By Ellysa Harris
It’s been a few months since I’ve found a book that’s captivated my attention long enough to power through in a relatively short time.
I was trying out my new library card and browsing the Unger Memorial Library’s book selection online a few weeks ago when I came across The Wife and the Widow by Christian White. (I can’t believe it took me so long to get a library card.) I’d narrowed my selection down to three options.
I’ve always been a big reader. When I was a child, my parents tell me, I’d always opt for a book instead of a toy when we came shopping. That habit has fed my book collection (so has this Facebook group I’m a part of called Page Turners), which includes a bit of just about every genre.
My favorite genres are romantic comedies (not the sappy stuff), historical fiction, suspense, Christian fiction, adventure and a little non-fiction. I draw the line at horror, though. I also haven’t ever found a sci-fi book that really clicks with me.
Anyway, my idea as I lay in bed browsing book selections was to find a newly-available book in the library’s system to review. The Wife and the Widow turned out to be a good choice. It’s an easy read.
A little research after I finished my book shows White’s debut book, The Nowhere Child, gained him notoriety in 2017. It earned the Australian author several accolades and, according to his website, it’s been picked up for a major screen deal.
The Wife and the Widow was first released in Australia in September 2019. It was released in the United States in January.
The first chapters introduce the reader to two ordinary women whose lives are turned upside down.
After Kate’s husband is found dead on an island where they share a summer home, she learns more about her husband than she ever knew when he was alive. Abby, a self-described crime junkie, finds her family life unexpectedly derailed.
Through their own investigations, the women find their paths intertwined.
By that description alone, I’m sure you think you’ve got a good hypothesis about the plot. You’re probably wrong.
The twists kept my head spinning. I ended just about every chapter thinking I had the plot figured out. I was pleasantly surprised when the end proved me wrong.
It does have a few religious and sexuality plots, which I did not initially expect going in. The theme of this story is also focused on mental health. White weaves them in a memorable way to take the reader through a suspenseful rollercoaster ride you don’t even realize you’re on until the last drop.
Thinking back, the information is all there in the details. I’m tempted to re-read the book already just to see what I missed the first time.
It’s smartly written and I can’t stress enough how impressed I was at the complexity of the subtle details when I finished the last page.
That’s probably why the book is so popular. You can read it for free through the Unger Memorial Library on Overdrive. When I looked it up two weeks ago, there was a bit of a lengthy wait to check out the e-edition.
Amazon provided a sample of the book. I took the bait and decided I didn’t want to wait.
It didn’t quite make my list of favorite books but I’d still rate it four stars out of five. It’s not a story I’ll soon forget.