Lisa Jewell is one of the authors who I can count on. I’ve read her last several releases and loved them. She writes get character-fueled drama, with complex characters who struggle with insecurities, deficiencies or just the stuff that life throws their way, but still stay likable and round, not flattened by their circumstances.
The Third Wife opens with the unusual death of a woman, Maya Wolfe, who steps in front of a bus in the wee hours of the morning after hours of drinking. Was it accidental? A suicide? Or was she pushed?
These are the questions which The Third Wife tries to answer throughout the novel. Jewell uses her signature style of revealing bits of the past to clear up this question, while advancing the story forward in the future.
There’s a fairly large cast of main characters, because Adrian Wolfe has created an interesting blended family. His first wife with his adult kids Luke and Cat, his second wife with the school-aged kids Otis, Pearl, and baby Beau (for which Cat from first marriage nannies), and the third wife all go on vacation together each year and regularly. It seems amicable, but we learn from narrative from Maya’s POV in the past that she’s had insecurities, bolstered by hate emails that she’s been receiving regularly and keeping to herself.
In addition to the emails, which are discovered after her death, there’s a mysterious woman who presumably came around to adopt Maya’s cat, but has actually appeared to be stalking them. Several of Adrian’s supposedly well-adjusted children are showing signs of stress. Cat has gained a lot of weight, Luke has all-but extricated himself from the family, Pearl is growing quieter and quieter, and something strange is going on with Owen.
Maya seemed full of light and laughter, but in this novel, Jewell reveals the truth that things are not always they seem.
There are dark parts to this novel, but it’s not a dark novel. The characters are wonderful and the storytelling is done well. It’s not my favorite Lisa Jewell novel, but I did enjoy it. Click through the link to see others that I enjoyed, with The Making of Us probably being my favorite.