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Review: The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

Review: The Wives by Tarryn FisherThe Wives by Tarryn Fisher
Published by Graydon House on December 30, 2019
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover

Imagine that your husband has two other wives.
You’ve never met the other wives. None of you know each other, and because of this unconventional arrangement, you can see your husband only one day a week. But you love him so much you don’t care. Or at least that’s what you’ve told yourself.
But one day, while you’re doing laundry, you find a scrap of paper in his pocket—an appointment reminder for a woman named Hannah, and you just know it’s another of the wives.
You thought you were fine with your arrangement, but you can’t help yourself: you track her down, and, under false pretenses, you strike up a friendship. Hannah has no idea who you really are. Then, Hannah starts showing up to your coffee dates with telltale bruises, and you realize she’s being abused by her husband. Who, of course, is also your husband. But you’ve never known him to be violent, ever.
Who exactly is your husband, and how far would you go to find the truth? Would you risk your own life?
And who is his mysterious third wife?

This book is damn near impossible for me to review because almost anything I say can be construed as a spoiler. Sometimes, you pick up a thriller and you want to tell the world about it but you just can’t say more than what is on the flap. This is one of those times.

It’s December, and I shan’t apologize for using this GIF.


How I’d Describe This Book to a Friend

I would probably make some sort of throaty noise that sounds like blargh, first of all. But then I’d say this:

Imagine you’re happily married, but you only see your husband once a week. This is because your husband has two other wives – you’re the only legal spouse, but they still exist and they demand equal use of his time. Your darling husband loves you all equally, and he doesn’t want to engender feelings of jealousy or drama, so you never even know their names – your name is Thursday, so he jokes and calls them Monday and Tuesday. And that’s all you know. One is pregnant, one didn’t want children … and you had a miscarriage you’d prefer not to think about, the loss of your baby was what spurred him on to take a third wife. But you don’t think about that, what good can come of it? You function as a single woman every day, but on Thursdays? Thursdays, you’re a married woman.

And then one evening, you slip your hand into your husband’s coat and pull out a receipt from a doctor’s visit for someone named Hannah. That’s gotta be one of his other wives, right? You live in such a weird, specific bubble and you can’t explain what happens to anyone else – it would be so nice to have a friend who gets it! So you go through some mild Facebook stalking, the usual. You wind up in Hannah’s neighboring city, and she catches you admiring her house and invites you inside! All of a sudden you’re grabbing coffee with your sister wife, but she has no idea she’s your sister wife.

And then you notice the bruises on her wrists. Your husband is never violent. But is hers … ?

The Bottom Line

This book had so many twists and turns I felt like I was on the Animal Kingdom’s Primeval Whirl – I know I’ve used this simile before, but it’s a really good one and I am going to keep it.

There are no words to describe the neck pain I got from this ride. Just trust me, it does a lot of whip-smart turning.

To say anything much else about The Wives is to really begin to crack into its secrets – and what makes this book so much fun is that you don’t see them coming. They fall like dominoes, and by the end I know I said “what the fuck!?” out loud more than once because I was just flabbergasted. As many of you know, I guess a lot of thriller plots – however I had no idea any of this was happening, and it blew my mind every single time. I was a delighted toddler with an airplane spoon. You hate to love Thursday, because you know she’s doing lots of “girl running upstairs being chased by a killer”-level things, but you know deep down you’d do them too so you can’t even be mad at her.

The Wives comes out at the very end of December, but you can grab your copy like I did via Book of the Month. I am notoriously hard on thrillers and tend to slap the “big red bow ending” tag on my reviews, but I can honestly say that The Wives does not get a big red bow ending – or even a small red bow ending. It gets a “what the fuck” bow, and that’s my favorite kind of bow to put on a thriller.

If you like a good domestic thriller that will keep you guessing and reading while your bath water grows cold around you (… just saying), pick this one up. It’s rocketed up into my top 5 of the year, and that’s no small feat given what great stuff has come my way in 2019.

“Everything is just right, the way he likes it, and thus, the way I like it. It’s not that I don’t have a personality; it’s just that everything I am is reserved for him. As it should be.”

“You could give your all to a man, every last thing, and you’d still end up with a bruised ear.”

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