Wife to a Stranger
What if you woke up one morning and didn’t remember details about your life or your marriage? What if things seemed vaguely familiar but just out of reach? How about feeling like you’re not the person you once were? That’s the dilemma facing Capri Massey in Daphne Clair’s Wife to a Stranger – a book that gets off to a roaring start, only to end with a whimper.
Capri wakes up after a train accident, remembering only scattered details of her life. She knows that the alluring man in her room is her husband Rolfe, but she doesn’t remember the problems that plagued their marriage – or why her husband hadn’t been on the train with her. Rolfe isn’t quick in supplying any answers.
Told completely in Capri’s point of view, the book moves at a fast pace and leaves the reader open for all the little surprises that Capri gets handed along the way, such as a chance meeting with a former lover, and the reason why she and Rolfe shared separate rooms. These startling revelations initially make Capri a sympathetic character. Also, through her eyes we see Rolfe’s reaction to her, his frustration at not being able to make love to her, and his reluctance to tell her the truth.
The relationship between Capri and Rolfe was once ripe with sexuality and the tension between them now is thick and heavy, but Capri just can’t seem to let herself go throughout most of the book. When a specialist suggests there may be a psychological reason for Capri’s memory loss, both she and Rolfe are forced to confront some issues from their marriage. But when the long awaited love scene finally arrives, it ends with a bizarre and surprising twist that actually ruined the entire book for me. It was a complete and utter cop-out by the author that culminated in a rushed happily-ever-ending that made me say, “Oh Please!”
Since I don’t want to give away the entire plot, just in case some of you decide to read this book, I’ll say only that author Clair begins the book by making Capri one person and ends with her becoming someone else entirely, in a ludicrous plot device used for shock value. I would have much preferred the story to follow a more realistic vein, as it had for ninety per cent of the book. Here I had spent a couple of hours raptly turning pages wondering what would happen when Capri got her memory back only to be sickened with disappointment. What made it worse was that the book had been so filled with promise before the cop-out ending. After a hundred pages of realism, to read such drivel was like a slap in the face. I don’t believe I’ll allow Daphne Clair to do it to me twice.