From Mary Jo:
I generally like the genre of psychological thrillers, and The Wife Between Us was immensely satisfying.
Like others with strong female characters (Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train come to mind), I found myself drawn into the plot both emotionally and intellectually. And like any good thriller, there were plenty of plot twists – including one very big “I didn’t see that coming” moment. It was such a twist that I had to go back and read several pages because I missed all the foreshadowing. It was there, and obvious now that I know about it. I expect we’ll see this as a movie, too.
Trigger warning: This does involve domestic abuse, so if that sets off unresolved issues, you may want to skip this one.
From Mary Jo
Here’s another one from 2018, a historical period piece set in New York in the late 1800s – The English Wife.
It’s full of family secrets, scandal, oppressive social norms and mores, and a murder. The reveal was surprising to me, but as I thought back about it, the signs were all there.
The ending was a little too neat and tidy, but I still enjoyed it.
This was, at times, a very hard book to read. It’s a memoir of a young woman who raised in a survivalist community, who wasn’t allowed to attend school, and who lived preparing for an eventual invasion by the government. Indoctrination into the survivalist movement was near complete.
Then, she broke away from home to attend college (after lying and saying that she graduated from high school).
Following this young woman as she tried to maintain a relationship with her dysfunctional family, while being ostracized by them for her more liberal (but still conservative) beliefs was frustrating and painful. Knowing that there are hundreds more boys and girls who are caught up in this similar life and seclusion is even more painful.
I’m not sure if the ending is a happy one, it’s a mixed bag, but I think she’s in a much better place than at the beginning of the book.
Not my favorite of the many Baldacci books and/or series, this one seems a little more contrived with a character with a perfect memory and recall. It’s too cliche of an arc for me to care much about the plot.
There are better Baldacci books to read.
It would be easy to just relegate this to the rom-con or rom-drama, but it has a little bit more grit that fits neatly into those genres. Ultimately, it’s a book about family and our relationships within and among our families.
This book appeared on so book club, bestseller, and favorite lists that I was really looking forward to it. The topic is timely – the way a Muslim family from India integrates into the United States in a pre- and then post- 9/11 era.
This should have been something that I could really sink my teeth into. The plot centered around family dynamics and the generational differences in a Muslim family. Okay, good, there’s some meat here. It was the characters that did me in. I just didn’t care about them. In fact, they annoyed me to no end (especially the brother who was front and center of much of the story). It took me forever to finish the book, in large part because I just didn’t care, but I slogged on.
I’m the odd person out on this, though. Most reviews and bookclubs have fallen in love with it. Meh – not the first or last time that I didn’t love something everyone else did.