The Wife’s Revenge
Sometimes the lie is safer than the truth.
Fran made the biggest mistake of her life when she had an affair with Ben. Both families live in the village of Oakheart; their children are friends. Fran’s guilt shadows her days. But it’s no more than she deserves, or is it? At least she’s managed to protect her husband, Hector, from the harsh truth.
But for how long?
Tessa has left her troubles in the past and now has the perfect life. Ben might have his faults, but his life has not been easy. They need each other, and Tessa will do whatever it takes to eliminate any threats to her marriage.
Threats from women like Fran.
A cliff overlooks a disused chalk-pit. The locals call it High Heaven. It’s a place of secrets. And it’s where Oakheart newcomer Maria died. When Fran discovers a link between Maria and Ben, disturbing questions arise to which she has no way of knowing the answers.
Faced with an ultimatum from Tessa, time is running out for Fran. She’s scared, every minute of every day.
But where does the real danger lie?
I’m a huge fan of Deirdre Palmer’s books. She has a real flair for writing, and I always know that, when I pick up a Deirdre Palmer novel, I’m in for a treat. You can read my reviews for some of her previous books, Remarkable Things, Dirty Weekend, Never Coming Back, and Moonshine by clicking the links. I was a bit surprised, though, to discover that her latest novel is a thriller. Who’d have thought it?
But, although I was a bit apprehensive about the change in genre, I knew I’d be in safe hands with this author, and that if anyone could carry off such a big change it was her. I was absolutely right. I started reading The Wife’s Revenge late one evening and, by bedtime, I was already halfway through. When I resumed reading I finished the book in one more sitting. It really is one of those stories that you just want to keep reading, because you simply have to know what’s going on.
I don’t want to give away any more of the plot than has already been provided in the blurb, so I’ll stick to telling you about all the things I loved about this book.
Firstly, the characterisation is fantastic. Although this novel is a departure from Deirdre’s previous works of women’s fiction, I do think that fans of that genre would enjoy this book just as much, because we get to see the everyday lives of the characters, and the author really knows how to paint a picture with words. Through their actions and interactions with husbands, children, and the residents of Oakheart, we learn so much about Fran and Tessa. We see what makes them tick, discover so much about their loves, their fears, their regrets, their mistakes.
Through their eyes, we get to know four young girls – Tessa’s daughter and Fran’s three daughters – who are all very distinct, and whose personalities leap from the pages of the novel. We begin to understand about the two husbands, Ben and Hector, who are so different in just about every way possible.
Even the family homes reveal so much about Tessa and Fran. Every little detail is another brushstroke in the portraits of these two women, whose lives have intertwined and connected leading to unimaginable consequences. I loved that all the main characters are fully-rounded people and nothing is completely black and white. Real people are complicated and lead complex lives. Sometimes, in books of this nature, the characters can feel a little flat, but that’s definitely not a problem in The Wife’s Revenge. The reader may not like some of the protagonists, or sympathise with their actions, but they will at least be able to understand why they are behaving in this way.
Throughout the novel, there’s a growing sense of unease and menace. Someone is in danger, but who? And who is the threat? Where is it coming from? What will happen next?
This story is so beautifully told and paced just right throughout. I found myself sympathising with the most unlikely people, then changing my mind not just once but several times. I also tried my best to predict the ending of the story, but I didn’t get that quite right either!
I really do recommend this novel highly. Deirdre Palmer, it seems to me, is a much underrated writer who deserves a huge readership. I hope she goes on to write another book in this genre because, despite my worries, she’s proved to be rather good at it!
You can buy The Wife’s Revenge here.