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A Circle of Wives

3.33 of 5 stars 3.33  ·  rating details  ·  3,437 ratings  ·  503 reviews
* An Indie Next Pick
* A LibraryReads Selection
* An Amazon Best Book of the Month (Mysteries & Thrillers)
* A Daily Candy Best Book of March
* One of More Magazine’s "Five Thrillers Not to Read After Dark"

When Dr. John Taylor turns up dead in a hotel room, the local police uncover enough incriminating evidence to suspect foul play. Detective Samantha Adams, whose Palo Alt
Hardcover, 325 pages
Published March 4th 2014 by Atlantic Monthly Press
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Community Reviews

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Patrice Hoffman
The idea that we never quite know who we've chosen to live the rest of our lives with is always an interesting mystery. Many of the best mystery novels are built on this premise and have maybe influenced those with eyes wide shut to get a grip. A Circle of Wives by Alice LaPlante explores this topic and turns it on its head.

A prominent reconstruction surgeon is found dead in an upscale hotel. At first glance, it appears the deceased has died of an apparent heart attack. After closer inspection,
I couldn't wait to get my hands on Circle of Wives. It promised all the things I like in a book. An interesting premise, a psychological tale and exploration of holy matrimony.

A doctor is found dead in a hotel room. At first look Dr. John Taylor, appears to be the victim of a heart attack. Very quickly there's enough evidence for police to investigate the death as murder. Dr. John Taylor is a famed plastic surgeon, married for many years to Deborah, who on the service seems quite nice but who b
Diane S.✨
2.5 A man is dead. A rookie detective is on the case. What appears at first to be a heart attack, may not be once it is known that the man had three wives. How was he able to fool these women into thinking they were the only one? Or did he?

I loved her first novel, thought it was original, well Written and well executed. This one reminded me of a story in the National Enquirer, yes, there are a few twists and turns but for the most part this book did not grab me at all. News articles and all, I f
I read... or listened to this back in Jan or February and thought I had done a review, but apparently not. Does that mean it was not rememberable? Maybe.

There is a murder, and we learn that there are three wives and wonder which of them did the dirty deed. Entertaining? Yes. Great writing? Ah...maybe? Suspense? Some.

This is the type of book you take on vacation. A quick and entertaining read, nothing too intense. I enjoyed the character development, though I did not really like the characters.I
The first 50 pages had me going, I was very interested...then it didn't go anywhere, I couldn't connect with any of the characters and the ending was not a surprise to me.
Although nicely written this book is not terribly suspenseful. The wives are one dimensional and Samantha is bumbling and unprofessional. I suppose I was most bothered by the depiction of women as being dumb and so desperate to catch and keep a successful man they fail to question the obvious. It is a quick read that provides mild entertainment. Unfortunately, the premise of this book was totally unbelievable from the start. Even if John Taylor had ADD with extreme hyperactivity and never rested ...more
Minty McBunny
I have to congratulate Ms LaPlante on her ability to take a very interesting premise and transform it into a flaccid, lifeless and utterly dull murder mystery. I give it 1.5 stars only because I did manage to drag myself through it in order to find out who the killer was. And even that was a disappointment, as it was the most obvious suspect. Really a remarkably boring "thriller".
Hm. I read “Turn of Mind,” LaPlante’s earlier novel, and I came away so satisfied—I’m now wondering if my opinion was tainted by my interest in books about Alzheimer’s victims. Because “Circle of Wives” is a book that didn’t leave me satisfied, and it’s a book I’ll forget in no time. In fact, I’m worried that its boring essence will lead to a boring review. How can I write a passionate review when I have such a boring taste in my mouth?

This book is about the murder of a polygamist who had lived
This is a second book following Alice LaPlante's best selling debut novel, Turn of Mind. Circle of Wives is a psychological thriller of martial deception, revenge, and murder. The narrator is Samantha, a detective with the Palo Alto Police department living with her boyfriend of ten years. When a body is discovered in the Westin hotel, she is sent as the investigator. At first, the man seems to have died from a heart attack, but a postmortem shows bruising and a needle mark. The verdict is murde ...more
Alice LaPlante’s second book, A Circle of Wives, is excellent. I love her writing style because her characters have authentic and original voices. This is one of the few fictional books I’ve truly enjoyed this year.

Dr. John Taylor is found dead in an upscale hotel room. The police aren’t sure if it’s murder, but they don’t think it was a heart attack either. Young and recently promoted Detective Samantha Adams is in charge of the case, her first suspicious death. In her quiet and wealthy Palo A
3.5 out of 5 stars

Having just read an advance copy of Jennifer Murphy's "I Love You More" I was curious to see how Alice LaPlante would tackle her novel about three women who all discover they've been "married" to the same, recently deceased man. (Side note, men with multiple wives... maybe these two novels should be treated as cautionary tales; in both the husband is no longer in the land of the living.) Both books focus on unraveling the mystery of the husband's death, though LaPlante takes a
ARC for review - received as part of Goodreads First Reads program.

A solid 3.5 stars for this, my second LaPlante this month....and there's a clear pattern here. LaPlante writes mysteries a la Jodi Picoult but here the character studies are far more important than the whodunit reveal (which both here and in Turn of Mind were rather underwhelming). We learn quickly that Dr. John Taylor has turned up dead, possibly murdered, in a Palo Alto hotel room and then we learn that he had three wives and
Karin Slaughter
Really good read, though the murder plotting side of the story wasn't very tight, and I didn't find the young woman believable as a seasoned cop (her voice was too tentative). Overall, I just love the way LaPlante writes about cold, scientific women.

Though she shouldn't write about southerners. Some of the colloquialisms were laughably off.
Rounded up 3.5 stars. This is another very readable story by Alice LaPlante, but perhaps not her best.
Only upon his death in a hotel room, under possibly suspicious circumstances, did two women realize that their husband actually already had one wife ... who knew about both of them. As Detective Sam(antha) Adams tries to unravel the truth, and relationships, between Deborah (wife #1), MJ (wife #2), Helen (wife #3), and Claire (surprise fiancee and possible cause of divorce), the reader gets the perspective of (almost) all of these women. The jump from character to character makes for some short ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A Palo Alto plastic surgeon is found dead in an upscale hotel room, apparently of a heart attack. But further investigation reveals that foul play has been involved.

Detective Samantha Adams has been assigned to the case, and the more she digs into the matter, the more complicated it all becomes. For Dr. John Taylor has not only one wife, Deborah, a society matron, but two others: M.J. Taylor and Alice Richter. And supposedly it was all okay with Wife Number One, who had apparently helped orchest
I'm reaching at 2 stars, according to the Goodreads rating system. This was only barely okay, which after "Turn of Mind", was a huge disappointment. As a mystery, this falls short in many departments. Even with considerable suspension of disbelief, the plot of one man married to four wives without anyone being the wiser simply doesn't hang together. This could make the premise of a good story, but there are too many main characters, with none of them being developed. In fact they all seemed ster ...more
After reading The Goldfinch I was looking for something witty and fun for an escape. I saw good reviews for Circle of Wives and initially was not disappointed. The premise of an altruistic surgeon, who turns up murdered and trapped in an unhappy marriage fit the bill. In concert with his wife of 35 years he embarks upon marriages with two other women to complete his life. As wife number one says, the relationship created a perfect marriage and a balanced life. The novel is told from the perspect ...more
A classic " who done it". Even though I figured it out early I still enjoyed the story and how she brought it to a conclusion. No blood, guts or gore here, just a simple who killed Thomas Taylor and why. An interesting premise and well written story.
I hesitate to call this book a thriller. It really wasn't, in that the resolution to the murder didn't matter all that much. In fact, it was fairly predictable. What I liked about the book was the format, seeing events from the many different perspectives, each in its own way poignant. These were all such damaged people, which is why the deceased, John Taylor, was able to get them settle for so little. It was really very sad.

The book moves at a fast pace, helped by the short format chapters. Th
3.5 stars: A Circle of Wives is a nicely paced page-turner about a prominent and talented reconstructive surgeon’s murder and the usual suspects. And by usual suspects, I mean the wife, or the wives in this case. LaPlante tells her story from the viewpoint of women: the detective on the case and the wives. Each chapter is from one of the women’s prospective. What I found great about this novel is that I didn’t guess the killer correctly. I thought I knew “who done it” after reading one third of ...more
This was pretty meh. More of a beach read than a serious book.

Also, I'd just like to take a minute here to talk about one of my pet peeves that I came across in this book (among other books): novel writers who like to include "newspaper" articles in their books but do not understand how to write in that style. If you're a novelist, I don't expect you to fully grasp the style of a newspaper article (although it's really not that hard!). And maybe your editor at ye ol' publishing house doesn't hav
I chose this book because it got an A- review in Entertainment Weekly and involves polygamy. Perfect combo for me! This book is different from the other polygamy books I've read in that most of the wives don't know the others exist. Although I wouldn't rate this as high as EW did, I found this to be a quick and entertaining read. It did require some suspension of disbelief to fully enjoy however. Unless John never slept, it was difficult to imagine how he kept up the ruse for as long as he did. ...more
See a more in-depth review at my blog, Dog Eared:

My major issue with A Circle of Wives, is not so much that it's not what I expected--that happens all the time--it's that the characters were so thinly drawn. Deborah is the bitchy ice queen. MJ is the scatterbrained aging hippie. Helen is the dedicated career woman. Sam is the rookie cop trying to prove herself. At one point, Sam thinks of MJ, "Underneath that scattiness is a real person. The same applies
Kasa Cotugno
Alice LaPlant's Turn of Mind was a tour de force, garnering her many fans. This, however, is definitely a sophomore effort. The style is punchy, the tale unspooling through four narrators -- the three wives and a young woman detective assigned to the case. The problem lies in the fact that there is nothing in the first person narrations that differentiates the four women clearly to make them individualistic enough. Also there had to be so much a suspension of belief in order to buy into the prem ...more
Charlotte Lynn
Dr John Taylor, renowned plastic surgeon, is found dead in a hotel room and small town Detective Samantha
Adams gets put on the case. What seems to be an open and shut case, until it is discovered that he has three wives in three cities. Detective Samantha Adams finds herself having to go through a web of lies and marital problems.

My Review:

A Circle of Wives is told from the point of view of four main characters. Each of the wives and Detective Samantha all get their own chapters to tell the sto
Marianne K
Loved this book! It's a quick read with a satisfying ending. An added bonus is that it's a mystery.
The premise of this novel completely captured my interest, and I was thrilled to dive into this mystery-thriller to discover the story of a man who has died from what is suspected as a heart attack, but turns out to be a complex tale of secrets. One being the beloved doctor has not one, but three wives. This is my first time reading Alice LaPlante’s work, and after reading such positive praise for her debut novel, Turn of Mind, I held great expectations for this second novel.

Upon reading, I was
Jenee Rager
This was supposed to be a mystery, but honestly after reading the first chapter by each "wife" I knew whodunit... That didn't stop me from enjoying myself though. I personally really liked the MJ character and can tell the author must have as well, as she had the most backstory to her character. I do wish that less of the story had revolved around the detective, Samantha. Even though I think probably 1/3 of the book was told from her perspective I still never really "got" her character, and the ...more
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Ask Alice LaPlant...: Free Stuff for Members of this Group Only! 9 27 Apr 18, 2014 08:24AM  
  • The Innocent Sleep
  • The Parallel Apartments
  • Once Upon a Lie (Maeve Conlon, #1)
  • I Love You More
  • Ruin Falls
  • The Headmaster's Wife
  • The Actress
  • Reunion
  • Gemini
  • Precious Thing
  • The Measures Between Us
  • The Johnstown Girls
  • You Should Have Known
  • The Deepest Secret
  • Our Picnics in the Sun
  • The Violet Hour
  • And the Dark Sacred Night
  • The Blessings
Alice LaPlante is an award-winning writer of both fiction and non-fiction. She teaches creative writing at Stanford University, where she was a Wallace Stegner Fellow and Jones Lecturer. She also teaches in the MFA program at San Francisco State University. Her fiction has been widely published in Epoch, Southwestern Review, and other literary journals. Alice is the author of five books, including ...more
More about Alice LaPlante...
Turn of Mind The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Writing Fiction and Nonfiction Coming of Age at the End of Days Method and Madness: The Making of a Story (A Guide to Writing Fiction) Playing for Profit: How Digital Entertainment Is Making Big Business Out of Child's Play

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