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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 25 books toward her goal of 175 books.
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Book Review: The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

“In my marriage, there were three truths, three alternate and sometimes competing realities. There was Richard’s truth. There was my truth. And there was the actual truth, which is always the most elusive to recognize. This could be the case in every relationship, that we think we’ve entered into a union with another person, when, in fact, we’ve formed a triangle with one point anchored by a silent but all-seeing judge, the arbiter of reality.”

By now, in the era of Gone Girl and its progeny (which are legion), I think it has become nearly impossible to write a truly out-of-the-blue, unsuspected mystery about marriage and secrets… Even if you can’t see the “surprise twist” coming from a mile away, you at least know from the beginning that *something* is coming. That doesn’t necessarily negate the thrill of the chase or the surprise though – at least, not if the storytelling is done right. In this book, Hendricks and Pekkanen have done just that…

The back-and-forth narration format is not a new one, but it is still surprisingly successful when it is handled with finesse. Nellie and Vanessa provide a great balance of then-and-now, and their tales are full of little details that keep the reader engaged, sympathetic, and curious. And then, all of a sudden – BAM, the surprise twist. I knew something was coming, but never guessed what it was – and that is a serious credit to the authors. The Reveal is managed deftly, with a peek here and a whisper there. Like Gypsy Rose Lee, the various bits are revealed with agonizing precision and a masterful sense of showmanship. We get glimpses, dangled in front of us slowly, with just enough skin to keep you interested but never so much that you get the whole picture and lose interest…

The suspense is thick on the ground – but even when the narratives are relaying more prosaic information about the women’s lives, the writing is still spot-on and engaging. I cared what happened to these women, and as a result was all the more drawn in by their misadventures and all the more fearful about how it would all turn out.

Incidentally, I’m not always a fan of partner-writing – it can feel choppy and uneven, with a sense that there are more cooks than the broth requires. There was no sense at all of that here. Despite the fact of a pair of authors, the story develops seamlessly and flows very well, with no disjunction. I hope to see more from these authors – they have a very fine writing style and tell a great tale.

My review copy was provided by NetGalley.

The Wife Between Us releases in the US on January 9, 2018. You can purchase it directly from the publisher here.

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