“I guess I thought marrying Richard would erase my concerns. But my old anxieties simply yielded to new ones”
Author: Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen Published: 2018 Pages: 343
As with a lot of thrillers, this novel is hard to write a spoiler-free synopsis for because I don’t want to give anything away! But I will try my best… The Wife Between Us has two protagonists, the first a recently-divorced woman, Vanessa, who is trying to start her life again without her husband Richard, but struggles to find her feet now in a world – and class – that she is not used to anymore. The other, Nellie, a woman who is engaged to Richard and thinks it all seems too good to be true. But as we hear from these two women, two spookingly familiar tales begin to emerge, and at the centre, is the man they both love.
I’d seen this novel around for a while, and so when it was chosen for my book club, I was very exciting to start reading! Right from the beginning, the protagonists spark an intrigue of their lives. Both Vanessa and Nellie were interesting and complicated and I was turning each page in anticipation of one of them dropping some kind of bombshell, or doing something shocking or rash.
The problem was, a good thriller has to have a good twist, and while this one definitely does, after I found it out, everything else was a little underwhelming. While other novels of similar genre, such as Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train, have very tense climaxes near the end, I wasn’t on tenterhooks until the very last page as I have been with other novels. That said, I do think the authors have done a good job of creating a unique and clever concept for their protagonists and allowed the reader to be intrigued throughout. In a weird way, when I found out the twist, I was very confused but I actually enjoyed it because I loved how complicated the character were.
On the other hand, despite the lack of tension throughout, I still really enjoyed this novel. I thought it was written very well, and the way the authors manage to craft the characters and their individual way of thinking was excellent. I loved how I saw so many perspectives and, little by little, manage to form the true story of what happened prior to the beginning of the book. The way the authors drip-feed you information throughout is really what kept me turning to page because I just had to know what happened. And I thought it was so clever how, by the end of the novel, you realised that someone’s perception of the truth is so much affected by perspective. A million people could have a million different recounts of the same event – the difficulty is working out the truth.
I do also love the way this novel comments on marriage. Although the story is not necessarily a conventional one, Hendricks and Pekkanen are excellent and subtly commenting on the antiquated traditions of marriage and how marriage doesn’t fix everything.
While I do have some criticism of this book, I do not think it’s one to dismiss; the plot is clever, the characters are chillingly plausible and, most importantly, The Wife Between Us spectacularly reminds us that everyone has something to hide, the only question is, can you face the consequences if your truth is revealed?
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