The Wife Between Us, written by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, was the last First Reads Goodreads giveaway (Advanced Readers’ Edition/uncorrected proof) that this pedometer geek reader had the pleasure of reading. This partnership has written a terrific thriller, and this is the extended review.
The Wife Between Us
By Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Published by St. Martin’s Press, 2018
From the back cover of this uncorrected proof:
You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement–a woman who is about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.
You will assume you know the anatomy of the relationships.
Read between the lies.
This blurb sums up this twist-filled thriller, which is told from the perspective of Vanessa, the wife who is newly divorced from Richard Thompson.
As Vanessa’s life seems to spiral out of control (she is living with her aunt; she is drinking too much; she contacts Richard’s fiancée one too many times), the reader wonders what is going on. Is she an unreliable narrator, or is she the sanest person around? What is the connection between Vanessa and Nellie?
Because this is to be a (nearly) spoiler-free review, this reader will say that the story is riveting. The characters seem, on the surface, to be obvious and simple, but they are anything but; they are complex with layers as the narrative unfolds. The story is laid out in such exquisite slowness that the reader flies through the pages to figure out how all the connections work.
This is a read that will keep the reader guessing until the very end, and even when it starts to make sense, another surprise (or three) is right around the corner.
To say it simply, this thriller is brilliant. It may be the best book this reader has experienced this year. For reading it is an experience. Certain passages were re-read to appreciate the twists. This reader is looking forward to reading another novel by this writing duo.
A few quotes from the book of interest:
“Gaze detection, it’s called—our ability to sense when someone is observing us. An entire system of the human brain is devoted to this genetic inheritance from our ancestors, who relied on the trait to avoid becoming an animal’s prey.” (page 3)
“She is oblivious to what I have done to her.
“She is unaware of the damage I have wrought; the ruin I have set in motion.
“To this beautiful young woman with the heart-shaped face and lush body—the woman my husband Richard, left me for—I’m as invisible as the pigeon scavenging on the sidewalk next to me.” (pages 3,4)
“She has no idea what will happen to her if she continues like this.
“None at all.” (page 4)
“I was happy, I think, but I wonder now if my memory is playing tricks on me. If it is giving me the gift of an illusion. We all layer them over our remembrances; the filters through which we want to see our lives.” (page 96)