica.
- Finn feels she grew up without a loving family—her mother seemed more interested in her brothers and stepfather so Finn was kind of left alone for the most part. Let’s now talk about how Finn first tried to find a family with Erica and her parents and then with the Martins. How did her affection for the Martins cloud her decision making?
- We now have to talk about the tragedy – Amabel drowns in her family’s pool. Did you at all suspect foul play or did you think it was an accident?
- Why couldn’t Finn let go—why do you think she went on this mystery solving mission to find out more about Iris? What were some of the most surprising aspects that she discovered?
- What did you make of her dynamic with Guy? Why was she drawn to him?
- The big reveal in the end is the Senator’s action, or inaction, to save poor Amabel. How could he have knowingly let that happen? What did you make of all of this?
- In the end, Phillip and Marina adopt a child and they stay connected with the Senator. Were you surprised by this? Why or why not?
- What does Finn’s future look like? Will she ever truly get away from the Martins?
What to read next
Suspenseful stories always generate plenty of discussion! After checking out these book club questions for Girl in the Rearview Mirror; here are some recommendations, along with book club questions!
The Perfect Fraud by Ellen LaCorte is also set in Arizona—this one primarily Sedona and Phoenix.
Motherhood is tough. But then, so is daughterhood. When we first meet Claire, she’s living in Sedona, Arizona with her boyfriend Cal and ducking calls from her mother. Her mom is a world class psychic on the East Coast and Claire doesn’t want her to discover the truth. Claire works in the family business and calls herself a psychic, but she doesn’t really have “the gift” and hasn’t for a long time. She’s a fraud.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, Rena, a young mother, has family issues of her own. She’s divorced and her four-year-old daughter, Stephanie, suffers from mysterious, seemingly incurable stomach problems. No matter how many specialists Rena drags her to, no matter how many mommy-blog posts she makes about her child’s health issues, trying to get help and support from her online community, Stephanie only gets sicker.
When Claire and Rena meet by chance on an airplane, their carefully constructed lives begin to explode. Can these two women help each other and can they help Stephanie before it’s too late?
Her Daughter’s Mother by Daniela Petrova is an original psychological suspense tale.
Lana Stone has never considered herself a stalker–until the night she impulsively follows a familiar face through the streets of New York’s Upper West Side. Her target? The “anonymous” egg donor she’d selected through an agency, the one who’s making motherhood possible for her. Hungry to learn more about her, Lana plans only to watch her from a distance. But when circumstances bring them face-to-face, an unexpected friendship is born.
Katya, a student at Columbia, is the yin to Lana’s yang, an impulsive free spirit who lives life at the edge. And for pragmatic Lana, she’s a breath of fresh air and a welcome distraction from her painful breakup with her baby’s father. Then, just as suddenly as Katya entered Lana’s life, she disappears–and Lana might have been the last person to see her before she went missing. Determined to find out what became of the woman to whom she owes so much, Lana digs into Katya’s past, even as the police grow suspicious of her motives. But she’s unprepared for the secrets she unearths, and their power to change everything she thought she knew about those she loves best…
Feel free to discuss Girl in the Rearview Mirror below!