The Wife Between Us: A Novel

Image of The Wife Between Us: A Novel
Release Date: 
January 8, 2018
St. Martin's Press
Reviewed by: 

When the book jacket describes this book as “fiendishly clever,” “with masterful twists,” which “gallops along at breakneck speed with an ending that takes your breath away,” it is enjoyable to find a text that measures up.

The Wife Between Us contains memorable characters, complex relationships, and dangerous truths. The tension builds, recedes, and then builds again to a delicious and totally surprising ending created by memorable psychological personalities, anxiety, temptation, resentments, and betrayal. The novel holds one’s interest consistently and is totally believable. It is easy to assume that the principal character is a jealous ex-wife who is preoccupied/obsessed with a younger female who is on the verge of marrying the man that they both love. There is however, much more to the story.

The timeframe shifts from the present to the past showing the history that influences the principle characters. These shifts are easily followed moving comfortably from one to the other. Often, books written by multiple authors are choppy and lack continuity. This is not the case with The Wife Between Us. Ms. Hendrix and Ms. Pekkanen write in a style that is seamless and flows from chapter to chapter without disruption. It would be erroneous to view this book as “chick lit” since there is ample development of both male and female characters to appeal to both genders.

Vanessa is a native Floridian with a dark secret from her college years. She meets and falls hard for Richard, a wealthy hedge fund investor and businessman. When she follows him to New York City they live the life of affluent socialites eventually moving to a suburban mansion. She has trouble adjusting to a lifestyle in which she has little purpose or excitement. Gradually, as she becomes progressively more depressed, their marriage falls on the rocks.

Drowning her sorrows in wine and failing at a new job result from the emotional devastation that she experiences when she discovers that Richard will marry Emma, his younger and beautiful personal assistant.

She becomes a virtual stalker of Emma to the point of illegality and furious outbursts from Richard in what appears to be extensive jealousy. As the story evolves though, there are many unexpected elements. What is particularly well written is the description of an overly anxious young female who is frequently on the verge of panic attacks. The reactions and inner emotions experienced by this character are masterfully elucidated, but not overdone.

To divulge more of the story line would be to destroy the pleasure of the ups and downs, twists and turns of a modern day love triangle. Readers who enjoyed The Girl on the Train, The Woman in the Window, and Gone Girl will find this book very much to their liking.