The Silent Wife
By A.S.A. Harrison
Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780143123231, June 2013, 336pp.)
The Short of It:
Two people. One marriage. Deception at its finest.
The Rest of It:
Jodi and Todd Gilbert have it all. She’s a successful therapist who’s successful enough to pick and choose who she treats on a day-to-day basis. He’s a real estate developer who knows how to turn a run-down building into profit. Together, they live in their swank, well-appointed Chicago condo and their lives are very comfortable. After a long day at the office, Todd comes home to a plate of artfully arranged canapés made by Jodi herself and Todd mixes the cocktails for them both to enjoy while looking out at the sweeping views of the city before them.
All is not golden. After twenty years together, the excitement of being with one another has dimmed to a flicker yet they’re both willing to push this aside since there is still so much to gain from such a relationship. Jodi seems to know her place as the beautiful, dutiful wife and Todd’s need to “be a guy” is not dampened in the slightest by Jodi because she “gets” him. She understands him like no other woman can and as long as he continues to keep her happy with the thoughtful gifts that he picks up for her every now and then, she seems content and that’s all Todd wants, is for her to be happy and content.
Oddly enough, Jodi feels the same way and overlooks Todd’s numerous indiscretions. He works hard, Plays hard and can’t be expected to toe the line every single moment, can he? But when one of his indiscretions turns into something more serious, Jodi begins to assert herself in a way that Todd is not accustomed to. But even this is so deceptively subtle, that it goes right over Todd’s head. Somehow, he’s convinced himself that he can have both. That he can be the happy husband with Jodi at home whenever he needs her, and that he can have Natasha, the daughter of his best friend whenever he feels the need for change.
This book is deceptively simple as far as plot goes but what makes the story so compelling is how the author handles the characters. These are sophisticated types and the way they handle themselves is not how you or I (or any normal person) would behave in a situation like theirs. They are even-tempered, cool even… and rarely break a sweat. At one point, I felt that Jodi was a cold, calculated woman but I liked her for being that way. I liked her for the way she put distance between herself and the situation. Something would happen and she’d take it all in stride with only a small tell that anything was amiss. I found both Jodi and Todd to be fascinating characters.
The story is told in alternating chapters titled “Her” and “Him” so you get both sides of the story and what each chracter is feeling at any given point. This back and forth format delivers, innocently, their motivations behind their actions but then later you realize that what seemed so innocent early on was really a pre-cursor to the total and utter destruction that follows.
This book is marketed as a thriller and I can see why. The level of suspense builds to a point where you just have no idea how the story will end and although you get to know the characters and their feelings quite intimately, you can’t predict what they’ll do. There are small implosions that occur throughout the book. Little upsets telling you that things are not looking good and I loved every one of them. This book will have you questioning right and wrong right up to the very last page. I am still thinking about the book. Plus, it’s so well-written and tastefully done. I really loved it.
Sadly, A.S.A. Harrison recently passed away so she isn’t around to receive the praise that this book will most surely garner but I am still screaming from the rooftops singing its praises. You have to read it! I loved everything about and I don’t say that too often.
Source: Sent to me by the publisher via Edelweiss
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