Described as “A fiendishly smart cat-and-mouse thriller” by the New York Times Book Review, and “the best domestic suspense novel since Gone Girl” by In Touch Weekly, The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen is fast, addictive, and filled with all the dark, suspenseful elements that I love in my novels. The synopsis tells you that “When you read this book, you will make many assumptions. You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife. You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love. You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle. Assume nothing.”
The use of this multi-viewpoint, chronologically complex narrative has become an incredibly popular device for hooking readers (think Gone Girl and The Girl On The Train); and while we now know to assume we are being deliberately mislead, the question of a good mystery has become whether or not we will still delight in all the twists and turns. As for The Wife Between Us? A solid chunk of the fun in this book is knowing that there is a major twist, looking for it, and not seeing it until it comes barreling into you. While that makes it a brilliant read, it also makes it a tough one to review without giving anything away.
From the first page, you know this is a tale of obsession. The classic plot is simple, we are introduced to Nellie, a beautiful blonde 20-something Florida native, and her relationship with the older, wildly successful Richard and his intense navy eyes. Nellie works as a preschool teacher in New York City and is happily fulfilled by her busy life of friends, work, and her almost-too-good-to be true fiance. But, of course, not everything is as it seems. Despite her sweet demeanor, Nellie has a secret that followed her from Florida, something that leaves her wracked by anxiety and insomnia, jumping at every shadow; and as the wedding draws closer, Vanessa, the scorned wife, has been drinking heavily and is on the brink of losing her new job as a sales associate at a large department store. She has been stalking Richard’s bride-to-be, and becoming increasingly more determined to prevent the wedding at any cost. What is Nellie so afraid of? What was the real reason behind Richard and Vanessa’s divorce? And why is Vanessa willing to do anything it takes to stop the wedding?
Racing through the streets of Manhattan, the story whips you across the park and down dark alleyways, through different years and viewpoints. Prepare to be yanked away from every “ah ha!” moment with a new twist to prove you wrong while a fresh subplot sits just beneath the surface, becoming more entangled with every page. Hendricks and Pekkanen fool you so deliciously that I, for one, walked right into the plot trap. In fact, after finishing it in a matter of days, I re-read this immediately to relive the story knowing the answers tucked away into the words. The Wife Between Us is a well put together, easy-to-devour novel— the perfect summer read.
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