The Starter Wife by Nina Laurin
Grand Central Publishing: 6/11/19
eBook review copy; 352 pages
The Starter Wife by Nina Laurin is a highly recommended psychological thriller.
Claire is the younger second wife of Byron Westcott, a professor of
literature at Ohio’s
Mansfield College. They have been married for two years and Claire is
happy, but it seems like Byron is becoming more distant. Byron's first
wife, painter Colleen May, also a Mansfield professor, committed suicide
five years before, but her body was never found. Now Claire is
beginning to wonder what really happened to Colleen, especially when she
receives a phone call from a woman she is sure is Colleen.
Claire is the narrator of this riveting, dark, tension-filled
psychological thriller, but there is a second narrative voice that
belongs to an unnamed woman who may be stalking Claire and out to
destroy her. The unnamed stalker is obsessed with Byron and wants Claire
out of the way. Could it be Colleen? Claire begins to investigate her
death and Byron's past, while at the same time suffering from
unexplained illnesses. Did Byron kill Colleen and is he now out to
While you won't necessarily like Claire, the suspense escalates with
the second narrator who seems to be out to get Claire. Byron may also be
a part of the scheme. It is a trend now to have unlikeable female
narrators and, while this follows along that well-traveled path, the
ending was a totally surprising twist. The Starter Wife is a novel that you have to wait until the final third of the book for some shocking and surprising incidents.
It is not until the end that I found myself admiring the skillful
writing, the intricate plot, and the excellent character development. I
thought I knew what was going on and where the story was headed, which
is exactly the way I imagine Laurin planned out her novel. Well played
Nina Laurin; I was totally surprised and caught unaware.
My review copy was courtesy of Grand Central Publishing.