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Saturday, October 31, 2020

Domestic Drama Dissatisfying and Weird

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Marie Langham has always been jealous of her best friend's perfect life.  Nina Beaufort has it all—a doting husband, two beautiful children, and a lovely home.  When Nina dies of cancer, Marie is devastated to lose her only real friend.  The only thing she can do for her now is keep her promise to make sure Nina's children are looked after.  Marie's only too happy to step into the role she's been secretly coveting for years.  Before long, she's moved into Nina's home, ostensibly to assist Nina's husband.  Her secret mission is to seduce him and convince him to marry her, thereby cementing her place in the household.  

The more time Marie spends in Nina's home, the more she comes to realize that Nina's life was far from perfect.  In fact, the dead woman was keeping some shocking secrets.  When the past comes calling, Marie finds herself caught in the middle.  Is the life she always envied really the one she wants?  

Domestic dramas mixed with mystery, suspense, and some psychological thrills are a dime a dozen these days.  Some are twisty, adrenaline-fueled page turners, others are ... not.  Unfortunately, The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton falls into the latter category.  First of all, it's more domestic drama than anything else, which perhaps explains why it's so straightforward and predictable.  Second, it's populated with a cast of selfish, manipulative, unlikable characters, the worst of whom is our "heroine."  Third, the plot is just weird.  The characters' choices are often illogical and the story gets more absurd as it goes.  So, why did I bother finishing this odd, depressing novel?  Honestly, I don't know!  Apparently, I was invested enough that I wanted to find out how the tale wrapped up.  I can't say this book was at all enjoyable, though.  For me, it was a strange, eye roll-worthy, dissatisfying read that I probably should have DNF'd right from the start.  Lesson learned.

(Readalikes:  Um, no specific titles are coming to mind.  You?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (a few F-bombs, plus milder expletives), violence, references to illegal drug use, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of The Perfect Wife from the generous folks at Graydon House (a division of HarperCollins) via those at NetGalley.  Thank you!


  1. I'm not a huge fan of domestic dramas; in fact, I hardly ever read them. Sorry this one ended up being weird and disappointing.

  2. I found this one to be a bit odd as well. I only gave it 3 stars which is pretty low for me. Nice honest review Susan.


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