The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love.
You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Twisted and deliciously chilling, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen’s The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage – and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.
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Book Review: ‘The Wife Between Us’ by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
A man, his jealous ex-wife who desperately wants to stop him from remarrying, and his beautiful new young fiancé are at the heart of a complicated love triangle in The Wife Between Us, the new thriller by authors Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. But is this really true? Can we trust the narrators of this story? Or are we being fooled into thinking something is real, when it isn’t?
The story is told from the points of view of Nelly and Vanessa, two women, very similar on the outside who have loved the same man. Richard is a smooth-talking, debonair, financially successful, with an imposing personality. He makes Nelly feel safe. With Vanessa the relationship has deteriorated; where there was love, now there is resentment and mistrust.
There is also fear.
This is a difficult book to review without giving anything away. From the very first page, we know that it’s a tale of obsession but it’s also filled with smoke and mirrors, so many twists and turns you’ll think you’re in that creepy maze from The Shining. But halfway into the book, we know what is really happening, or at least we think we do. And it’s here when we can’t help but be in awe of Hendricks and Pekkanen’s talent for fooling us so deliciously and so deliberately, while we innocently fell for it.
Pekkanen’s previous novels Skipping a Beat and The Perfect Neighbors, have shown a similar type of unexpected events. With The Wife Between Us she’s definitely upped her game, this time with debut co-author Hendricks. Nelly and Vanessa are complex and difficult characters but not in a way that the reader will find them unrelatable or unlikeable. Richard is different, and when things about his past are finally revealed, we know that as a readers, we’ve been played.
Something we know for certain is that Vanessa wants to stop this wedding at all cost. She cannot allow Richard to marry her replacement, a word that carries more meaning than we first realize. But her reasons for wanting this marriage stopped go beyond jealousy and betrayal, and it’s only through Vanessa’s flashbacks that we suddenly come to see that we’ve been wearing a blindfold. The truth is stranger and more shocking than we could possibly have predicted because in Vanessa and Richard’s marriage, it’s more about what we think we see than the real truth.
The unreliable narrator has made quite a comeback in recent years. Paula Hawkins’ Girl on a Train and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl have become staples for the narrators that we can’t completely trust. But what’s different in The Wife Between Us is that we never know the complete truth until we turn the last page, and this is not a hyperbolic statement. We think we know everything when we come to the final chapter, the truth about Richard, Vanessa and Nelly. But we don’t. There are new players to be discovered, new secrets to be revealed, and the question again surges: Who manipulated whom?
The prologue in The Wife Between Us, goes like this:
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.
She has no idea what will happen to her if she continues like this.
None at all.
If you believe you know what’s happening in this scene.you know nothing. You’ll have to peel away the layers of mirage to get to the truth, which will likely leave you gaping. Hendricks and Pekkanen have conjured up a tightly-woven farce that you won’t be likely to forget or to put aside. They shift the story over and over again, like a magician’s box.
And we’re the awed spectators, waiting anxiously to see what’s on the other side.
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She walks briskly down the city sidewalk, her blond hair bouncing against her shoulders, her cheeks flushed, a gym bag looped over her forearm. When she reaches her apartment building, her hand dips into her purse and pulls out her keys. The street is loud and busy, with yellow cabs racing by, commuters returning from work, and shoppers entering the deli on the corner. But my eyes never stray from her.
She pauses in her entryway and briefly glances back over her shoulder. An electrical charge seems to pulse through me. I wonder if she feels my stare. 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. I’ve cultivated this defense in myself, the sensation of static rising over my skin as my head instinctively lifts to search out a pair of eyes. I’ve learned the danger of dismissing that warning.
But she simply turns in the opposite direction, then opens her door and disappears inside, never looking my way.
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.
Praise for The Wife Between Us:
An instant New York Times bestseller (January 2018)!
A 2018 Indie Next Pick
A January 2018 Library Reads Top 10 Pick
Wall Street Journal’s “6 Books to Read This Winter”
Real Simple’s “Best Books of 2018”
Glamor Magazine’s “All the Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2018”
Bustle’s “18 Best Fiction Books of January 2018”
Goop’s “12 Books for Winter Break”
Popsugar’s “23 Best New Books of Winter”
Hello Giggles’s “19 books we can’t wait to read in 2018″
AARP’s “2018 Books Preview: Chills and Thrills”
Bookbub’s “Biggest Thriller Books Coming in 2018″
Retail Me Not’s “Top 35 Books of 2018”
“Readers who were enthralled by B.A. Paris’s Behind Closed Doors and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl will love the skewed psychology and shifting perspectives of this domestic thriller.” ―Library Journal, starred review
“[A] jaw-dropping psychological thriller. This is not another eye-rolling story about the jealous ex-wife stalking her replacement...Unforgettable twists lead to shocking revelations all the way through the epilogue.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review
“A fiendishly smart cat-and-mouse thriller” ―New York Times Book Review
“Your basic love triangle? Hardly. Hendricks and Pekkanen have a real knack for plot-spinning, and The Wife Between Us unfolds in breathlessly ominous chapters,occasionally pausing for a narrative karate-chop.” ―Seattle Times
“Buckle up, because you won’t be able to put this one down.” ―Glamour
“With multiple didn’t-see-that-coming twists, this tome thrills.” ―Us Weekly
“[A] seamless thriller that will keep readers on their toes to the very end…Readers will enjoy the dizzying back-and-forth as they attempt to figure out just who to root for and as the suspense ratchets up to one hell of a conclusion.” ―Booklist
“Pekkanen and Hendricks keep the suspense dial at excruciating...a complete roller coaster-ride of a novel.” ―The Washington Post
“In The Wife Between Us, you’ll be taken on a suspenseful roller-coaster that will keep you riveted until the last page.” ―Parade Magazine
“An utterly absorbing debut about a marriage gone bad with a few jaw-dropping plot twists.” ―AARP
“A clever thriller with masterful twists.” – Karin Slaughter, New York Times bestselling author of The Kept Woman
“A fiendishly clever romantic thriller in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. This one will keep you guessing.” –Anita Shreve, New York Times bestselling author of The Stars are Fire
“The Wife Between Us delivers a whip smart, twisty plot in a taut, pacy narrative. It’s terrific and troubling. This is one scary love triangle where you won’t know who to trust. I loved it.” –Gilly Macmillan, New York Times bestselling author of What She Knew
“A twisty, mind-bending novel about marriage and betrayal. A gripping plot and fascinating characters; this book will keep you turning the pages and guessing until the very end. A must-read!” –Lauren Weisberger, New York Times bestselling author of The Devil Wears Prada
“This amazing story gallops along at breakneck speed, with an ending that smacks you between the eyes and takes your breath away. These authors are destined to become trail blazers in the field of psychological suspense books that explode in your hands!” ―Nancy Simpson-Brice, Book Vault
“Like a house of mirrors, The Wife Between Us kept me guessing around every corner, delving into the complexities of marriage, friendship, and obsession.” ―Javier Ramirez, The Book Table
About the Author
GREER HENDRICKS is the coauthor of the New York Times bestseller The Wife Between Us. Prior to becoming a novelist, she spent two decades as an editor at Simon & Schuster. She obtained her master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, and her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Allure, and Publishers Weekly.She lives in Manhattan with her husband and two children.
SARAH PEKKANEN is the internationally and USA Today bestselling author of eight previous solo novels and the coauthor of the New York Times bestseller The Wife Between Us. A former investigative journalist and award-winning feature writer, she has published work in The Washington Post, USA Today, and many others. She is the mother of three sons and lives just outside Washington, D.C.
Originally published: 9 January 2018
Genres: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Psychological thriller, Psychological Fiction