Friday, March 25, 2022

The Younger Wife

The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth
4/5/22; 352 pages
St. Martin's Publishing

The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth is a very highly recommended novel of domestic suspense set in Melbourne, Australia.

Tully (Natalie) and Rachel are already concerned as they cope with their mother Pamela Aston's deterioration with early-onset Alzheimer’s and her move into a nursing home. When their father Stephen, a heart surgeon, announces that he is going to marry again to a much younger woman, Heather, after divorcing their mother, his daughters are aghast. Clearly she must be after his money. Tully and Rachel have several concerns, including the fact that Pam occasionally talks about how life with Stephen was awful, maybe even implying it was violent. The sisters both have several other personal issues they are grappling with as well. Heather is also beginning to doubt the wisdom of wedding plans with Stephen.

Opening with the wedding between Heather and Stephan where someone is gravely injured out of the sight of observers, the tension and questions immediately multiply right at the start. The narrative then jumps back in time and covers the events leading up to the fateful wedding. Information is provided through the point-of-view of Tully, Rachel, and Heather. All of these women have secrets they are hiding and are dealing with their own issues. These characters are all depicted as real people, with talents, fears, failings, secrets, and issues galore.

This novel is full of secrets, lies and deceit as the characters question the truthfulness of others and confront their own issues. Readers can carefully follow clues and carefully take note of what is real and what is implied in order to piece together what is truly happening. Hepworth does an exceptional job creating tension while telling this story. The pages will fly by while the drama increases and you know from the opening, that something bad is coming up quickly. Once you get there, all bets are off.   

The writing is exceptional, the suspense is palpable, and I rushed to finish reading The Younger Wife. The ending has sparked some emotional reactions for some readers, but while it was unexpected, I really appreciated Hepworth's writing even more after it was done. 4.5 rounded up

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Macmillan Publishers via NetGalley.

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