EXCERPT: ‘What happened?’ I ask quietly, but she just shakes her head and raises her hands in a strange, useless gesture, grasping at nothing as if she is looking for the answer in the air around us.
‘What happened?’ I say again, my tone rougher this time. ‘I don’t know,’ she says at last. ‘I don’t know how it happened.’
The ambulance weaves on, and above our heads the strip lights are flickering, brightness ebbing and flowing like the aftermath of a camera flash. Next to me, Natalie shifts in her seat, leans forward and clasps her hands together, blinking fast, whispering to herself. I look at her profile, her clenched jaw. This woman with the trembling hands and tears drying in streaks . . . my wife, but not the mother of my child. Not the one who would have found her, no matter where she was.
ABOUT THE SECOND WIFE BY REBECCA FLEET: She’s part of the family now. For better–and for worse . . .
When Alex met Natalie she changed his life. After the tragic death of his first wife, which left him a single parent to teenage daughter Jade, he was desperate to leave the pain of his past behind.
But his newfound hatppiness is shattered when the family home is gutted by fire and his loyalties are unexpectedly tested. Jade insists she saw a man in the house on the night of the fire; Natalie denies any knowledge of such an intruder.
One of them must be lying, but Alex is faced with an impossible choice: to believe his wife or his daughter. As Natalie’s story unravels, Alex realizes that his wife has a past he had no idea about, a past that might yet catch up with her.
But this time, the past could be deadly . . .
MY THOUGHTS: The Second Wife is narrated over two timelines, the turn of this century, and 2017, mainly by both Alex and his second wife Natalie.
This read dragged for me and I seriously considered not finishing. The plot is slow and repetitive, with little suspense, and the twists were all rather predictable. I also felt that I was being ‘told’ what was happening, rather than experiencing it.
The characters are very one dimensional, and none of them aroused any emotion in me whatsoever. Personally, I need to love, hate, or relate to the characters somehow, but there was just nothing.
I was interested to read in the author’s acknowledgments that she was convinced, after the first couple of drafts, that the book was ‘finished’, as good as she could make it, and was daunted and more than a little defensive when her editor suggested a major rethink of the structure. Fleet says that she was left with a much better book as a result. But me? I have to wonder. . .
All in all, The Second Wife by Rebecca Fleet was a very average read.
THE AUTHOR: Rebecca Fleet was educated at Oxford and works in brand strategy. She lives in London.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Random House UK, Transworld Publishers, Black Swan via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Second Wife by Rebecca Fleet for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com
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