Soon to be a major motion picture starring Nicole Kidman, fans of The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl will love The Silent Wife
"I gobbled it down in one sitting." – Anne Lamott, People
Jodi and Todd are at a bad place in their marriage. Much is at stake, including the affluent life they lead in their beautiful waterfront condo in Chicago, as she, the killer, and he, the victim, rush haplessly toward the main event. He is a committed cheater. She lives and breathes denial. He exists in dual worlds. She likes to settle scores. He decides to play for keeps. She has nothing left to lose. Told in alternating voices, The Silent Wife is about a marriage in the throes of dissolution, a couple headed for catastrophe, concessions that can’t be made, and promises that won’t be kept. Expertly plotted and reminiscent of Gone Girl and These Things Hidden, The Silent Wife ensnares the reader from page one and does not let go.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Equal parts marriage drama and suspense thriller, The Silent Wife excels on both counts. As any good armchair sleuth will tell you, the devil is in the details—and author A. S. A. Harrison traces married couple Jodi and Todd’s downward spiral with chiseled precision. Domestic misery transforms the two high-functioning professionals into obsessive opponents, leading to thoughts of murder. Harrison pulls the noose tight around both her characters’ necks, making her thriller as memorably malevolent as a Gillian Flynn novel.
Canadian author Harrison s first novel is a smart, nuanced portrait of a dying marriage. Psychotherapist Jodi Brett is content with her tidy, tranquil existence cooking for her husband, Todd Gilbert; walking the dog; seeing a few clients out of their gorgeous Chicago condo while headstrong Todd works as a professional renovator. As Jodi sees it, they complement each other, and she doesn t mind pretending to disregard Todd s indiscretions (which he clumsily attempts to cover up) in exchange. Accepting the peccadillos of her adulterous husband is one thing, but when Todd takes his infidelity to the next level and tells her that he s leaving her, the existence she s clung to so dearly is destroyed. And Jodi will do anything to take it back. And she does. Harrison (Zodicat Speaks and three other nonfiction titles) breathes life into Adlerian psychology, and weaves theory into a heart-pounding thriller that will keep you up at night.
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The Silent Wife
I wish there was an option for two and one half stars. This book was largely a character study of two rather unlikeable characters. I found myself turning the pages quickly, but only for the purpose of learning the whens and hows of the murder, which we are told in the opening chapter will occur. However, the plot feels otherwise thin. There is simply not much that happens, other than the unraveling of a relationship about which I found myself caring little. The author forces the theme of the therapist-as-patient, and for some time, I thought we would see a peeling back of many layers, which would reveal that the "silent wife's" emotionally stinted, denial-laden go along to get along persona belied some level of complexity. Unfortunately, despite the fact that the book is largely devoted to sketching and literally psychoanalyzing its title character (we sit through numerous therapy sessions), the author fails to reveal any layers to the character, or to allow her to evolve, gain any self-awareness, or address her issues in any meaningful way. We ultimately learn of the main character's repressed memory of childhood abuse. Where Anne Marie MacDonald absolutely shone in introducing this element to explain everything, convincingly and heartbreakingly in "Fall on Your Knees," this author falls short. she sets us up for a portrait of a woman teetering on the brink of a cataclysmic event (husband's betrayal and murder) that would shatter her defenses and reveal her layers and madness. However, no great insight occurs. Instead, we see a controlled, detached and rather materialistic woman who has seemingly largely slept through life, devoted herself to a man who she may love, or who she may be staying with because his emotional distance and infidelity allow her to remain her distant and measured self. All of this could have been explored and is ripe for psychoanalysis in a book that adopts psychoanalysis as a major theme. However, despite hours of psychotherapy, we are left with not a character whose coldness is a cover for something deeper, but who is ultimately just flat and shallow. Even after she arranges for her husband's murder, except for five guilt ridden days that quickly resolve, she remains, afterward, largely unchanged. One may say that her history of abuse is the explanation for her detachment, and while this could certainly be true in real life, the author should have shown me some glimpse of the feelings and struggles and pain that the character was fighting to keep buried through her approach to life-her thoughts, hopes, fears, anything, as well as the way in which her defenses crumbled enough to lead her to murder. It seemed as though the author used the character's history as a panacea and almost a cop out to make her one-dimensional-"she is detached due to abuse, and that is all you need to know to understand her." Detachment and difficulty with intimacy due to abuse are real issues, but there is always more to the person than their hard-fought-for defense mechanisms. Ironically, after studying Jodi's character for 624 iBook pages, we never glimpse anything deeper than her detachment. It is a character study that doesn't study deeply enough and a psychoanalysis that misses many opportunities to analyze. When the story is largely devoted to character analysis, we need more, well, character analysis. Maybe the point is to allow us to reach these conclusions on our own. Maybe the author is acting as the therapist, throwing out statements and concepts for us to ponder and develop on our own. I still think Jodi should have been better developed. Having said that, I do think the husband's character was well-drawn, and the last third of the book picks up and becomes more suspenseful.
This book was tedious and I must have skipped over at least 1/3 of the contents. The main story was interesting, but such vague references you can barely follow it and the rest is just Charlie Browns teacher talking, blah, blah, blah.
If I had to do over, I'd save my money and you should, too.
Where is the ending?
What the hell? Never wraps up the cliffhangers!