Mini Reviews: ‘The Second Wife’ and ‘A Version of the Truth’

10/10/2019 Reading, Reviews 0

Thrillers are usually a good go-to for me if I want a fast-paced, enjoyable read. However, I read a couple recently that I wasn’t overly blown away by.

Check out my reviews below for more info!

The Second Wife by Sheryl Browne

Rebecca and Nicole have been best friends for years, so Rebecca is understandably devastated to hear from Nicole’s husband that she has committed suicide. Grief stricken, Rebecca heads back to England from France for the funeral, and meets Nicole’s handsome and charming husband Richard for the first time. Determined to find out what drove her vivacious friend to suicide, Rebecca gets close to Richard, but the more immersed in Nicole’s old life she becomes, the more convinced she becomes that something isn’t right…

This book had a really promising concept, with a suspicious suicide, a seemingly charming and grief-stricken husband, and a best friend determined to find out the truth…but somehow it just didn’t work out like that.

I was definitely gripped to the end, and really did want to know what happened to Nicole. In fact I really enjoyed the flashback chapters from her perspective, and the slow, insidious build up of a bad situation.

However, my problem with this book was Rebecca, who unfortunately is the main character. I just found her to be incredibly inconsistent and was constantly doing things that made no sense… I mean, for starters, she’s suspicious of Richard from the outset, but rather than investigate from a safe distance, she decides to basically replace Nicole and investigate from the inside.

Now aside from the fact that starting to date your best friend’s husband mere weeks after she has died is pretty morally sketchy anyway, it made no sense. Especially as in many way she began treating their relationship as real, and starts to have feelings for him.

And don’t get me started on the bit where it all finally kicks off and she goes all vigilante… Rather than call the police she takes things into her own hands in quite a sinister way, and I was left feeling utterly confused.

I did like the reveal in this book, and as I said, I was genuinely interested to know what happened to Nicole. With a more consistent main character who actually behaved logically, this might have been a great book… It just didn’t work for me as it was.

Rating: 2.5/5

A Version of the Truth by B.P. Walter

Julianne is preparing dinner when her son shows her something that throws everything she thinks she knows into doubt. There’s something rather sinister in their family’s Dropbox account, and only her husband can have put it there…is he truly the kind, handsome husband she always thought he was? Or is he hiding a dark secret that goes all the way back to their university days, when they met?

This book wasn’t a bad book: far from it. It definitely had a good hook, with the discovery of something sinister on the family IPad, and the build up was a nice slow burn of growing unease. I also liked the dual narrative of Julianne in the present day and Holly, a girl they knew in university, in 1990, and I was really curious as to how they would eventually weave together.

One of my big problems with this book though, was how there wasn’t a single character that I actually liked… Julianne was probably the closest I came to liking a character, and I thought that she had ignored some pretty obvious signs that her husband wasn’t who he claimed to be. I also didn’t mind Holly, but she wasn’t overly memorable as a character.

I also didn’t find the end of the book overly satisfying. In fact, after the big climactic event I turned over the next page, expecting to find another few chapters of wrap-up, only to find nothing more than a brief epilogue. It definitely felt rushed, and there was a big sense that justice wasn’t served.

This book definitely had some good points, but overall I just didn’t gel with it. The characters were unlikable for the most part, the ending felt a little abrupt, and it was considerably more harrowing than I expected. I maybe should have expected it, what with it being a thriller, so that one’s on me!

Rating: 3/5

So have you read either of these books? What did you think? Are you a fan of thrillers?

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