The Wife Between Us – Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
Final Thoughts: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“I couldn’t help but feel sad for the woman who let all that fear shape so many of her life choices.”
The Wife Between Us is a tense thriller about Vanessa, a scorned ex-wife, her wealthy ex-husband Richard, and his new fiancé. It is about love, jealousy, resentment, lies, and assumptions. It is about manipulation and secrets and betrayal. It is a doozy.
I thought I knew this book. I thought I could guess this book before I was even halfway through. I was ready to roll my eyes at predictable plot twists, obviously forced suspense, and the fact that I was reading yet another book about a filthy rich guy and his poor wife who never has to work, practically dresses herself in dollar bills, and spends her whole day running errands. I assumed I knew where this book was headed and had my predictions down early on, but I was as far from the truth as the characters frequently are.
We begin the story reading from the alternating perspectives of Vanessa, who has just divorced Richard and lost everything (including her sobriety), and Nellie, a pleasant and humble young woman who has newly captured Richard’s heart. Authors Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen begin the game typical of thrillers: they keep just enough information away from us to let our reading minds run wild. And they do it well.
By the conclusion of Part One, they have already thrown their audience so far off balance that I had to physically step away from the book and reevaluate. They don’t just introduce a plot twist; they make the plot kill itself and rise from its own ashes.
Pekkenen and Hendricks have managed to write a distinct thriller, full to the brim of the unexpected, and that is coming from a reviewer that has read too many thrillers.
The characters are sharply defined, and the trail they navigate to conclude their saga is winding and dangerous, but this novel races ahead without caution.
The timing of the initial plot twist stuck out to me. I loved the first half of the book, and the surprise that made it so delectable to finish, but the succeeding two parts felt more drawn out, with an entirely different pacing. The transition wasn’t entirely fluid, which is great, on one hand, because it’s supposed to be jarring, but it forced the first part to stick out further in my mind than the second and third parts.
Some of the latter surprises and decisions of the characters were a bit far-fetched for me, but that kind of exaggerated drama may just come with the territory. I get the sense that this book was written quite visually, perhaps setting it up for a silver screen adaptation one day. Even though some of the actions are questionably heightened, they do a swell job of keeping your heart racing.
The Wife Between Us is smart, complex, sexy, and exciting without being too busy, campy, or distracted. I assumed too much about this book in the first half, and I was ready to write a three star review about a derivative thriller about wealthy drama-hogs. But the lady authors smacked me in the face for being so quick to jump to conclusions, and the 180 degree turns proved me all the way wrong.
Thank you so much to St. Martin’s Press for my advanced copy in exchange for a fair review.