Synopsis: 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 truths we ignore in the name of love.
Read between the lies.
I have to be honest I was pretty annoyed with Vanessa, the crazy ex. I realize showing her obsessive thoughts was a key element of the story, but I wanted to say ” Girl wash your face, fix your crown because you can do better!” She spent an inordinate amount of time wondering what Richard and the replacement chic were doing at precise moments. To the point it affected her performance on the job. She seemed hurt/distraught about the attention, affection ,and luxuries she was no longer privy to. There was this sense of regret for not confronting them about the affair when she was still married to Richard.
By Chapter 10 I feel like I have gotten on the CRAZyville express. Even before this chapter I pondered if there would be a Fatal- Attraction- rabbit – boiling – in – the- pot type of scene. No sooner than we get into this chapter she is following her replacement and wondering what it will be like!( If you haven’t read this book stop here because my issues with this book will put me in the rare position of including a spoiler.)
However by the time we get to Chapter 18 I feel tricked, hoodwinked, and bamboozled. Here’ a why: The chapters alternate from Nellie and Vanessa’s perspective. This leads you to think that Nellie is the replacement wife and Vanessa is the crazy ex. Turns out Vanessa and Nellie are the same person just told from different points in time. The beauty and genius of Paula Hawkins ” Girl on A Train” is you were surprised but not deceived. What I mean by that is all she(Ms Hawkins) did was change the perspective to reveal things we wouldn’t have discovered otherwise , but it was plausible
There is of course a justifiable need to reveal to the reader why Vanessa is the way she is. Some authors can alternate chapters that describe the past and present in a way that
A) We get an explanation to why the protagonist does the things he / she does
B) Whether or not the chapter looks at the present or past it can still move the action forward.
Two books that I felt did this very well
“Yellow Birds” by Kevin Powers
And ” A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman
But in this story I feel like once we discovered the plot twist it slowed things considerably.
There were three contradictions that did not so well with me.
Contradiction # 1 Vanessa’s motivation for trying to keep Emma from marrying Richard definitely got the idea she was jealous then we discover Vanessa wasn’t there for a sorority sister who died because of an incident that happened years ago in college but feels guilty and doesn’t want to let Emma down so which is it?
Earlier in the story Vanessa regretted not confronted Richard when he was sneaking around with Emma but
We discover that Vanessa was being abused and ” set the stage” for the affair to happen as means to escape her abusive marriage. Which is it either you didn’t know about the affair but when you did you wanted to confront your husband or you knew about it so what would be the need for a confrontation
If you were so concerned about Emma a safety and well being why set her up with your husband who strangled you
I find it hard to believe that someone who would do that would then later put forth so much effort to keep that person out of a bad situation they orchestrated in the first place.
For these reasons I gave the book 3 out of 5 stars