It won’t be so bad when you’re there, says my new husband before kissing me on the mouth. He tastes of Rice Krispies and that strong toothpaste of his which I still haven’t gotten used to. I know, I say before he peels off to the bus stop on the other side of the road. Two lies. Small white ones. Designed to make the other feel better. But that’s how some lies start. Small. Well meaning. Until they get too big to handle.
When young lawyer Lily marries Ed, she’s determined to make a fresh start. To leave the secrets of the past behind. But then she takes on her first murder case and meets Joe. A convicted murderer whom Lily is strangely drawn to. For whom she will soon be willing to risk almost anything.
But Lily is not the only one with secrets. Her next-door neighbor Carla may be only nine, but she has already learned that secrets are powerful things. That they can get her whatever she wants. When Lily finds Carla on her doorstep sixteen years later, a chain of events is set in motion that can end only one way.
My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry
Publication Date: January 31, 2017 by Pamela Dorman Books
My Husband’s Wife has all the telltale signs of a great psychological thriller – unlikeable characters, lots of secrets, and a razor sharp tension from start to finish.
Corry focuses a lot of attention on characterization and that is what keeps the story moving along. While there may be a lot NOT to like about Lily, there were also times where I found myself rooting for her despite her flaws. I also liked her strong personality – a detail that is sometimes lacking with female characters in this genre.
Initially, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the transition midway through the book that pushed the reader forward to over a decade later. As the book progressed, things began to click into place and Carla’s motives were much easier to understand after having gotten such an intimate look into her life as a 9 year old girl. And while adult Carla is an even more unlikeable character than Lily, it was much easier to understand her actions even if it wasn’t easy to sympathize with her.
Many of the events in the plot are somewhat predictable and some of the secrets, while terribly sad, aren’t necessarily much of a surprise either. This isn’t the type of thriller that relies on a lot of action or plot twists to have an impact. And while I generally prefer psychological stories that weigh heavier on character studies than plot, I did find something a bit lacking in My Husband’s Wife. It may just be that Corry’s writing style isn’t quite my cup of tea, but there were aspects of the novel that I just didn’t find resonated as strongly with me as it might have if it were written somewhat differently.
Knowing that this is Corry’s debut novel, I’d be interested in seeing how her writing progresses with her next book. Although there was something that fell a little flat with me in My Husband’s Wife, I still really enjoyed the characterization and could see the potential of liking her second novel even more.