Friday, 15 July 2016

The Third Wife by Lisa Jewell

This novel was recommended to me, which is just as well as I had always thought Lisa Jewell was a bit too ‘chick lit’ for me. I was wrong. The Third Wife is a thoughtful look at a family, Adrian’s family, who are a strangely cobbled together mix across three marriages, who still manage to all be friends and enjoy holidaying together. Or so they say.

Adrian is a successful architect, with that slightly scruffy longish hair that is so appealing, and makes women just want to look after him. His first marriage was to Susie, and produced his son, Luke, and daughter, Cat, now grown up. Adrian left Susie when he fell in love with Caroline who is coolly beautiful, and produced three more children, Otis, Pearl and Beau, before falling for much younger, Maya, a temp at work.

The book begins with Maya’s tragic death, supposedly an accident, leaving Adrian grief stricken and alone with Maya’s cat. Secrets and strange occurrences are deftly woven into the story of Maya’s last days and the family’s regrouping. When Luke comes to stay with his father and finds some worrying emails on the couple’s laptop there are sinister implications. A woman who leaves her cell-phone in Adrian’s flat when she offers to rehome the cat creates more mystery.

As secrets are slowly revealed, it seems not everyone is as they appear to be, which makes Jewell’s characters dynamic and interesting. The English settings of London during the summer of hosting the Olympic Games, country holidays, the lovingly decorated homes of Susie and Caroline make the book vivid and appealing. Meanwhile the tension of reined in emotions bubbling under the surface, and the slow unravelling of what really happened keep you hooked to the end. A top read which should appeal to fans of Joanna Trollope and David Nicholls.

Posted by JAM

Catalogue link: The Third Wife

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