recommendations and reviews for the aspiring reader

recommendations and reviews for the aspiring reader

Review: The Wife Between Us

The Wife Between Us

by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Vanessa and Nellie are two women who share the same man.

Or are they?

Vanessa, the first wife. Shrunken to nearly half her size due to stress and emotional pain, she can barely make it out of bed to trek down to the department store she works at. It’s depressing, really . . . to be catering to the rich women who spend their days passing time on the prowl for the latest Oscar de la Renta dress or Prada bag. It’s doubly depressing because she literally used to be these women, spending painstaking hours choosing just the right cashmere twin set or the perfect set of tasteful Jimmy Choos to pair with a carefully tailored pantsuit. Now, Vanessa is a laughingstock. A disgrace. Damaged goods.  Everyone remembers how she behaved that night of the cocktail party in her former home, how she made a fool of herself on such an important evening. How she made a fool of her husband. Ex-husband.

And everyone also knows that she was left with next to nothing in the divorce. Vanessa was made to give up the perfect, cookie-cutter home in the quiet suburbs of New York. Forced into leaving behind the closet full of designer clothes and the immaculate kitchen decked out in state of the art appliances and cookware. She is no longer driven around in a spotless town car like the trophy wife she was, passing through The City That Never Sleeps to arrive at appointments where she was offered champagne and mindlessly spent $500 on a haircut. Instead, Vanessa is now living in her aunt’s spare bedroom and trying to get through the day without drinking the bottles of wine she keeps buying and hiding, and she’s traded out her fashionable footwear for a worn pair of Nikes so she can get around the city in an affordable way. She can barely make ends meet. Richard took everything.

But she can’t move on, no matter how hard she tries. And it’s all because of her. Vanessa can’t stop thinking about the woman who is being primed to take her place. The beautiful blonde with the generous curves. The one with the wedding dress hanging on her closet door, in the apartment she lives in in a quiet building. Vanessa sacrificed everything for . . . what? For whom? 

The second wife, Nellie. After making the great escape to New York City, she has done her best to create a new life for herself. A new name, new hair, a comfortable and cozy new apartment with a quirky roommate installed. But even though she now has a built-in best friend, she can’t bring herself to talk about that night in Florida; the one where her entire life became derailed in the flighty space of a few hours. But that night did more than change her course – it has made her unrelentingly paranoid. Mysterious phone calls that have no one on the other end, the feeling of someone’s eyes on her back, the constant checking of locks and complicated alarm codes . . . these are the things that rule Nellie’s life. Until . . .

. . . she meets Richard. Tall, dark, handsome. Rich. A savior. A knight in shining armor. He is the one who has come to save her from her nightmares. Richard has all the answers. He is able to anticipate her every need and desire. He dotes on her the way no other man has before, and Nellie is blossoming under his attentions. Everything in Nellie’s life is complete. She has a wonderful job at The Learning Ladder, a posh boutique-style preschool for Upper East Sider’s to send their precocious offspring. Nellie lines her walls with their precious finger paintings and thoughtful drawings, their little spirits adding just that extra ounce of special into her carefully curated existence. She spends her weekends planning her dream wedding to her own personal Prince Charming, but there is one thing that she can’t stop thinking about . . . that woman . . . the one from her past.

The Wife Between Us is the debut novel by power duo Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. A relationship that began when Hendricks was editing Pekkanen’s novels evolved from an instant connection into a deeply rooted friendship full of mutual respect for each other’s talents. When Hendricks quietly departed from her publishing house in 2014, she decided to try her own hand in weaving the gripping stories that she’d spent so long enjoying. Turning to her friend for support ended up in the eventual birth of a twisting and turning plot that readers will be sure to latch on to this winter. As the ugly truths of how raw human nature can force people into reacting, readers will be hooked from the first chapter all the way until the surprising end.

It has been a tedious few years since the enigmatic and bonafide hit Gone Girl was released, the novel seizing control of the way readers view thrillers. As readers now expect a chilling and maniacal turn with a crushing hook, the demand for the newest scary story is on. Every author thinks they’ve come up with the next “crazy psychological thriller that will top Gillian Flynn.” I bet I’ve read 50 novels in the last few years that have words to that effect typed on the back of them in boldface. And while Megan Miranda has certainly been making her mark in the thriller genre with innovative storylines that keep the reader guessing, none of her novels have had that It-Factor . . . the one that gets the hair on the back of your neck standing at attention or the goosebumps multiplying on your arms. The Wife Between Us did that for me, pushing me to finish the book in less than 24 hours, something I have not done since Gone Girl. I could not put it down. Every single time I thought I had the characters and the plot figured out, I would find myself not just wrong – but completely off base. Another turn would come around the bend, sending me careening into a tailspin full of Oh-My-Gods. And for that, I’m going to say that this book is not something I can compare to Gone Girl.

Because it’s better.

Giving The Wife Between Us 5 out of 5 stars, I hate to tell you that you must wait another month for its release date (January 9, 2018). Put this book on your TBR list immediately because it’s a novel you will not want to miss. I guarantee you that everyone will be talking about this one, so don’t let yourself be spoiled. Read it on your own to find out the real truth between and behind Vanessa and Nellie, and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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