Christian White’s The Wife and the Widow is a tale of psychological suspense in an atmospheric small-town setting, with a killer twist. Read on for our full review of this taut and compelling novel.
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The Wife and the Widow Synopsis
Set against the backdrop of an eerie island town in the dead of winter, The Wife and the Widow is a mystery/thriller told from two perspectives: Kate, a widow whose grief is compounded by what she learns about her dead husband’s secret life; and Abby, an island local whose world is turned upside down when she’s forced to confront the evidence that her husband is a murderer. But nothing on this island is quite as it seems, and only when these women come together can they discover the whole story about the men in their lives.
Brilliant and beguiling, The Wife and the Widow takes you to a cliff edge and asks the question: how well do we really know the people we love?
Personally, I do not think you can get a much creepier setting than winter on a windswept small island only accessible by boat. But in The Wife and the Widow, White has ratcheted that up a notch by making Belport Island (thankfully fictional) a popular summer holiday destination for Melbourne’s affluent, sowing the seeds for simmering tensions and acrimony with the locals who loathe yet depend on their excess. Oh yeah, and why not throw something else that ‘totally weirds me out’ into that melting pot, taxidermy!
Add in several of my favourite fiction ingredients — original descriptors, alternating narratives and feisty female leads — and The Wife and the Widow was a recipe for success.
The dual narratives offer readers engaging character growth (the ‘still waters run deep’ variety) and build suspense in their exploration of that eternal question, ‘How well do we really know the people we love?’. However, it is White’s skilful plotting and pacing that I found most successful. I will confess I held certain suspicions from early on but still had not anticipated the full extent and gravitas of the killer twist executed.
To say much more would spoil the surprise. This second standalone thriller from Christian White is indeed worthy of the media buzz garnered at release.
The Wife and the Widow grips and thoroughly entertains before leaving readers with much weightier issues to ponder… namely, the power of grief (as anchor and chameleon) and the corrosive nature of secrets.
BOOK RATING: The Story 4.5 / 5 ; The Writing 4 / 5 — Overall 4.25
Get your copy of The Wife and the Widow from:
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Drama, Crime
Source: Affirm Press, 2019 – Christian White discusses The Wife and the Widow
The review counts toward my participation in the Aussie Author Challenge 2020.
About the Author, Christian White
Christian White is an Australian author and screenwriter whose projects include feature film Relic. The Nowhere Child is his first book and one of Australia’s bestselling debut novels ever. An early draft of this novel won the 2017 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. Since publication, The Nowhere Child has been shortlisted for major awards including the Australian Book Industry Awards’ General Fiction Book of the Year and Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year, and the Indie Book Awards’ Debut Fiction Book of the Year. Rights to The Nowhere Child have been sold in 17 international territories and has been acquired for a major screen deal. Clickbait, a television series Christian co-created with Tony Ayres (The Slap) is currently in production for Netflix. Christian’s keenly awaited second book, The Wife and the Widow was published by Affirm Press in 2019 and became an instant bestseller. Christian lives in Melbourne with his wife, filmmaker Summer DeRoche, and their adopted greyhound, Issy.Updated