Authors: Greer Henricks Sarah Pekkanen
Title: The Wife Between Us
Right in the first chapter the new bride to be is frightened when she thinks she just saw someone in her wedding dress. The image instantly reminds you of Jane Eyre. This feeling gets stronger when you read on to find that a soon to be married young couple is being stalked by a jealous, paranoid ex-wife of the groom.
Charlotte Bronte wrote about the mad wife in the attic because it was such a great twist, one of the best ever. How can a couple in love ever surmount a problem like this? With Rochester married to a mad woman from the Caribbean, how could Jane ever be with him. This angle has been used so often in literature after this. This book, however, starts at this point. In these times, divorces have made it possible for married people to get unmarried and marry others. Yet, how does one tackle a jealous ex-wife who does not seem to be able to move on?
The book moves at a steady pace and there are many revelations, strategically placed, that alter your perception of the characters. Halfway through, you don't who the bad guy is. It could be any of the protagonists. The husband Richard, is handsome, successful and rich. He is a dream boyfriend, caring and understanding. But he takes unilateral decisions in the relationship and looks a little controlling. Vanessa the ex-wife is haunted by her breakup. She is an alcoholic and seems paranoid. But is she more sinned against than sinning? The new wife is sweet as sugar and malleable but are her intentions honorable? Is she in this just for the love of Richard?
There are a minimum of characters which keeps the story lean and focused; Sam (Vanessa's roommate and bestie), Aunt Charlotte (the only family Vanessa has), Vanessa, Richard and his new bride-to-be, Richard's sister Maureen. I was rather amused to note that Richard is the only major male character. So long women have cribbed that the spotlight was taken by male characters and at times (Lord of the Rings being a particular case) female characters few and far between.
I loved the way the story moves, you are taken through many bends and at each bend you are surprised and drawn in. This is very skillful as the narrator is only one. It can be easy to narrate different viewpoints through different voices but to narrate different viewpoints through only one voice is very tricky. It has been handled to great effect. My only grouse with the book is that the climax was not as clipped and quick as the rest of the book. It was rather long drawn. I am sure many readers will love the climax nevertheless. It did not spoil the book for me though. I still love it.
There was a long queue on the book in the library, I can see why. It is a new release and has got rave reviews. I was also swayed into reading this book by one such recommendation and am glad I did.
It has been likened to The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl. Like these books, you don't know what is coming next. Which character is going to do a perception change next? However, despite these similarities, this book is not a copy of those previous best sellers. It is very much its own book and well worth picking up.