The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth

The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

A heart surgeon at the top of his field, Stephen Aston is getting married again. But first he must divorce his current wife, even though she can no longer speak for herself.

Tully and Rachel Aston look upon their father’s fiancée, Heather, as nothing but an interloper. Heather is younger than both of them. Clearly, she’s after their father’s money.

With their mother in a precarious position, Tully and Rachel are determined to get to the
truth about their family’s secrets, the new wife closing in, and who their father really is.

Heather has secrets of her own. Will getting to the truth unleash the most dangerous impulses
in all of them?

Still married to his current wife, heart surgeon Stephen Aston falls for his younger interior designer, Heather. This is definitely a required ingredient if you are looking for a recipe for disaster or maybe even death.

It took me a brief moment to get use to the author’s rhythm with the varying timeline, and each being told from Tully, Rachel or Heather’s point of view.

It’s a quick and entertaining read that tackles several real issues. Some being difficult subject matter such as domestic violence, sexual assault, kleptomania, binge eating and Alzheimer’s disease.

The author is skilled at building tension which lead me to take in each short chapter in a haste. The family drama led the two sisters, Tully and Rachel, to become close, sharing their own personal and somewhat embarrassing secrets. Since both women seemed to have helpless moments where they would lose control both sisters made me question what could cause such dramatic personal traits. I liked both ladies and I easily empathized with them. I enjoyed seeing their growth as individuals and I guess family drama can either cause family to bond or grow apart. I’m glad to say that Tully and Rachel’s bond grew stronger.

It’s not all good for Rachel and Tully though. They are dealing with mixed emotions and feeling betrayed by what they thought was a perfect family. In addition to their feelings of guilt for their mom who has Alzheimer’s. The stress of this dysfunctional family is bringing about more kleptomania and binge eating episodes.

Their mother Pamela has plenty to say against her soon to be ex-husband. Heather, the future young bride is dealing with her own memories of a childhood growing up with an abusive father and keeping a secret from her future husband that her dad is serving life in prison for murder. Stephen has questioned Heather about if she has a problem with alcohol. As I mentioned earlier a recipe for disaster which makes for a suspenseful and entertaining read.

The ending caught me by surprise. It was a clever ending that spoke volumes and gave light to the bonds that were built and where loyalties lie. I was left wondering whether any of their viewpoints were reliable? Could one single voice cause this chain of events?

I rated the book 4 stars because it kept my attention, I couldn’t read it fast enough and the book also made me think. Our memory can be tricky. It can fail us, betray us even. Various influences can affect our perceptions, beliefs and memory.  We see this after Rachel went through her mother’s things, and memories became vague and were questioned.

I can’t complete the review without saying there were several odd parts that stuck out for me, but it didn’t take away from the story, in fact it made the story what it is.  Overall I enjoyed the book. It’s entertaining and one I would recommend.

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