Book Review / Mary Dixie Carter / Reviews with Spoilers

Mary Dixie Carter | The Photographer

the photographer mary dixie carter

The Book: 

The Photographer by Mary Dixie Carter, 2021

The Characters: 

Delta Dawn
Amelia and Fritz Straub and their daughter Natalie

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Thank you to Minotaur Press for providing me with a free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. The Photographer will be available on May 25, 2021.

The Plot (from Goodreads):

As a photographer, Delta Dawn observes the seemingly perfect lives of New York City’s elite: snapping photos of their children’s birthday parties, transforming images of stiff hugs and tearstained faces into visions of pure joy, and creating moments these parents long for.

But when Delta is hired for Natalie Straub’s eleventh birthday, she finds herself wishing she wasn’t behind the lens but a part of the scene―in the Straub family’s gorgeous home and elegant life.

That’s when Delta puts her plan in place, by babysitting for Natalie; befriending her mother, Amelia; finding chances to listen to her father, Fritz. Soon she’s bathing in the master bathtub, drinking their expensive wine, and eyeing the beautifully finished garden apartment in their townhouse. It seems she can never get close enough, until she discovers that photos aren’t all she can manipulate.

Click here for book spoilers for The Photographer
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read The Photographer, I suggest you turn back now.

The Twist:

Delta did not have a son, she made him up to make herself relatable to her clients. Ian figured this out, and she made up another story. 

Delta became a surrogate for Fritz and Amelia as a means of becoming part of their family.

Natalie found pictures in Delta’s apartment that she had photoshopped of herself sleeping with Fritz and Amelia. They started to throw her out for being insane, but Delta slipped and fell down the stairs and began bleeding.

The Ending:

Delta told Amelia that she lost the baby, but she didn’t. She kept him, named him Jasper, and moved to California to raise him.

The Review: 

The Photographer was a quick, entertaining read. It was easy to just keep turning the pages, and I finished it in just over a day. MDC’s writing is definitely engaging, and I was eager to figure out why the characters acted the way they did.

I love reading about rich people and how the upper half lives, so I totally understood Delta’s desire to fit in with her clients! However, in these types of books (I’m reminded of Heather’s storyline in Too Good To Be True), I always wonder why the rich mom with the perfect life would befriend an employee. Was Amelia lonely? Did Delta remind her of herself? Was she just desperate to get away from her daughter? It’s one thing to hire a photographer for an event in which other adults will be present, but to leave that person alone with your child after meeting them once? I’m not a parent, but I feel like I would at least ask a few questions first.

I really felt for Natalie throughout the book. I hated Amelia–she was a terrible mother to Natalie, and many of her conversations should have taken place outside of Natalie’s earshot. 

I expected this book to be a little more twisted going into it. I wasn’t surprised by any of the twists, and although Delta was definitely crazy, I wanted MORE psychosis from her. I wanted to know more about why she so badly needed to feel included. There were hints of a traumatic childhood, but it was never fully explained. I ended up just feeling bad for her and wanting her to get some therapy.

Overall, I enjoyed this quick, entertaining read. I just wanted more background and more crazy!

the photographer by mary dixie carter

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