Judith D Collins
The Secret Wife
By: Emily Shiner
Narrators: Natalie Duke & Wayne Mitchell
Publisher: Dreamscape Media
7 Hours, 13 Minutes
Publication Date: 07/05/2022
My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)
JULY 2022 MUST-READ BOOKS LIST
Cara is a devoted mother to two little girls. She loves her hectic life, but she looks forward to a relaxing weekend alone while her husband, Michael, takes the kids on a camping trip.
But their dream trip turns into a nightmare when their daughters are taken, deep into the forest.
One is returned safely. But one is still missing.
As Cara and Michael frantically search for their little girl, it becomes clear that this is no random abduction—her disappearance is linked to shocking secrets that are only now being revealed.
Soon Cara begins to how well she really knows her husband. Is the stress making her paranoid? Or is she finally seeing him as he really is?
Time is running out. How far will Cara go to find her daughter?
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GRIPPING. INTENSE. UTTERLY BINGE-WORTHY!
THE SECRET WIFE by Emily Shiner is a wickedly plotted CHILLING cat-and-mouse psycho-thriller brimming with dark delicious surprises and characters that won't let you go. Behind this perfect family are dark secrets, lies, and manipulation.
Darkly funny, I loved CARA! Her character is so bloody good! Going from the mild-mannered subservient wife to the powerhouse and one controlling the narrative.
AUDIOBOOK: I could not tear myself away while listening to the audio in one sitting throughout the day and evening. It was SPINE-TINGLING, narrated by Natalie Duke and Wayne Mitchell, perfect for all the voices. Downright creepy, in fact.
If you LOVE strong women (that you think are docile in the beginning) and ones who can get the upper hand, flipping it around on a misogynist manipulative evil man and outsmart him,—you are going to love this one!
From alternating POVs of Cara and Michael, we learn the innermost thoughts of both.
As the book opens, we briefly are at a campground in a tent with two girls. Someone is leading them out of the tent.
Back at the house, before the camping trip with Cara and Michael. He plans an overnight camping trip with the two daughters, Laura from his first marriage (deceased), and their biological daughter, Olivia.
Cara is looking forward to some R&R and a weekend of stay-at-home reading, bingeing, relaxing, and eating a lot of junk food without interruptions. This is Michael's first overnight trip with the girls, and Cara wants to ensure they have everything they need.
Right before they leave, the couple has a discussion. Michael (bad childhood) wants a ton of children. He is very controlling and thinks he runs the show. He must have a perfectly orchestrated life. A narcissist, he thinks very highly of himself, and things must go as he plans. He is also a bank manager and the breadwinner.
What is he hiding? PLENTY!
Cara is now a stay-at-home mom and a great mother. She married him after his first wife died and has done an outstanding job raising his daughter. She does not want any more children. Cara is secretly taking birth control pills as well as her other little pill to keep her intact (mental health). He must keep her in check.
However, right after they leave, she learns Laura has forgotten her stuffed animal, Mr. Purple, that her mom gave her and will not be able to sleep without him.
Also, there is a strange man in front of her house and Cara realizes it is the same homeless-looking man they saw at the restaurant the night before and Michael seemed weird. She also is in the attic and sees something that is also strange.
With poor cell phone service in the mountains, she decides to drive to the campground with Mr. Purple. However, when she arrives, the girls are missing. Michael left them alone in the forest away from other campers next to the river in a remote area, while he went to the car to look for the stuffed animal.
Cara is beside herself why Michael left the girls in the middle of the woods alone. A full-blown investigation by the authorities is now underway. Michael of course does not take the blame. Not his fault, of course.
Cara saw things and as a child, they put her on medication - the pills. Now she decides she does not need the little pills in order to deal with her missing daughter and what her husband is hiding She needs to think clearly. Focus. She needs to be alert.
Two pills. Each morning she takes them to protect her. One keeps her from having another baby. The other pill keeps her from succumbing to the sorrow that can grow and take over. But she must find her daughters.
"Only one tiny pill stands between me and that darkness, and I'm not sure if I took it this morning."
And man, when she goes off the pills, her personality changes from the sweet little wife that Michael thinks he can run over and manipulate to the focused and determined Mama Bear terminator!
Then later, back at the campground, Olivia mysteriously shows up in the tent, zipped up, but Laura is still missing.
Gosh, I love her new personality! Watch out, Michael, TICK TOK! Your lies, secrets, and past are about to be unraveled. The scene in the attic and at the inn was priceless!
While they frantically search for Laura, it becomes clear that this is no random abduction —her disappearance is linked to shocking secrets that are only now being revealed.
How far will Cara go to find her daughter? How well does she really know her husband? Is she paranoid, crazy, or right on? Time is running out. A tenacious mother fights for her children's lives while trying to unravel her husband's secret life.
"Riveting suspense, shocking revelations, and pitch-perfect dialogue make this one a WINNER. With multi-twists and a breakneck pace, THE SECRET WIFE is an utterly compelling thriller where nothing is as it appears to the satisfying conclusion."
What I love about #NetGalley and #Dreamscape is the opportunity to discover new authors and titles that generally would not be on my radar. In addition, the audiobook had some negative reviews about the narration, but thank goodness I did not let those influence my decision to request the audio. Just an example, you cannot always go by reviews. Everyone has a different take on books, genres, and narrators. I loved the KILLER TWIST and looking forward to reading more books by this author.
I read a lot of thrillers (118 thus far in 2022) and many are audio. I adore ones with dark humor. Fans of Kaira Rouda, Hannah Mary McKinnon, and Kimberly Belle will enjoy this one.
A special thank you to #DREAMSCAPE Media and #NetGalley for the opportunity to listen, enjoy, and review this one. I also loved it so much that I purchased the e-book.
@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks
Pub Date: July 5, 2022
My Rating: 5 Stars ✨✨✨✨✨
About the Author
Emily lives in the mountains of North Carolina and loves hiking with her dogs--only when she's not thinking up twisted tales, that is. She loves books that keep you up long after you should be in bed.