The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

2/5 stars

I have a soft spot for thrillers–when I’m in a reading slump, I find a quick, pulpy read can get me out of it, and I love a good twist. Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train remain some of my favourite reads, and I especially love stories about less-than-ideal women who make questionable decisions. In theory, this book should have ticked all my boxes, and a quick read at the end of the summer always gears me up for the fall releases. While this was a quick read, though, it just didn’t do it for me.

This book focuses on Vanessa and Nellie, bound by Richard–Vanessa is the ex, and Nellie is the fiancee who will walk down the aisle soon. Vanessa has been spiraling since the divorce, working at Saks and dealing with depression, obsessively stalking Richard’s new wife-to-be. Nellie is a preschool teacher living her Manhattan dreams, soon to be whisked off to the suburbs after her wedding, but something seems to be haunting her past. What results is a intriguing but often frustrating story about questioning reality and running from your past–and your future.

I can’t really discuss the plot too much without spoilers, but naturally, being a thriller, The Wife Between Us has lots of twists. The problem is that it has too many, and the twists don’t say as much as I wish they did–about abuse, about relationships between women, about gaslighting, about redemption. There’s a lot of loose threads that don’t get tied up, and the ones that do result in some eye-rollingly contrived conclusions. I haven’t read many co-written books, but with two authors I expected this to have some more distinctive styles between the two authors, but this doesn’t really happen here–it’s less a collaboration between two authors and more a story assembled by committee.

I kind of hate the term ‘women’s fiction’–it’s reductive and encourages the pigeonholing of stories that are female-centric but still universal–but as a buzzy signature of the genre, I wish it had something more significant to say. If you’re looking for a quick read that will occupy you for a weekend, The Wife Between Us will fill that void, but if you prefer your thrillers with a bit more substance, I’d skip this one.


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