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3.52  ·  Rating details ·  541 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Red Hat Club comes a story about two unlikely friends who would never have imagined they'd end up married to the same man

Neighbors Betsy Callison and Kat Ellis were oil and water when they met thirty-five years ago.  Betsy was a prim, neat freak, Republican wife, and Kat was a wild, irreverent, hippie Democrat. But they s
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2011)
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Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wife In Law
Author Haywood Smith
Reviewed by Fran Lewis

Would you want to live next door to a Hippie? Would you invite a stranger to have dinner and sleep under your roof knowing them for a day? Would you invite them into your home and not worry about whether they might steal from you or not? Betsy Callison and Kat Ellis met thirty-five years ago and became life long friends. Betsy very staunch in her ways, prim and proper and always worried about taking care of her husband’s needs and wants and Ka
Oct 11, 2011 rated it liked it
I will say that the story I got wasn't exactly the story I was expecting. I get the idea of mismatched best friends, but this was a pretty extreme case. Throughout the years of friendship, I found Kat to be very selfish. Betsy seemed to be far more emotionally invested in the friendship and it showed her actions from the very beginning. Overall, I did like the book due to Smith's wonderful writing style. I enjoyed Betsy throughout the book...but found many of the other characters to be one-dimen ...more
Feb 22, 2014 rated it liked it
In suburban Atlanta, two completely opposite young women meet as neighbors, and despite the odds, become best friends. It was the 1970s when they first met, so imagine Betsy Callison's surprise to discover that beneath the surface, she and the young "hippie" Kat Ellis would have something in common. They would bond and sustain that bond for many years.

Betsy and Greg are young Republicans, diametrically opposed politically to Kat and her partner Zach. But over time, the differences mattered less
Anita Johnson
Betsy and Greg Callison were newlyweds back in the '70's and the first homeowners in their new Atlanta subdivision. Betsy is the head of her Young Republic Women's group, maintains the perfect house and is the epitome of a Stepford wife. She can't wait to meet the new neighbors moving in across the street but is shocked and disappointed when they turn out to be two unmarried hippies, Kat and Zach. Despite their political and cultural differences, Kat and Betsy become best friends, sharing more o ...more
Oct 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the Haywood Smith novels. She writes such good character studies. Wife-in-law is about a friendship between two totally different women, an uptight Stepford wife republican and a hippie free spirited Democrat over a 20+ year span. Betsy and her husband Greg get divorced and several years later Kat who is a widow marries Greg. Hence Betsy is the wife-in-law. Greg drives a wedge into their friendship, but due to circumstances beyond both their controls, the friendship is sustained. It's a g ...more
I found this book to be very uneven. The idea of two good friends who become estranged when one marries the other's ex seems like it could have potential, but I didn't feel this story was executed very well. Haywood spent a lot of time on their past friendship, rushed through their falling out, and tacked on two (2!) sudden deaths, for good measure. I like the idea of a strong friendship between women that weathers life's ups and downs, but this one didn't convince me.
Lee Ann
Haywood Smith can always make me smile a little, tear up a little and then make me glad I read her book. Maybe I relate better as the women are more mature (older), closer to my age and have lived lives that are a little flawed by full. Her southern charm comes through as you see the characters in all their true colors. This was a fun read, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Mary Kay
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice and easy read. Sometimes that is just what I want.
Marilyn Upright
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. It speaks well of women best friends who help each other through every thing life throws at them. Even the fact that they were married to the same man at different times.
Jul 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this novel by an author that I have not read before but plan on reading in the future. Betsy Callison and Kat Ellis, two young housewives, move across the street from each other in a new southern subdivision. These two couldn't be more different; Betsy, trying to overcome being raised by a reclusive hoarder, has turned herself into a super-efficient housekeeper, cook, volunteer, and wife to a successful CPA. Kat, on the other hand, is a hippie at heart, complete with free-spirit i ...more
Mar 09, 2012 rated it liked it
I think Haywood Smith has a lot of great ideas for stories, but not great execution. Wife-in-Law is approximately 300 pages of exposition, 10 pages of action, and 60 pages of denouement. The conclusion feels like an epilogue that was tacked on, but what happened there is more interesting than the whole rest of the book and could have been its own story. Quite honestly, it didn't really fit in with this story. Also, what one reading the jacket might assume is the meat of the story happens outside ...more
Don O'goodreader
Sep 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
Betsy Calliston grew up taking care of her mother, a hoarder who never left the house. Her father left when Betsy was eight, but the divorce judge awarded custody her mother. Thus began Betsy's Candide-like adventures where her polite tea party is picketed and she is arrested for assaulting the protesters, her best friend's husband get shot and later fatally sick, and her cheating husband leaves and marries her best friend (thus the title: Wife-in-Law).

This latest "bad things happen to good peop
Aug 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the storyline right up until the end. I liked the characterizations and the details of everyday life for two women who are very different and yet best friends.

Sadly the whole premise of the story - one woman marrying the ex of the other - isn't really described in action. It happened without the two women ever discussing it. And they discuss everything throughout the rest of the book.


I also had a problem with the reasoning behind Betsy being the one to tell Kat the lousy ex is c
Anju Gattani
Dec 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the read completely and kept wondering, right from the beginning, how the protagonist got herself in the mess in the first place. That was answered, much later... but Haywood Smith's skill in keeping you on your toes, guessing, waiting and turning the pages to find out 'what happens next' is once again the charm! And, of course the author's ability to write rolls of humorous scenes and then, in one sentence, make you stop and think... and rethink the essence of the whole story and then ...more
Bridget Bailey
Sep 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was my first by this author and actually pretty good. I thought it was going to be more chick lit but it took many turns I wasn't expecting which was quite delightful and unpredictable. It was a sad and somewhat twisted story with a light feel to it but came out with a good ending. Some of it was completely unbelievable and once you read it you will know what I'm talking about but it was a good book nonetheless.
Patsy Tindell
Feb 15, 2016 rated it liked it
This is about a woman whose friend married her ex-husband. They remained friends and were together when he was accidentally killed by his second wife as he was going at his first wife with a kitchen knife. An added story line involves her mother who was unbalanced and destroyed her family and deprived the main character of her father. All is well that ends well.
Apr 04, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Was it just me or did the final few chapters feel like they were written in about ten minutes under deadline and tacked on to the end? The book was tolerable through the first 3 quarters, but the last part ruined the book and made it ridiculous.

I have to advise you not to waste your time reading this!
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book starts out with Betsy's ex-husband and best friend about to be married. It then goes back to when Betsy and Kat first met. The author does such a good job that I really felt that I knew these characters. That is why I simply could not believe that Kat would marry Betsy's ex-husband. So while I really enjoyed most of the book, once Kat and Greg were married, I found it implausible.
Dec 10, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Saccharine. The main character was a goody-two-shoes, the heavy drama introduced was completely unbelievable and not fleshed out on the least, the resolutions came all too quick, the conversations were boring, and the ending was ridiculous.. Most eggregious of all, I didn't find it the least bit funny. I can't believe I bothered to finish it at all.
Emily Bogard
Jul 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a pleasant read. Nothing "gripping". Not suspenseful. Just a pleasant read. It was needed at the time for me. I wouldn't run out and tell my friends that they "must read it!" But, it wasn't bad.
Nancy Evans
An easy read and pretty entertaining just like all her books. Will have to say I did not enjoy this one as much as the ones she wrote about the red hat ladies. Still, as I said, it was entertaining and kept me reading. A perfect "beach" read.
Apr 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like Haywood Smith's novels about Southern women's friendships. I enjoyed this one but it didn't have the humor of some of her others, although there were a couple of laugh out loud moments. The one thing that I found a little difficult was the jumping around in the timeline.
Sep 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Given the opportunity I'd give this one a 3.5, but have rounded up since that isn't an option. I love Haywood Smith's 'writing voice'. She is so gifted in blending human shortcomings with forgiveness and humor. Ah, her humor......I love it!
Dec 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Betsy and Kat are neighbors and total opposites. Betsy is a Republican wife, while Kat is a liberal hippie...yet they're best friends. Until Betsy's husband ends up leaving her and marrying Kat. Surprisingly lighthearted and funny, this was a fun novel about the power of friendship.
Feb 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was excited to read this book, but it was not as good as I'd hoped. Somewhat amusing, but I was annoyed by small details, such as timelines not matching up. The women's kids' ages did not match up with what they should have been. The ending was unrealistic and pat. I was disappointed.
Jan 17, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Haywood Smith's writing style came in and out of focus for me. I found Kat's voice most erratic: sometimes sounding more rural, but other times speaking in a clean dialect. However, the story was interesting and unpredictable.
LInda L
Jan 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Great -- funny, insightful, tragic -- this has it all. Two friends, their children, their husbands, and how the friendship survives all the hurdles.
Karen Klein
Dec 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Quick, enjoyable read!
Ady Combs
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
I love this author as she deals with baby boomers. This one had too much going on with too many sidelines to be cohesive or believable but will still read her books.
Carol Moore Kollar
Honest but funny and heartwarming about the value of friendship especially when your world is falling apart.
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