Gas*light / gaslit / “manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.”
Ashley Turner is an independent, successful editor and tech geek about to turn forty with a few gray hairs, a slowly-eroding filter, and the spirit of an adventurer with bad knees. Her lifestyle changes dramatically when her company director is replaced by Richard Cabot, a man whose pathological need for control changes the life of almost everyone at her small company. Over the next seven years, job roles change, friendships strain at the seams, skirts become shorter, and breakdowns become part of the bureaucratic protocol. The ability of Ashley and her coworkers to distinguish truth from falsehood, right from wrong, and reality from appearance is continually undermined.
On the day her best friend Tabitha goes on permanent maternity leave, Ashley meets Felix Hernandez, a cynical but good-natured detective who gradually helps her see the dark humor of the place. However, she must learn to break the vicious cycle herself to emerge victorious in a battle for the spirit, the mind, and in the end, the body, in an increasingly hostile work environment.
With incredible empathy, intelligence, and honesty, Elle Phillips tackles gaslighting, sexism, ageism, and depression with droll humor—and doesn’t offer easy answers. The New Director explores the complexities of friendship, identity, mental health, and power dynamics in today’s modern workforce. It’s a story about the people who lead and the people who follow and how those roles can not only change over time but challenge the fundamental morality within all of us.