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The Wives – Tarryn Fisher

Lord above we really wanted to love this. When Kylie and I were discussing which book we wanted to review for our first monthly review we agreed we wanted ideally a recent release. This one jumped out to me as the blurb sounded good so I think we can safely agree we went into this feeling like we had chosen a winner. 

Don’t get me wrong here, the overall story concept is good. Thursday is a woman in her late twenties, she has a good job, a beautiful condo and a husband that she adores. Downside? Her husband happens to have two other “wives”. Seth is a successful contractor who splits his time between Thursday and the other two women, jokingly called Monday and Tuesday in conversation. All three wives know the others exist but do not know anything about them aside from general geographic location. Thursday has told no one in her life she is part of a polygamist relationship, choosing to tell people her husband works out of town the bulk of the week.

This book initially moves along at the speed of molasses. It is slow and tedious despite the fact that a bit is happening. Thursday (and let me just jump in and say, you don’t even know her name is Thursday until mid-book, you just assume she is called that because its her day with her husband- like Monday and Tuesday respectively) inadvertently discovers the name and address of wife three- Hannah. She cannot resit driving down to Portland and past Hannah’s home. She goes so far as to be caught snooping by Hannah and feigns interest in her house. She is clearly torn between hating Hannah for being a part of her husband’s world, providing him with something she can’t, a baby, and wanting to be her friend because she likes her. When she is on the way out the door,she spots fingerprint like bruises on Hannah’s arm and this gets her little mind spinning. She sets out to find the first wife on the internet after seeing her name crop up on her husband’sphone. She finds Regina on a couple of dating sites and immediately sets about creating a profile using her relatives photos and strikes up a relationship with her, she is thoroughly confused when Regina’s answers to her questions counter the things her husband has said about her and she decides she needs to see Regina in person and try catch her out as a ‘cheater’ to show her husband, that way closing the nest from three wives down to two. Her next encounter with her new pal Hannah is a dinner where she spots a bruise along the apple of Hannah’s cheek. Hannah bolts abruptly mid dinner leaving Thursday confused. When she returns to her condo later her husband confronts her about where she has been and when she admits with Hannah, a fight ensues, and her husband starts implying she is crazy. Now hold onto your knickers cause this is where we take an abrupt turn.

Next chapter, literal turn of the page, we firstly learn that the protagonists name is actually Thursday (I had to literally flip back to the start to see if I had missed something) and she is now in hospital for a concussion. She asks repeatedly for Seth and when she sees him, he implies that he is not a polygamist, that she is delusional after having a late miscarriage of their baby and that he just wants her to get better. This is where the book, despite the sharp turn off the beaten path, could have grown to something wonderful but unfortunately the clunky and slightly disjointed writing style makes what had the potential for greatness just seem weak and frazzled and almost not quite thought out. We see Thursday moved from the hospital to a psychiatric ward, where we learn she was previously after the loss of her unborn baby. Nobody believes her that Seth has more than one wife and insist it is all in her head. Thursday is visited by a friend who she asks to track down Hannah, as corroboration to her tale but when her friend returns it is to say she cannot find a trace of Hannah anywhere and that when she investigated the address supplied it was a house that was actually owned by Thursday. 

Now Kylie thinks that a split personality would have been the saving grace of this tale, I think however that the overall concept is fine, that the execution is lacking and needs fine tuning. We follow Thursday out of the hospital and ward, back to her condo where Seth is her keeper to help her heal. Thursday grows increasingly convinced that Seth is against her, that he has erased things on her phone and broken her MacBook in order to convince her she is crazy. She drugs him and makes her break for freedom and her search for Hannah. When she rocks up to the house, Hannah has no idea who she is and asks her to leave. Thursday is getting increasingly confused and is unsure if perhaps she really is crazy. I think the author really could have made this brilliant, there was so much damn potential but alas, it was not to be. 

Thursday confronts Regina at work and then again at home, sharing her story of losing a baby at five months along. Surprisingly Regina contacts her to later share she also lost a baby beyond 20 weeks and has some thoughts about Seth. I am not going to dive into much more of the story because frankly if you make yourself suffer through the beginning you deserve to read the end as an underwhelming reward rather than brilliantly retold here by myself and Kylie. Suffice it to say it was weird, disjointed and fell short. Enjoy?

Overall, I probably won’t remember this as anything more than “that polygamist book” and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone at all unless I particularly disliked them. There were a few aspects that could have really been dissected further, there are random touches of this, that and the other that just isn’t taken further or built on. The characters have no real depth and the world building is not there at all. Kylie and I don’t always see eye to eye about books, but we wholeheartedly agree, this is truly a letdown. Hopefully February brings us better choices!

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