Quick review for a progressive read. “The Wife Between Us” is a interesting thriller, though admittedly there were certain turns of the story I expected for hitting the ground running after I reached certain points in the book. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up the book, other than the surface story of two women who were connected by the same husband. Between the two, Vanessa is the older, former wife of Richard who appears distraught for not only losing her former wealth and lifestyle, but also the man who left her for another woman. The other is Emma, the young woman who is the “other” woman in the relationship and engaged to Richard. Yet, the threads that tie these two women together are much thicker than one might think going into it. I just wasn’t expecting how deep the motivations of the two women featured in this story ran.
I think the less you know about this book going into it, the better. It’s hard for me to write a review to reflect upon the different layers and pieces that come together eventually in the book for characterization and motivation for Emma and Vanessa, but I thought it was well done for the effort of weaving the twists and identities the way it did. So to tap dance around the obvious spoilers, I’ll say this – unreliable narrator is a very prominent feature here. It exists through multiple characters, multiple scenarios, and I can only think of perhaps one character in the mix here who doesn’t have an ulterior motive or axe to grind (though it may take a while to see how it plays out). I kind of wish that the book hadn’t left so much of the development of one character’s identity to shoehorn into the end, but at least it makes sense as to how the two women are connected beyond Richard and how they manage to pull the strings of their respective relationships. Where you think one character’s using the other, it’s just as well that they’re being played and circumstances just so happen to fall where the chips may.
The main manipulative relationship wasn’t surprising to me, though. Very early on, though it was teased throughout the story, I knew how it would pan out and was just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Some parts were harrowing, others dragged out a little too long for explanation than I wanted. I did appreciate getting to know the sentiments of the characters and their respective struggles, yet there were certain pieces of the story I felt were rushed a bit too quickly once the reveal came.
Overall, I think “The Wife Between Us” will appeal to fans of the genre, and even those who are looking for a suspense/thriller that throws a few curveballs and presents a decent character story. It stumbles a bit in terms of the reveals, but ends up being a thriller that fulfills what it set out to do; for that, I liked the journey. Those who want an even more immersive experience should check into the audio version as read by Julia Whelan, she does a fantastic job for the emotional delivery of each character.
Overall score: 4/5 stars.
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley from the publisher.