The Third Wife
By Lisa Jewell
Publication Date: 6/9/2015
My Rating: 4 Stars
For fans of Liane Moriarty and Jojo Moyes comes a riveting family drama with a dark mystery at its core, from the internationally bestselling author of The House We Grew Up In. In the early hours of a summer morning, a young woman steps into the path of an oncoming bus. A tragic accident? Or suicide? At the center of this puzzle is Adrian Wolfe, a successful architect and grief-stricken widower, who, a year after his third wife’s death, begins to investigate the cause. As Adrian looks back on their brief but seemingly happy marriage, disturbing secrets begin to surface. The divorces from his two previous wives had been amicable, or so it seemed; his children, all five of them, were resilient as ever, or so he thought. But something, or someone, must have pushed Maya over the edge… With psychological nuance that gets into the heart of its characters, The Third Wife is a gripping story about a man seeking the truth behind his seemingly perfect marriage and the broken pieces left behind.
About the Author
Lisa was born in London in 1968. Her mother was a secretary and her father was a textile agent and she was brought up in the northernmost reaches of London with her two younger sisters. She was educated at a Catholic girls’ Grammar school in Finchley. After leaving school at sixteen she spent two years at Barnet College doing an arts foundation course and then two years at Epsom School of Art & Design studying Fashion Illustration and Communication.
She worked for the fashion chain Warehouse for three years as a PR assistant and then for Thomas Pink, the Jermyn Street shirt company for four years as a receptionist and PA. She started her first novel, Ralph’s Party, for a bet in 1996. She finished it in 1997 and it was published by Penguin books in May 1998. It went on to become the best-selling debut novel of that year.She has since written a further nine novels, as is currently at work on her eleventh.
A special thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. British author, Lisa Jewell, once again has a thumb on today’s marriage, relationships, and blended families in her latest complex and emotional psychological suspense drama, THE THIRD WIFE. Three women have one thing in common – Adrian Wolfe, a man, a father, a current husband, and former husband for two different wives, and five children between two of the former wives. Fifty year old Adrian, an accomplished architect, married to this third wife Maya, with no children has now lost his wife, as she stepped in front of a London bus and was killed. Mysteriously, it was late one night and she was drunk. Why was she drunk at this late hour? Suicide or accident? Was she going through something, or troubled in some way; perhaps hidden her issues from her family? Now a year after Maya's mysterious death, Adrian is pondering what really happened to his wife. He begins to track the days prior to the event, to try and put together the pieces of the puzzle to help him understand what his wife may have been experiencing, leading to such devastation. As the book opens, Adrian places an ad around town and in the papers trying to find a new home for Maya’s cat, Billie. This mysterious woman Jane sees him put the ad and pretends to want the cat, and begins visiting the home of Adrian. She appears to be a stalker. How does this woman fit into the mystery? Adrian has always found some sort of blemish in all of his wives and immediately finds one small one with Jane; however, he is taken with her. In the meantime, Adrian finds a number of disturbing emails on Maya’s computer. As we hear from multiple viewpoints, we find Adrian thinks everyone is one happy family. However are they really? Susie, his first wife living in the country and mother of Cat, and Luke, both in their twenties (these two are not so easy). Adrian left his first family for glamorous Caroline, who resides in a beautiful city townhome with three children all under the age of twelve: Beau, Pearl, and Otis. Believe it or not, they all spend holidays together and share custody. As Adrian begins diving into Maya’s death, things are not as perfect as he thought. To further increase the intensity and complexity, we hear from Maya’s point of view. How difficult it was to be childless and be a part of this overwhelming family. More hidden secrets are uncovered and Adrian is sure this stalker woman Jane, may somehow be connected. As the suspense builds, Jewell is a master at creating gripping psychological family drama, blending past with present for a mystery and a contemporary portrayal of today's blended family unit. A realistic examination into the complexities and emotions of modern day families. I can relate to the story, as I have been a first wife, a second wife, an ex-wife, (never want to be a third wife), happily divorced for more than twenty-five years; a mom of two boys, and a former stepmom of three boys and they all resided with us (when we married all boys were under the age of 15). There is no end to the daily complications, when you have this many people emotionally connected. Fans of psychological suspense, mystery, women’s fiction, chick-lit, and family drama, as well as those who enjoy authors,Amy Hatvany, Sarah Pekkanen, Jane Green, Liane Moriarty, and Jojo Moyes will appreciate Lisa’s clever and skillful writing style, as she manages multiple perspectives with ease. If you enjoyed THIRD WIFE, I recommend The House We Grew Up In, another winner by Jewell.