If you love Madeline Mackenzie
You’ll like Philippa Lye & Gwen Hogan
Madeline is the main character and narrator of BLL, so for all her idiosyncrasies (and there are many!), you automatically connect with her and take her side in her (again, many!) grudges. Gwen Hogan is as close as Mrs. gets to a main narrator — she’s a chemist-turned-stay-at-home-mom who’s sending her only daughter to the private school as a result of financial aid. Her husband is a prosecutor whose beat just so happens to be white-collar crime and the SEC, which comes to be quite critical later in the story. Gwen certainly doesn’t have as many, er, quirks, as our beloved Madeline, but she exudes the same sense of being the only (occasionally) sane person in a pack of otherwise crazies.
Consider Philippa Lye the yin to Gwen’s yang — and the one with the Maddie-style quirks you’ve been yearning for. A former model, she is the constant envy of women, from her fellow paralegals at her mid-20s job to her fellow mothers at St. Tim’s. She attracts attention for her looks and consternation for her idiosyncrasies. Also, she likes the mom juice, if you know what we mean.
If you love Renata Klein
You’ll like Heather Baird & Jeannie Haskell
Just like Big Little Lies, Mrs. includes a few hardworking career moms for levity and their very necessary commentary on their fellow parents. While Renata occasionally seemed a bit … frayed, she was also a breath of fresh air in the interpersonal drama department. Heather and Jeannie may not have Renata’s unending chic-ness (or her high-waisted jeans), but most of that is owed to Laura Dern’s on-screen portrayal. What Heather and Jeannie do have is hilarious zingers directed at all the book’s major players, and a reminder that not everybody on the Upper East Side arrives there via silver spoon — some of them actually have to work for it.
If you love Celeste Wright
You’ll like Philippa Lye
Perfection on the outside, darkness on the inside. Celeste’s secret was one of the driving dramas of BLL, as much for its mystery as her ability to hide what was really going on. Philippa’s life story is certainly less dire than the domestic abuse that was plaguing Celeste and Perry’s marriage, but it is serious nonetheless. She arrived in the world of Manhattan townhomes and private schools by marrying one of the wealthiest bank scions left after the crash, and her every move seems designed to cover up whatever it was she was doing before she got there. We can’t tell you much without giving things away, but just remember that what you see with Philippa is not what you get.
If you love Jane Chapman
You’ll like Minnie Curtis & Gwen Hogan
Some readers were drawn to Jane because of her innocence and relative naiveté, and that group will be Gwen Hogan’s No. 1 fans. She eschews almost everything about the Upper East Side, starting with the geography — her family still lives in a “starter apartment” (a term that can truly only be used among this group) in Yorkville (read: outside the boundaries of exclusivity) — and extending to her refusal to hire help, dress up, or even to do her hair. Fight the power, Gwen Hogan.
Other readers were drawn to Jane because of her air of mystery, her arrival to the first day of school carrying her checkered past with her, and that group will be Minnie Curtis’ No. 1 fans. Minnie is married to a thuggish investor who seems to have bullied their way into joining St. Tim’s mid-semester, and to say she doesn’t carry the typical pedigree of the UES would be an understatement.