Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Well.  I told myself I wouldn't read anymore of the husband/wife/marriage/insanity/thriller genre that has become so dominant since Gone, Girl (which I haven't read, but I know the story).  I read a few last year that were pretty good, but I was satisfied with those few and decided that there wasn't much more that could be done that would surprise or even interest me.

Enter The Wife Between Us.  I seriously underestimated this novel.  While I did figure out one of the big twists early on, there were a few other twists that I didn't figure out, and when they were revealed, I looked like this: 


The story is told through alternating voices:  Vanessa and Nellie.  Vanessa is a mess.  She's divorced from Richard, living with her Aunt Charlotte in New York City, and is an alcoholic.  She works as a personal shopper at Saks and struggles to get to work on time and actually be present while she's there.  Her life is an unending routine of depression, sneaky drinking, and popping sleeping pills to conquer her insomnia.  She's not very likable.  She also seems obsessed with the woman who is newly engaged to Richard, and will be marrying him soon.

Nellie is a young, newly engaged woman who works as a preschool teacher in New York City.  She's excited and a bit nervous about leaving her job and her apartment to begin a new married life with...Richard.  He's nine years older, suave, handsome, and a big muckity muck who makes some serious cash in the New York financial world.  He is kind but controlling.

Vanessa, I wasn't a big fan for a big chunk of the book. I always have anger issues with female characters who let life rattle their cages so much that they become incapable of getting out of bed. I just wanted to shout at her.  Until I figured things out. Nellie certainly seemed very likable, but I felt sorry for her struggle to be herself while learning how to operate in Richard's much more sophisticated world. The issues she'd had in college that made her afraid to be alone and pretty much uneasy at every little noise made me think she just needed a good "put your big girl panties on and deal with it" kick in the pants.  I was wrong. I'd like to insert a swear word here: _______ you, Richard. You'll see. Just read the book. 

There are some pretty good twists in this story.  I can't possibly even begin to reveal anything at all, because I want you to enjoy the moments of discovery.  There's so much going on; I was constantly mentally apologizing to Vanessa and Nellie for thinking badly about them.  Yes, I was apologizing to fictitious women.  I will say, the ending is satisfactory, sad, and creepy.  The epilogue is a cherry on top of the sundae.  There are a whole lot of power struggles, mental manipulations, and just plain scare tactics happening throughout the story.  I know I'm being vague, but just trust me.  Read the book.  You'll enjoy it.  You'll especially enjoy the changes in Vanessa.  She finally walked past her fear and took control.  Bravo.

This novel will be for sale in the United States on Tuesday, January 9th.  Available in hardcover and ebook.  

Rating:  5/6 for a very clever novel about marriage, relationships, and the damage we do to each other. Fantastic--read it!
Thank you to St. Martin's Press for an advanced copy.

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