EXCERPT: ‘Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds,’ he quotes. ‘Sonnet 116, remember? We read it at our wedding. Four lines each in turn. Then the final couplet together.’
You shake your head. You don’t remember that, no.
‘It’ll come back to you.’ You wonder if he means the memory or the sentiment. ‘My point is, those weren’t just empty words to us. You were always unique, Abbie. Irreplaceable. A perfect wife. A perfect mother. The love of my life. Everyone says that, don’t they? But I really meant it. After I lost you, plenty of people told me I should move on, find someone else to spend my life with. But I knew that was never going to happen. So I did this instead. Was I right to? I don’t know. But I had to try. And even just talking to you now, for these few minutes – seeing you here, in our house, hearing you speak – makes all the years I put into this worthwhile. I love you, Abs. I will always love you. Forever, just like we promised each other on our wedding day.’
ABOUT THIS BOOK: Abbie awakens in a daze with no memory of who she is or how she landed in this unsettling condition. The man by her side claims to be her husband. He’s an icon of the tech world, the founder of a lucrative robotics company. He tells Abbie that she is a gifted artist, an avid surfer, a loving mother to their young son, and the perfect wife. He says she had a terrible accident five years ago, and that, through a huge technological breakthrough, she has been brought back from the abyss. She is a miracle of science.
But as Abbie pieces together memories of her marriage, she begins questioning her husband’s motives–and his version of events. Can she trust him when he says he wants them to be together forever? And what really happened to Abbie half a decade ago?
MY THOUGHTS: Fascinating. Creepy. Plausible.
This is not what I was expecting at all. It is unconventionally creepy on many levels, mostly because I can see it happening if it hasn’t already done so. That woman in the restaurant who merely pushes the food around her plate? That person who seems too good to be true. How many times have you asked yourself if someone is even real? This book will have you asking that question all over again.
All this is tied in with a ‘love story’. He is a visionary, a wunderkind. What Gates was to personal computers, Jobs was to smartphones, or Musk was to electric cars, Tim Scott is to AI. Abbie is a free spirit, artist, surfer. They are opposites who have attracted, who complement each other, two halves of a whole. Until they have a child who develops CDD. Tim sees Danny as a problem to be solved, he just needs reprogramming. Abbie wants to try every alternative therapy. Cracks begin to appear…
The story is told from two points of view, from that of an unknown narrator, and Abbie. Abbie’s story is split over two timelines – Abbie now, and Abbie then. The identity of the unknown narrator is revealed at the end of the story, and came as somewhat of a surprise to me.
The story itself keeps the reader slightly off balance. Every time I thought I had something figured out, Delaney tipped me on my head. Her characters are unpredictable and thoroughly believable, even the AI ones.
And I want to applaud Delaney for not reducing the impact of autism on the family, for not stinting on her descriptions of autistic behaviour, and for including the joy that is taken from every little gain, no matter how small, no matter if it is never repeated.
This is an excellent read. An unconventional read. A read that will make you think about the role of robots (or, in this case, cobots – emotionally intelligent companion robots ) in our lives.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: J. P. Delaney is the pseudonym of a writer who has previously published best-selling fiction under another name.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Quercus Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Perfect Wife by J.P. Delaney for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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