It’s hard to describe The Wife Between Us without revealing spoilers. The official description says you’ll think it’s about the jealous former wife, upset about her ex-husband’s upcoming marriage. It says you’d be wrong to think that’s what it is about. That’s all true, but I don’t know how to say what it is about without revealing some of the twists.
The first third of the book goes back and forth between two women, Vanessa and Nellie. Vanessa is newly divorced, living with her elderly aunt, and recently returned to the workplace. She’s also a recovering alcoholic who is preoccupied with her ex-husband’s upcoming wedding. Nellie is a preschool teacher in her early twenties, getting ready to marry a successful man in his late thirties. She thinks she’s hit the jackpot. Then there’s a big twist and reveal.
The authors wanted to write a psychological thriller and I don’t think they succeeded. To me, they did a bait and switch. If they hadn’t gone for the whole “you’d be wrong about what this book is about,” it would be a great book. Because once we find out what the real story is, it’s a great book. It’s not one I would normally read, but I can’t say I regret it.
Let’s just stop with the vagueness.
Okay, if you’re still reading, you realize I’m about to dump a big spoiler. Right? The book is about domestic abuse. The book shows us how Nellie ended up trapped with a gaslighting, physically abusive husband, and how she got herself free. It’s not a happy story, obviously, but the writers did an amazing job of making the audience understand how and why Nellie felt trapped.