British author Jane Green introduces readers to Ellie Black in The Other Woman (2005). Ellie is in love with Dan Cooper, who, as far as she can tell, is perfect. Having lost her parents at a young age, Ellie is thrilled when Dan's mother welcomes her into the family with open arms. At first, she is delighted to have someone with whom she can look at wedding dresses and make wedding plans, but when Mrs. Cooper (Linda) begins to take control, Ellie wonders what she has gotten herself into. It turns out that Ellie is in competition with Dan's mother for his attention and affection. Linda calls Dan at work several times a day, drops by their home unannounced, and takes advantage of every opportunity to try to marginalize Ellie.
When Ellie learns that she is pregnant, an entirely new level of competition begins. For nine months, she is simply the vessel carrying Linda's grandchild and once baby Tom is born, she has served her purpose and, in her mother-in-law's eyes, is no longer needed. The final straw is when Linda gets to hold Tom before Ellie does; to make matters worse, Dan sees nothing wrong with this. Readers will begin to wonder just who is The Other Woman in Dan's life: his wife or his mother?
Ellie and Dan's marriage is strained by the stresses of being new parents and by Linda's incessant meddling. When an accident involving Tom and Linda occurs, Ellie is understandably irate and wants nothing to do with Linda ever again. However, as time passes and Dan and Ellie separate, she begins to take stock of the things that really matter in life. She realizes that she wants for Tom to have a loving, caring, and functional family, even if that means tolerating Linda and her antics from time to time. Supported by loyal and colorful friends, Ellie is able to pick up the pieces and start over with her family intact.
Jane Green is the author of eleven novels, including Jemima J, Straight Talking, To Have and to Hold, and Babyville. They all feature endearing female protagonists in search of their own version of love, friendship, and happiness.