Desert Isle Keeper
The Wife Between Us
When you read as many psychological thrillers as I do, it takes something truly special to take you by surprise. Sometimes, it seems as though there are hundreds of authors out there, all telling different versions of the same story, and honestly, it can get old. But, every once in a while, an extra special book will come along and remind you just why you love the genre so much. The Wife Between Us, co-written by authors Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, is just such a book. It’s a chilling story that kept me glued to my iPad until I reached the end.
Vanessa’s life has fallen apart. Not so long ago, everything was wonderful; she was the wife of a successful businessman and the envy of all her friends. But of course, everyone knows that things are rarely as good as they appear, and Vanessa’s current circumstances are proof of that. Her husband Richard has divorced her, and she’s now living with her aunt, working as a sales clerk in a local department store, and drinking way too much. Then she learns that Richard is getting married again, and things get a whole lot worse as she becomes obsessed with the woman she sees as her replacement.
Nellie has left the tragic circumstances of her past behind her, and is living a life beyond her wildest imaginings. She loves her job as a pre-school teacher in New York City, she and her best friend Samantha share an apartment, and now, she’s engaged to Richard, the man of her dreams. So, if all this is true, why does Nellie feel so unsettled? Lately, she feels as though she’s being watched – but when she looks behind her, no one is there. Her phone rings at odd hours, but when she answers, there’s only silence on the line. She shares her concerns with Richard who doesn’t seem to take them nearly as seriously as she wishes he would. He just holds her close and tells her not to worry; and while part of Nellie thinks that should be enough, another part longs for him to validate her concerns.
Nellie and Vanessa rarely cross paths, but each woman is painfully aware of the other’s existence and, as events spiral further and further out of control, each begins to question her place in Richard’s life. Which of them knows the true Richard, and what does it really mean to be his wife?
As the story unfolds, you’ll make certain assumptions about what’s going on, and that’s exactly what the authors want you to do. They lay things out in such a way as to guide your mind where they want it to go, and going along with them is no hardship at all. They’ve successfully woven a web of conflicting details that will leave you perplexed in the very best way. I sped through this book so I could discover what was really going on.
As far as characters go, both Vanessa and Nellie are sympathetic and likable. There were times I was frustrated by Vanessa’s unwillingness to let go of the past and move on to make a better life for herself, but her inability to do this does feel authentic. Nellie possesses a streak of naïveté that keeps her from seeing the truth, even when it’s right in front of her, and this too has a realistic feel. Both women experience believable amounts of growth as the story unfolds, and I, as the reader, appreciated that. I’m not a fan of characters who remain stagnant.
The novel contains depictions of domestic violence that might prove troubling to some readers. They aren’t terribly graphic, but they’re definitely disturbing. I don’t want to say much more than that, but I did think it was worth pointing them out so that readers who are triggered by such things can make an informed decision as to whether or not they want to read this book.
This was my first experience with both Sarah Pekkanen and Greer Hendricks, but it definitely won’t be my last. I’ve already added Ms. Pekkanen’s backlist to my Want to Read shelf on Goodreads, and I’ll soon be doing the same for Ms. Hendricks. Both are incredibly skilled writers, and I’m eager to spend more time with their work – and I certainly would not be opposed to the idea of their teaming up for another book some time in the future.