#BookReview – The Wife’s Shadow by Cath Weeks

From one of Elle magazine’s ‘authors to watch’ comes a twisty, suspenseful and emotionally fraught novel about how little we really know the person we marry. For fans of The Affair and Dr Foster.

Every woman has a secret…

Everyone admires Suzy and her doll’s house life. She has a gorgeous family, a beautiful home and a successful business. But Suzy hasn’t always been in control. In her past lies a shadowy tale of fear and instability – a life that she once ran away from, and has hidden from ever since.

When Suzy starts being followed, she fears that her past may finally be catching up on her. And when she finds herself unable to do what to her is the most important thing – keep her loved ones safe – she has to decide how far she’d be willing to go to win everything back.

Even if it means sacrificing everything she knows and loves..

Published in Ebook – September 2018/ Paperback- March 2019 by Little Brown (UK)

~ Review ~  

When I was invited to read The Wife’s Shadow on Netgalley I’ll admit to not knowing all that much about it. I was swayed by the gorgeous cover though and the premise of a perfect life being not quite as it seems. And actually, I was very pleasantly surprised, because The Wife’s Shadow ended up being quite different to how I expected it, but in a good way.

The book begins when Suzy starts to notice strange things linking to her childhood in a town many miles away – a packet of red cigarette papers, a leaflet for a local event and an old toy. All of them pretty mundane but incredibly significant to Suzy. Convinced someone is following her and trying to scare her, she sets off to find out what really happened all those years ago. But knowing the truth doesn’t bring Suzy peace of mind as she starts to feel she is loosing control of her life and sanity. Is it the ghosts of the past who are haunting Suzy or is there something more sinister at play in her present.

Right from the beginning, I was gripped by this book. I loved how an uneasy feeling was built as Suzy becomes increasingly confused by what’s happening. The decline of Suzy’s apparent mental stability is expertly done, as she transforms from  strong, controlled and assured to weak, anxious and uncertain. It’s all very subtle and leaves the reader wondering what’s really going on or is it all in Suzy’s mind?

I thought the flashbacks to her past were very good, slowly building a picture of a troubled childhood and an impending sense of doom that something awful is going to happen. Cath Weeks tackles the difficult topic of domestic violence, and the impact on children who witness it, sensitively. The glimpses of her childhood also allow the reader to understand Suzy’s actions and behavior in the present, making her easy to sympathise with, even while doubting her reliability.

The cover and the synopsis scream psychological thriller, and yes there is a strong element of suspense. But this book isn’t just about the big twists, it’s is also a strong character study, of a woman who’s suffered childhood trauma, manipulation, betrayal and is struggling to let go of her past. Suzy was a character I was really rooting for by the end. There’s a lot packed into this book, and I wondered how all the threads were going to tie together and I wasn’t disappointed when they did. If you like a more subtle psychological read with a strong lead character and complex layers, then I would recommend THE WIFE’S SHADOW without hesitation.

(I read an advance ebook edition courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley)

 

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