top of page
Top of Blog
wine patio book .jpg
  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Widow

ISBN: 978-1542039215

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: 12/01/2022

Format: Other

My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)

A husband with secrets. A wife with no limits. A riveting novel of marriage, privilege, and lies by Kaira Rouda, the USA Today bestselling author of The Next Wife.

Jody Asher had a plan. Her charismatic husband, Martin, would be a political icon. She, the charming wife, would fuel his success. For fifteen congressional terms, they were the golden couple on the Hill. Life was good. Until he wasn’t.

Martin’s secret affair with a young staffer doesn’t bother Jody personally. But professionally? It’s a legacy killer. Soon a reporter gets word of this scandal in the making, and Martin’s indiscretions threaten to ruin everything Jody has accomplished.

When Martin suddenly dies, it’s a chance to change the narrative—but the reporter won’t let go of his lead. As the balance of power shifts in the Asher house and on the Hill, it’s time for Jody to take control. And there’s nothing the ruthless widow won’t do to secure the future she’s entitled to. Even if she has a secret of her own.

About the Author

Kaira Sturdivant Rouda is an accomplished business leader, entrepreneur, national speaker and internationally bestselling and award-winning author.

A former magazine editor, and society columnist, Kaira won the Stevie Award for Women in Business for creating the first female-focused residential real estate brand, Real Living, and growing the brand to more than 22 states before its sale to Berkshire Hathaway.

Her first book, Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs, led to a national speaking tour where she inspired thousands. Turning to a full-time writing career, Kaira has become a USA Today bestselling author, an international bestseller, and an Amazon Charts bestseller. Her books have been translated into more than ten languages. Recent releases, including Best Day Ever, The Favorite Daughter, and The Next Wife have been called “chilling satisfying suspense” (Good Housekeeping), “exceptional” (Publishers Weekly), and “an examination of the darkest betrayals” (Brit & Co.).

Active in the areas of homelessness, food security, and empowering women and girls, in her twenties, as a volunteer, she created the first walk-in emergency shelter for homeless families in Central Ohio.

Kaira has received numerous awards for her community service, including the national Kiwanis Service to Mankind Award, among many others. She lives in Southern California with her husband, Congressman Harley Rouda, and her four twenty-something children.

Connect with Kaira

Q&A Elevator Ride with

bestselling author Kaira Rouda

"Behind the Book and the Author"

Exceptional Authors. Standout Books. Elevator Talk.


Welcome to the December #AuthorElevatorSeries —where we go behind the scenes of the book and the author. We are super excited to have back with us today one of my favorite authors, the award-winning bestselling author, and queen of psychological thrillers, Kaira

Rouda —and her highly anticipated novel, THE WIDOW, her first set in Washington, DC.

Welcome, Kaira!

KR: Thank you so much, Judith! I’m so grateful for your reviews. Your support means so much.

Q. Kaira, first let me congratulate you on your ninth novel, THE WIDOW! I have personally enjoyed them all. Please share with us a little about this exciting journey.

KR: The Widow was inspired by the almost two years I spent in Washington, DC, when my husband was serving in Congress. What a fascinating, historic, turbulent, powerful and interesting city. DC had to become a setting for a novel.

Q. Give us your best Elevator Pitch for THE WIDOW?

KR: Jody Asher had a plan. Her charismatic husband, Martin, would be a political icon. She, the charming wife, would fuel his success. For fifteen congressional terms, they were the golden couple on the Hill. Life was good. Until he wasn’t.

Martin’s secret affair with a young staffer doesn’t bother Jody personally. But professionally? It’s a legacy killer.

When Martin suddenly dies, it’s a chance to change the narrative. As the balance of power shifts in the Asher house and on the Hill, it’s time for Jody to take control. And there’s nothing the ruthless widow won’t do to secure the future she’s entitled to. Even if she has a secret of her own.

Q. Describe the novel in three words or less?

KR: Fun political thriller

Q. Kaira, as the wife of former U.S. Representative Harley Rouda, you have an insider’s look at American politics. How much of your own experience in this world inspired THE WIDOW?

KR: I must admit, a lot of my personal experiences are reflected in the book. Not the affair, ha, but the settings, the traditions, the backstabbing. Yes, it’s inspired by real-life politics. As for the spark that inspired this novel, it was when I learned of the tradition of The Widow’s Mandate. It’s a custom where a congressional spouse typically serves out the term when a member dies in congress. Statistically speaking, for women hoping to serve in Congress, the best husband has been a dead husband. That’s a great inspiration for a suspense author.

Q. TIPS: We loved the openings of each chapter with staffer tips and tips for new congressional spouses, etc. Tell us more about creating these fun tips for your readers.

KR: My husband had never run for public office, and suddenly he was elected to the US Congress. We went from full-time campaign mode to suddenly finding ourselves in DC, looking for housing, going through orientation sessions, completely overwhelmed. The more senior, experienced spouses jumped into action and helped all of us newbies in innumerable ways. Tips included. These are an homage to those women. But of course, Jody Asher has her own point of view, and her own agenda with her tips. And so does Mimi.

Q. CAUSES: You’re a fifth-generation Californian and very active in your local community of Laguna Beach. Governor Gavin Newsome also just appointed you to the California Volunteers commission.

What can you tell us about your civic service and the causes that are closest to your heart?

KR: I have always felt compelled to jump in and help, however possible, in the communities I’ve called home. My passions include helping combat food insecurity, the homeless issue, and the arts. It is an honor to serve on the California Volunteers commission. The goal: every Californian volunteers in his or her community for an hour a week. Seems spectacularly powerful, simple – and just imagine if we all could work together toward something instead of pulling each other apart.

Q. CAPITOL HILL: You dedicated your book, The Widow, to the spouses and families of politicians. You mention in some news features about your experiences and the service and sacrifices they make. Sounds like this was a special time for you.

Could you share a little more about this experience with our readers?

KR: I guess I didn’t even realize the sacrifices the families of politicians make until I was part of it. And I mean the whole family – kids and spouses. It is a world you cannot truly understand until you’ve experienced it. But take my word for it. When you encounter a spouse or a kid of a politician, no matter their party, thank them for their service. Please. They will felt seen – and that doesn’t often happen.

Q. SETTING: This is your first book set in Washington, DC. Do you have plans for more books to be set in this area?

KR: I’d love to write about DC again, if readers enjoy it!

Q. NEW SHOW: Some readers may not be aware you are the co-creator and co-host of an exciting new show called Killer Author Club,” with loads of exciting stuff!

Can you share more about it and the inspiration behind the club?

KR: The Killer Author Club is a collaboration between Kimberly Bell, Heather Gudenkauf and I that began during the pandemic and has grown into an amazing community. Come join the fun:

Q. UPCOMING: Can you share what you are currently working on or what is next in ten words or less (or more)?

KR: My next novel is called BENEATH THE SURFACE, and will be out in the fall of 2023.

THANK YOU, Kaira for spending time with us today!

KR: Thank you!! xo


“Whatever the opposite of family values is, Rouda seems intent on perfecting a genre that enshrines it.” ~ Kirkus Reviews

“Kaira Rouda is back with another delicious and darkly comedic tale, this time pulling back the curtain on the glamorous and backstabbing world of Washington politics. Rouda takes her readers into the heart of a messed up marriage, where scandal threatens to sap a congressman’s re-election campaign. Packed with juicy secrets and intrigue, The Widow is a propulsive, unputdownable tale of a couple’s battle for power, and an incredibly fun ride.”

—Kimberly Belle, internationally bestselling author of My Darling Husband

“With her signature dark wit and clever insights, Kaira Rouda takes us deep into the fascinating world of power and politics, where ambition and manipulation rein, and shameful secrets become weapons. The Widow is a breathless page-turner with a ruthless and conniving protagonist that you can’t help rooting for. This might be Rouda’s best book yet!”

—Robyn Harding, bestselling author of The Perfect Family

“Known for her fiendishly cagey characters, Kaira Rouda introduces readers to her most diabolical cast to date in the cleverly crafted The Widow. Tense, sharply written, and ticking with suspense, The Widow is a killer edge-of-your-seat thriller with an eye-popping glimpse into D.C. politics and simmering grudges. Rouda is at her best with this devilishly smart novel that kept me guessing to the very end. Clear your calendar, you don’t want to miss one scintillating minute with The Widow.”

—Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of The Overnight Guest

“[A] wild mix of intrigue, secrets, and corruption.” Publishers Weekly

“The Widow pulls back the curtain to reveal an insider’s look at the fascinating and duplicitous world of D.C. politics. This stunning page-turner has a cast of characters with dangerous secrets and hidden motives. Rouda’s best so far!”

—Liv Constantine, internationally bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish

“Kaira Rouda is on top of her game with her latest thriller, The Widow, a suspenseful tale filled with backstabbing page-turning goodies: Capitol Hill shenanigans, manipulative lobbyists, adulterous politicians, opportunistic interns, and dirty backroom deals. In other words, Welcome to Washington D.C. – a place where the secrets have secrets. Rouda’s I’m not a bitch/you’re a bitch protagonist is an overly seasoned “supportive” Congressional spouse living her best life in the Hallowed Halls of Congress … until that lifestyle is threatened. Then lookout: Rouda will come at you with zingers and power plays, giving the cold-hearted Widow her veil of opportunity, proving repeatedly that it is the political spouse who wields the REAL power on The Hill, and she has no intention of letting go.”

—Lisa Barr, New York Times bestselling author of Woman on Fire

“Gripping and brimming with insider intrigue, The Widow delivers with each scandalous, suspenseful page! With a main character I loved to hate, this story has all the twists and turns readers have come to expect of Kaira Rouda.”

—Elle Marr, Amazon Charts bestselling author of Strangers We Know

“Told with Rouda’s signature first-person technique, this is a guilty-pleasure read, laden with silver-tongued politicians who revel in their duplicitous dance with the truth. It’s a deliciously diabolical take on marriage, politics, and the lies that bind.”—Library Journal

“I tore through this book in two breathless sittings.. a political thriller that’s ingeniously structured and packed full of razor sharp observations about the machinations of Washington power couples. It’s smart, timely, and wickedly fun. You won’t be able to put it down.”

—Grant Ginder, author of Let’s Not Do That Again and The People We Hate at the Wedding

“What happens when “the woman behind the man” has a dark secret of her own? Slick and rocket-paced, The Widow by Kaira Rouda is a top notch political thriller. With hairpin twists and turns, insider knowledge, glamorous settings, and a whole cast of untrustworthy characters, Rouda expertly ratchets the tension, keeping her readers breathlessly turning the pages. And the deliciously devious Jody Asher is as cold and calculating as she is riveting. A captivating read!”

—Lisa Unger, New York Times bestselling author of Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six

“In The Widow, Kaira Rouda perfectly captures the experience of being a Congressional Spouse and all the complicated intricacies of that lifestyle and then adds her signature flair to make it a riveting story that only she could tell. It is impossible to put down.”

—Lacey Schwartz, filmmaker, former congressional spouse, and Second Lady of New York

Read More about Kaira Rouda and

THE WIDOW In the News!

By Kaira Rouda

My Review

The "Queen" of psychological suspense thrillers, Kaira Rouda returns following Somebody's Home (5 stars) with her first book—set in Washington, DC—THE WIDOW, inspired after spending time with her husband in Washington when he was elected to Congress in 2018.

Get ready for this unputdownable political thriller with scandal, glitz, and glamour on Capitol Hill and Kaira's signature deviously wicked, ruthless characters combined with the dark humor she is known for!

In THE WIDOW, Rouda imagines how this unofficial tradition in American politics where women are either appointed or elected to fill their late husbands' Congressional seats —can help prove how far a wife will go to hide her husband's traitorous secrets and protect her family's legacy.

How this idea can lead to the ultimate perilous power struggle.

THE WIDOW centers around a scheming, ruthless power-driven wife who plots to off her congressman husband after discovering he's been having an affair with a young staffer.

Meet Jody and Martin Asher. They are the "golden" power couple on the Hill. Martin has served 15 congressional terms, and he and his wife, Jody, enjoy the good life.

Jody loves all the prestige and power of being a Capitol Hill wife, and their daughter is about to be married. This will be a huge event with no expense spared.

Their only daughter, Charlotte, is getting married in what will be a DC society wedding. At the same time, reporters threaten to publish a story that may ruin Martin's political career.

There is much stress surrounding the wedding costs, and of course, Jody is focused on appearances and how to preserve political power. There is also the family of the groom to worry about.

However, Martin has a secret affair with a young staffer, Sarah. She is an intern, new, gorgeous, and a big flirt. Jody will not have this ruin her perfectly constructed life. She has to keep up appearances.

Jody Asher, whose spot atop the pinnacle of DC power, is compromised when a reporter threatens to expose her congressman husband's affair. A suspicious heart attack follows as Jody seeks to cling to her husband's seat.

The book title is an allusion to the "Widow's Mandate" — a common US political practice in which wives often take up the jobs of their deceased husbands who held public office.

When Martin dies suddenly and unexpectedly, what lengths will Jody go to preserve his legacy?

It is a chance to change the narrative,― but the reporter won't let go of his lead. As the balance of power shifts in the Asher house and on the Hill, it's time for Jody to take control. And there's nothing the ruthless widow won't do to secure the future she's entitled to. Even if she has a secret of her own.

What a great book!

Rouda is perfect for penning this one with her first-hand experience in Washington. It has all the drama, scandal, politics, greed, deceit, cutthroat, corruption, secrets, lies, and power you expect with her novels.

The author draws you in with her character's manipulation and power combined with dark wit. Readers will love/hate Jody as she lines up perfectly with Rouda's characters from previous books with all her backstabbing and trickery.

Kaira creatively opens each chapter with fascinating, helpful tips for new Congressional spouses and staffers, which are so much fun.

Smart and timely, this book will pull you in from the first page and keep you turning into the wee hours of the morning.

Visceral and alluring, THE WIDOW is a riveting novel about marriage, privilege, power, and lies in the cutthroat world of international politics.

A massive fan of the author and have read all her books. No one can spin a story like Kaira! Highly recommend each of them.

A special thank you to #ThomasandMercer and #NetGalley for an e-ARC to read, review, and enjoy.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 5 🌟 STARS

Pub Date: Dec 1, 2022

Check out my previous (2019) #AuthorElevatorSeries Interview with Kaira and

THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER —where we go behind the scenes of the book and the author!







bottom of page