Friday, 31 July 2015

The Third Wife - Lisa Jewell

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Another winner from a top author.

This book was a reminder why I loved reading this author. Her last one, The Making of Us was a disappointment, despite an interesting concept (sperm donor). However, with this one Jewell is back doing what she does best, highlighting the tangled web of family relationships.


The jacket cover succinctly puts it; there is one man Adrian Wolfe who has three wives, five children. The stage is set for a host of characters and their secrets. Story starts off when the third wife dies in an accident. It is only after her death that it is revealed that there was something sinister that drove to her death. Her demise comes as a bit of a shock for the other family members, for she was a much loved person in the family. Her death raises some disturbing questions and Adrian is out looking for answers. He soon realises that he needs to look within his family to find them.

Soon secrets start tumbling out when the seemingly normal relationships change hue in a
different light.

What works:

  • The story is bizarre (I mean three harmonious marriages where they holiday together!) but Jewell makes it convincing. It reminded me of her other one, The House We Grew Up In, which had a similar bizarre storyline (that of a house hoarder) but somehow Jewell has a way of taking the reader through with conviction.
  • The characters are so believable and though they are all dysfunctional (they wouldn't be interesting if they were) it is easy to empathise with them.
  • The suspense element is done very well. I was hooked and keen to find out who the mysterious lady with mismatched eyes was.
  • The past and the present narrative blends very well and neat. There is no confusion between the two thanks to Jewell's storytelling expertise.

What doesn't:

  • It is a straightforward story with no complexities in terms of language or plot. Maybe that is why she is such a hit with the contemporary audience. 
  • It is a light read not some exalted piece of literature. For those looking for more depth in their stories may be a bit disappointed.
Overall, an enjoyable read on a train or a holiday. Nothing to tax the mind and interesting enough to keep turning the pages. Isn't that the basics of a good book?

I have always admired Jewelled for the storylines, it is off the cuff and yet when she is done with it, she presents a story worth reading and enjoyable. 

This is one of Jewell's better ones. Recommended.

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