The Wife Between Us is widely expected to be the year’s first big psychological thriller. Written by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, it comes after the publication of A. J. Finn’s The Woman in the Window. Both are dubbed the next Gone Girl, and each novel continues the unstable woman trope that has been widely popular in this genre for the past few years. I’m conflicted about this latest quick read.
Firstly, the plot. There are a handful of twists in this novel. The first one is surprising and well done, revealed at the end of the first part of the story. It’s a little confusing but original. However, as the story progresses and the main protagonists’ motives are gradually revealed, the second twist becomes a little bit too predictable. I was left thinking, “Oh, is that it?”. Very anti-climactic considering the hype expressed in the blurb. The last big twist in the epilogue, concerning Emma’s real identity seems extremely unnecessary and conflated and wrecks the plausibility of the whole drama. It’s almost as if the authors had written the last sentence of the novel, loved it so much, and then tried to work out how they could include it.
Secondly, the writing. I’m going to be harsh. In my opinion, I didn’t enjoy their style of writing. I found their tone monotone and cliche. The dialogue was too jarring and cheesy, and the first-person monologues got a little too boring and self-deprecating. Maybe it was a side-effect of having two authors but I felt the writing lacked some consistency and flow. Or maybe it’s just something I didn’t enjoy on a personal level.
Also, the authors really love brands. And I mean love! Whether it was fashion labels like Alexander McQueen, food franchises or celebrities, Hendricks and Pekkanen didn’t hold back on adding a handful of consumerism in each chapter. Yes, a few brands are good to submerge the story into the real world, but as a reader, it got a little annoying after the second chapter.
I can’t help but compare this to The Woman in the Window as they are both the must-have thrillers of the new year. The Wife Between Us has a unique-ish story with an average writing style. The Woman in the Window has a not so unique plot but is superbly written. What did I enjoy more? Which one would I read again? Which one do I remember the most? The Woman in the Window. Which goes to show that good action is intriguing but great writing is a NECESSITY!
In short, The Wife Between Us is a slightly surprising but forgettable novel.
But what did you think? Let me know in the comments if I’m being too harsh!