The Wife Between Us
- Author: Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
- Genre: Psychological Thriller
- Publication Date: January 9, 2018
- Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
CONTENT WARNING: infidelity, alcohol use, depression, infertility, bipolar disorder, mention of death of a parent, mention of cancer, mention of abortion, domestic violence
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.
Twisted and deliciously chilling, The Wife Between Us deftly explores the hidden complexities of marriage and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.
Read between the lies.
I went into this trying not to fall into the pitfalls described in the summary. The story is told from two perspectives — one is Vanessa’s, the ex-wife, and the other is Nellie’s, the soon-to-be new wife.
At first, Vanessa does seem to fit those assumptions. She’s been struggling to move on since her divorce, working at a low-paying job, living with an aunt, and barely managing to hold it together. A lot of her behavior does seem obsessive and jealous, as she seeks out opportunities to watch Nellie covertly, and she wants to do whatever she can from stopping the upcoming wedding from happening. But as the story unfolds, it’s clear that Vanessa has secrets — a lot of them.
“She isn’t privy to the real story of our marriage, though. She thinks he chased youth, casting me aside, following the pattern of so many men before him. She thinks I’m a victim; just another woman cut down by the approach of middle age. The compassion would be erased from her expression if she knew of my role in our demise.”
I couldn’t help but like Nellie. She’s sweet and so naïve, and I couldn’t help but notice how many times she mentioned that Richard was “too good to be true.” And that little voice in my brain started reminding me that if something seems to good to be true, it probably is. (Ironically, that little voice sounds a lot like my mom’s). It was clear that she didn’t know that Richard was married when they first started their relationship, and if he was lying about one thing, it made me wonder what else was hidden beneath the perfect, polished surface that Richard presented to the world.
“Her relationship with Richard is now public, though it began when he and I were still married.”
There were so many plot twists that I never saw coming. I had an inkling of what might have been coming, and while I guessed a little of it, there were more that I didn’t. And every time I thought that I had my finger on what was actually happening, I honestly didn’t. Because this was next level stuff going on. It reminded me a lot of the twists in Gone Girl, and kept me hanging on, hastily flipping pages until I got to the very end.
People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.
Gasp Factor: 13
Categories: Book Review