Review of The Wife between Us, by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pakkanen


I’m being a trifle severe about this one; the reader for whom “Wow, I didn’t see that one coming!” is the highest accolade, for whom the word “reveal” isn’t a verb or employed as a noun doesn’t connote yesterday’s warmed over roast of young calf (see illustration above for “a reveal”), might actually enjoy The Wife between Us. But readers with high artistic standards who expect surprising twists to integrate seemly disparate elements of plot and character into harmony will be annoyed by the authors’ using the backstory as a magical hat full of rabbits to produce whenever the story starts to lag. Even in the epilogue. Perhaps joint authorship is responsible. This book keeps changing its mind about what it wants to be & who the characters are. We start with some confusion over the identities of Nellie & Venessa, & get about four different versions of Emma before we finish running the range from ingenue innocent victim to cunning schemer. The main character offers a very unlikely backstory: I doubted she would have been unaware that the professor with whom she has a college affair was married, & I am certain that a sorority hazing incident involving ETOH that resulted in a pledge drowning would have led to an officer from the national arriving to revoke the chapter’s charter even before the college kicked them off campus. (The authors owe the Chi Omegas an apology. Fraternity brothers might exhibit such stupidity, but not sorority sisters.) I doubt the pledge’s family would be mollified by donations to an animal shelter. They would probably have sued the college & the sorority & the main character. Reader’s of “psychological thrillers” will be used to Richard, our standard garden variety sociopath, wealthy generous but an extremely controlling & jealous husband. The chronology is cloudy as well. In the story Vanessa has to be married to him for several years, & her backstory requires her to be 15 years out of college, tho’ immature for a woman in her mid-thirties. I am grateful to the publishers & to NetGalley for a gratis review copy, but this time I am going cold turkey with NetGalley, at least with authors I’ve not read & enjoyed before.

One thought on “Review of The Wife between Us, by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pakkanen

  1. I wanted to love this book, but it just wasn’t interesting enough and didn’t feel like a thriller to me at all. The first big twist grabbed me, but the rest just wasn’t enough, even with the other twist at the end. After seeing so many 5-star ratings, I was very surprised. Glad to see I wasn’t the only one. ❤ Great review as usual, Bill.

    Liked by 1 person

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