REVIEW: The Wife Between Us, Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Monday, 19 February 2018

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions. You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement. You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves. You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her. You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships. Assume nothing.

Having thought about this book for a little longer, I feel as though I have to bring my rating down from four stars to three. The reason? The ending. The last fifty or so pages brings to light unnecessary reveals, ties the conclusion together with a far too neat bow, and infuses Richard’s backstory with just a pinch too much Freudian psychology for someone who has been recently been rewatching Criminal Minds. Honestly, it is an archaic framing of psychology that is really beginning to piss me off (partly because of the demonisation of children who suffer from bad relationships with their parents, abuse or childhood trauma) and I would like to remind everyone that sometimes, people are just who they are and nothing outrageous in their life necessarily made them that way. I point this out because, I feel as though it is almost becoming an excuse to palm off the responsibility of their behaviour onto someone else.
Other than that, although The Wife Between Us follows a very similar formula to past hits Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, it manages to make it work and still be compelling. Sure, it utilises the some of the same, over-tired tropes and evokes the same feelings, but it also manages to dig deep and bring forth a twist that actually took me by surprise. The twist definitely saved the book as, up until that point, I was seriously considering chalking it up as a poor man’s copy and not sticking out until the end.
The Wife Between Us fits the usual thriller pace, meaning that it is fast, near-unputdownable and rather easy to read in just one sitting. The main female characters, Nellie and Vanessa, are endlessly compelling and, apart from the descriptions of alcohol, I found that the writing worked really well. Overall, I am happy that I took the opportunity to read The Wife Between Us, but I am rather confident that it is something that I will never feel the need to revisit.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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