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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?
The Audiobookworm's Review
Rating: 3.75 Stars
The Wives was a highly anticipated release for me. As someone who thoroughly enjoyed the show Big Love and who claims the TLC reality show Sister Wives as a guilty pleasure, I was looking forward to Tarryn Fischer's take on polygamist drama. I actually discovered The Wives (pre-release) by actively searching for 'books like Big Love'.
From the start, The Wives gives it a different spin by keeping all of the wives separate- not just in separate homes, but in separate cities and states. Practically from the first page, Fischer lays out the marital situation, using wife #2 as narrator. Her name is "Thursday" and her husband [Seth] always visits her on Thursdays. He has two other wives, "Monday" and "Tuesday", whom "Thursday" has never met. She does not even know their real names. So far, so good.
I didn't notice it immediately, but Fischer jumps straight into the action and sort of info dumps all of this on us. I think we see Seth and Thursday together one time before the plot kicks in to full gear. There's really no time to settle in to the world and become accustomed to its characters before things start spinning out of control. When I did notice it, I told myself that the author was probably just trying to keep the reader engaged, and would likely flesh things out more later. That was not the case.
It soon became clear that this wasn't the action thriller I have been anticipating, but a psychological thriller. If you browse through my past reviews, you'll notice that the last psychological thriller I read was The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. After finishing that series, I knew that psychological thrillers or, more accurately, unreliable narrators were not for me. I loathe the feeling of not being able to gain purchase within a story. I appreciate that some readers enjoy not having anything to cling to and not knowing what's real and what's not. I can even admit that a little of it can be thrilling, but not nine hours worth. I just don't enjoy feeling constantly lost and disoriented in a story, like being in a blizzard and not being able to see anything around you. That's not my type of thrill.
I much prefer being blindsided. In my mind, the best kind of plot twist is when you feel like you're standing on firm ground and then a rug is ripped out from underneath. But in order for that type of twist to be truly effective, you have to be sure you're standing on firm ground, before realizing you aren't. To me, that's the ultimate dupe. In The Wives, I was never sure who to trust. Therefore, when the plot twist was revealed, it was anti-climactic because I had already been partially expecting it from everyone involved.
I will say that the execution of the plot was engrossing. As I neared the end of the audiobook, I avoided going to bed just so I could hear some sort of resolution. I've never read anything from Tarryn Fischer before, but I do know that she is thought of as a very talented author. I, however, was disappointed with the way The Wives was set up. The plot itself was clever and the conclusion was satisfying, but they were wasted on me because I never really felt invested in the characters or immersed in their lives. I would be willing to give Fischer's writing another chance, just to see if this type of style is typical for her, or if this was a one-off.
Narration review: Lauren Fortgang did a wonderful job narrating The Wives. I always enjoy her performances, although this was the first time I've heard her narrate a thriller. She did an adequate job of providing character distinction, even though it wasn't quite what I'm used to hearing from her in Fantasy titles. The Wives was excellently narrated and produced, so if you are into psychological thrillers, I recommend checking this out on audiobook. ♣︎