Crikey – if ever there is a book to remind you of the old adage ‘be careful what you wish for,’ The Last Wife is definitely it.
This is the second novel from best selling author Karen Hamilton, and just like her debut The Perfect Girlfriend, this is a twisting narrative with a complex, unlikeable protagonist. When I had the privilege of meeting Karen a couple of years ago on the book tour of her first novel she said that as her life is so ‘wheels on the bus,’ she wanted to create someone who is so horrible and so different from her. She successfully did that in her first book and there’s no doubt about it, in the creation of The Last Wife, she does it again but with added clout. I don’t think any of the characters have many endearing qualities in this second book.
This is a novel about friendship, but in my view a very complicated, toxic friendship. Marie is grieving her best friend Nina, a young mother who died from a terminal illness. In the last days of Nina’s life, Marie promised to be there for Nina’s husband and young children. But since childhood Marie has always been clingy and obsessive towards Nina (don’t worry – that is not a spoiler).
The steps Marie takes ‘to be there’ for Nina’s family are unnerving. I swear, Marie gave me the shivers. There is no doubt about it – Marie is a troubled individual who is far from innocent. But in her blind determination to get what she’s always craved, she uncovers the ugly secrets of a sinister past that Nina was desperate to conceal from the world. And the secrets involve Marie.
The Last Wife is a claustrophobic, intriguing read but I did struggle to relate and empathise with any of the characters. For me the plot was compelling but quite exaggerated. It is an interesting narrative that explores human relationships and the power within these relationships – especially the dark, toxic power within a ‘friendship’.
Thank you to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to be part of the blog tour of The Last Wife. To read the reviews from my fellow book bloggers, please see below.
Happy reading everyone! 🙂