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The Wife and the Widow

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The second standalone thriller from the award-winning author of THE NOWHERE CHILD

Set against the backdrop of an eerie island town in the dead of winter, The Wife and The Widow is an unsettling thriller told from two perspectives: Kate, a widow whose grief is compounded by what she learns about her dead husband’s secret life; and Abby, an island local whose world is turned upside when she’s forced to confront the evidence of her husband’s guilt. But nothing on this island is quite as it seems, and only when these women come together can they discover the whole story about the men in their lives. Brilliant and beguiling, The Wife and The Widow takes you to a cliff edge and asks the question: how well do we really know the people we love?

352 pages, Hardcover

First published September 24, 2019

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About the author

Christian White

6 books1,116 followers
Christian White is an Australian author and screenwriter. His debut novel, The Nowhere Child, won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. He co-created the television series Carnivores, currently in development with Matchbox Pictures and Heyday TV, and co-wrote Relic, a psychological horror feature film to be produced by Carver Films (The Snowtown Murders, Partisan).

Born and raised on the Mornington Peninsula, Christian had an eclectic range of ‘day jobs’ before he was able to write full-time, including food-cart driver on a golf course and video editor for an adult film company. He now spends his days writing from his home in Melbourne where he lives with his wife, the filmmaker Summer DeRoche, and their adopted greyhound, Issy. He has a passion for true crime podcasts, Stephen King and anything to do with Bigfoot. The Nowhere Child is his first book. Christian’s currently working on his second novel, due for publication by Affirm Press in 2019.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,557 reviews
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,065 reviews38.1k followers
February 25, 2021
OMG!OMG!OMG! I’m not a religious person but any example masterpiece writing is a quite definition of finding the real miracle in the earth for me. And this book is impeccable, detailed, surprising, mind-blowing, so smartly written.

I wish I had a chance to clone this author’s special gift and brain cells and have them transplanted into my miserable head!

This mean genius author literally plays an unfair game with your mind. It’s impossible to win against him because he is too intelligent. I fooled too many times during my reading and the spider senses I am proud of were totally useless. The structure and the way of telling story is so unique. Nothing as it seems so prepare to be an April’s fools’woman like me because till the end of the book, twists will keep coming, slap you across the face, tickle you from your stomach and make you lose the rest of your full functioning grey cells. At the end, you’re asking yourself, “who am I, what I am doing here, which year we are in?” and checking yourself several times to make sure you’re okay!

And of course the characterization is excellent. The story is narrated by two different women. One of them is THE WIDOW a.k.a Kate, stay-at-home mother, taking her daughter to the airport to surprise her husband. But lately she finds out her husband was never in that plane and he wasn’t also in London for business trip. He is missing right now. And you may guess what happened to him from Kate’s nickname, right?

And other POV comes from Abby, a.k.a “THE WIFE”,working in the market as cashier, has one daughter and son, having a happy marriage, till one day she learns from her bestie police officer tells her somebody is brutally killed at the docks (that’s normally gay people’s secret meeting spot so this could be a brutal hate crime) but Abby’s obsession about true crime stories pushes her to conduct her own investigation because she feels like her husband is lying to her from the beginning.

You got the picture but now my mouth is zipped. And you shouldn’t think you got the whole story from my short summary. In the beginning you think those poor women married with the same man (Actually I did!) But... Nope, with my hand I close my mouth and I continue my clicking with only five fingers (So challenging job but at least I’m not blurting out the secret details of the book! So you gotta thank me!)

Mark my words friends, there is nothing as it seems! Give your full concentration not to get fooled! But this book deserves your full attention and it truly worth it! Because it is one of the best thrillers I’ve read!

And of course ending is epic, twisty, surprising! The author is so detailed oriented and every piece of puzzle he created are so crucial. You gotta gather the pieces together carefully and gently.

Special thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press/ Minotaur Books to share this amazing ARC COPY with me in exchange my honest review. And so much special thanks to Christian White to create this fantastic, witty, unique,original work.

Profile Image for Meredith (Slowly Catching Up).
770 reviews12.1k followers
November 24, 2019
“If we don’t talk about the monsters in this world, we won’t be ready for them when they jump out from under the bed.”

The Wife and the Widow is a dark and twisty psychological thriller.

It’s tightly wound and compulsively readable--so tightly wound that I read right through the twist! It’s subtle and intelligently written.

It’s best to go in blind, so that’s all I am going to say!

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,003 reviews3,516 followers
April 13, 2020
WOW!! I did not see that coming!
After what felt like a very slow start the book just suddenly "clicked." That feeling when the light comes on, clouds part, while the story-line sets its hook, never letting you go! So captivating in fact, I polished it off in one day. Granted it’s not a long book by any means, but I’m not a book-a-day reader!

Now, as with most great thrillers, the less you know going in the better your experience. Sooooo…no spoilers here! Just know that you’re in for one bumpy, crazy ride! After the dust settled I actually had to stop and reread a couple chapters to make sure I got that shocking WOW moment correct! And let me tell you it’s one epic moment! Even though it was late in the evening I immediately texted Susanne, curious to know if she had the same reaction! (Luckily she was at the exact same place in the book!) We were both blown away!

Christian White is a gifted author and his spin on thrillers are among my favorites! His debut novel, Nowhere Child was amazing, but this latest release is just, well...deviously ingenious!
I can only imagine what he’ll come up with next!

Oh, and be sure to read the acknowledgment at the end to see how this book came together!

A buddy read with Susanne!

Thank you to Minotaur Books and Christian White for an ARC to read and review.
Profile Image for Kylie D.
464 reviews505 followers
January 19, 2020
I was looking forward to reading this book after loving The Nowhere Child, and while I did enjoy it, I don't think it's as good as the author's previous work. We have two women brought together on the island off the coast of Victoria, one grieving the death of her husband, the other wondering what has gotten into hers. As their lives entwine we are brought closer to the truth of what happened, in a place where nothing is as it seems.

The Wife And The Widow is a good quick read, and yes it has one hell of a twist, but all in all I wasn't completely riveted to it. It does have an interesting premise, and is worth reading. One for a rainy day maybe?
Profile Image for Yun.
505 reviews18k followers
February 18, 2020
The Wife and the Widow is told from the perspective of two women: one whose husband disappears and the other whose husband is hiding a guilty secret. Their alternating viewpoints slowly condense into a single narrative as their stories converge and all their secrets are revealed.

I have to say, I was super excited going into this book based on its stellar reviews. I'm always looking for a thriller that can surprise or shock me. And this book has a lot going for it. For one, the premise is intriguing. I enjoy stories following seemingly separate people whose connections are then slowly revealed and explained. And I relished the setting, in a summer town during off-peak season, where it's desolate and gloomy.

But this may have been a case where my expectations were set too high. When I think of a thriller, I always want twists and turns, jaw-dropping secrets, and eureka moments that pull everything together with satisfaction and awe. And I just didn't get that here. The story felt very straightforward and simple. It proceeded systematically in the only way it could, and every step along the way, I'm nodding to myself like, "Yep, that's the way it is." Which isn't how I want my thrillers to be.

Another issue for me is how late in the book I hit that point of feeling compelled to continue reading. When I think of the experience of reading a book, it always starts out as going uphill, where you have to put a lot of effort into paying attention and staying focused because everything is new and unfamiliar... until you reach that magical point where you've become immersed into the plot and you wholehearted buy into the narrative that is playing out. From then on, you're zooming downhill, fast and easy, all the way to the finish. This key turning point is crucial, but I didn't reach it until more than halfway through. The lead-up to that point was mostly pedestrian, with little happening and most of it being domestic drama.

Still, I found the ending to be satisfactory in that it pulled everything together and explained it all without being over the top. But while I liked enough of this story to be glad I picked it up, it didn't wow me. I prefer my thrillers to be a little more exciting and gripping, and this just fell short of that.
Profile Image for Jayme.
1,078 reviews1,644 followers
November 27, 2019
DNF-no rating

Things I do not want to read about:

1. Politics
2. Religion
3. Taxidermy

This had two out of three.

I encourage you to read the many stellar reviews for this book for a more objective opinion.
Profile Image for Michelle .
846 reviews1,181 followers
April 22, 2020
A round of applause to Christian White! 👏👏👏

I have whiplash from all the twists and reveals. To say I was stunned at the end of this is an understatement. I had to go back to re-read some parts to make sure I had gotten it all right. Color me impressed! 4 stars!

The only reason this didn't get 5 stars was because I did skim any scene involving descriptions of taxidermy. Other than that this book is damn near perfect. If your a psych thriller fan that hasn't read this yet then I strongly urge you to grab a copy. It is most definitely worth your time! Enjoy!
Profile Image for NZLisaM.
412 reviews341 followers
March 8, 2020
Absorbing, tense, sent-shivers-down-my-spine, and best of all – an eye-popping twist!

Well, Christian White more than led me down the garden path on this one. Bravo! I'm still recovering. Feels like I've been hit by a sledgehammer. I even dreamed of this book last night. And, there were things that raised my hackles while reading, sneakily planted clues that should have led me to the correct conclusion, but of course it's easy to say that now that I have all the facts. Not to mention, I failed to notice what was missing.

I'm going to steer clear of including a synopsis, as I think it's best to just dive in, knowing as little as possible. I can tell you it's domestic drama, psychological suspense, and crime/mystery, but that's about it. As the title states, there are two narrators – ‘The Wife' (Abby) and ‘The Widow' (Kate) with chapters alternating between the two POV's. At 320 pages it's a quick read. I wouldn't call it fast-paced, but the two perspectives are engaging and relatable.

I loved the island setting of Belport – the claustrophobia, the isolation, the breathtaking scenery, the gossipy busybodies, locals living in a protective bubble, and the close-knit community guarding many a secret. Those moths freaked me out though – do they really get into cereal boxes like that? Ew!

Side note: The passages on taxidermy gave me the heebie-jeebies. I'm not bagging anyone for their hobby (as long as they never discuss it with me), but let's just say if I had a friend who gave me a ‘stuffed' animal as a gift, then we're going to have words!

This author's debut, The Nowhere Child made me a fan. The Wife and the Widow, even more so. Just read it!
Profile Image for Paige.
152 reviews283 followers
November 17, 2019
"If they didn't talk about the monsters in this world, then they wouldn't be ready for them when they jumped out from under the bed."

Chapters alternate between The Widow, Kate, and The Wife, Abby.
Within the few first chapters, Kate's husband goes missing without a trace. She then finds out he quit his job months earlier without telling her and lied about the trip he was supposed to be on. Where is he? Why did he lie? What is he hiding? "...are some monsters better left hidden."
Abby's chapters start off slower in the beginning. But then a something happens on the island she lives on and she notices that her husband starts to act different. Does he have something to do with Kate's husband's disappearance? What is he hiding?

As a reader, I kept trying to piece the connection together between the two of them (Kate and Abby). I had so many guesses. But when it hits you, it hits you HARD! O-m-g.

"What now? she thought. What the fuck now?"

The suspense was incredible and I could not put it down. This is not your average mystery/thriller; there is a powerful message buried in the end that surpasses just a thriller....and I recommend it!
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy. Opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,686 reviews14k followers
February 7, 2020
Most likely one of the few, so called thrillers, I will read this year. It has been getting some terrific review, and I was curious, so decided to read. I was enjoying this, it was different, set on an island, and I liked the format, two narrators. Totally flummoxed for the first two thirds. Everytime I thought I had it figured out, a new revelation would derail my thoughts.

So, was thinking this was definitely a four star read. Until, that is, the ending, which descended into typical thriller, an over the top ending. Plus, I don't buy the who in the ending who done it. Not if one takes into account what came before. Keep in mind, I am very hard on thrillers, and many have loved this, including many if the critics.
Profile Image for Katie B.
1,226 reviews2,932 followers
December 6, 2019
This was a clever mystery and I enjoyed it so much I'm definitely going to check out the author's other book, The Nowhere Child. The story grabbed me from the start as I was very interested in what happened to the missing husband as well as figuring out the connection between the two women. There's a surprise or two along the way and while I wouldn't say my mind was blown, I was left feeling appreciative the author managed to pull one over on me.

Kate, a mother of a young girl, is devastated when her husband goes missing. As she tries to figure out what happened to him, she learns he hasn't been completely open and honest with her. Abby is married and the mother of two teenagers. Her family struggles to make ends meet as the island they live on is dependent on tourists who flock there during the summer months. Unfortunately there isn't much work to go around during the other parts of the year. The story will alternate between the perspectives of Kate and Abby. And that's pretty much all you need to know as it's more fun going into this one without knowing too much about the story.

I thought the pacing for this book was excellent and I couldn't believe how fast I whipped through this one. For me this fits the exact definition of vacation read as it easily held my interest and while it was well-written, it wasn't a mystery that was taxing on my brain. Just something I could sit down with, relax, and enjoy.

Without getting into spoilers, while reading I will admit some parts of the story didn't seem all that realistic. However, I had completely changed my mind by the end because I at least understood why some characters were motivated to act in certain ways. Pay attention to the news every once in awhile,, and this story doesn't sound so far-fetched.

Definitely recommend as a good, solid mystery with some thriller elements to it as well.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with an advance digital copy in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Jasmine from How Useful It Is.
1,214 reviews334 followers
December 10, 2019
This book is an excellent read! What an interesting job to learn about: palliative care. I didn't know but it makes sense someone has to do it. I love that example about releasing stress on a leaf down the stream. I also like learning the term taxidermy. I have seen many deer heads at my old boss' office so now learning of the term is wonderful. In my other island reads, the story made it like living on an island is the best off season but this book brings out another light, one where the locals are low on cash without all the tourists to sell their overpriced wares. I like having this reminder.

This book started with a prologue told in the third person point of view following John, physician, as he is woken up by a sound of someone in the house. Then the story begins with Kate as she and her daughter wait for her husband John at the airport. He wasn't on the plane home so she called his employer. From there she found out that he's no longer with his employer doing palliative care for the past 3 months. Then Kate reported to the police that her husband was missing after she couldn't get a hold of him. The alternating view is Abby who's hobby is taxidermy. She lives in Belport Island, a tourist destination, with her husband and kids. One day, a body was found and it was of a person who owned a holiday home on the island. Abby's view is in the past and Kate's in the present, until the day they meet. One is a widow and the other is the wife. Two dead bodies twenty three years apart in the same location.

The Wife and the Widow is well written and a fast paced read! I enjoyed the suspense. I like how the story slowly connects the characters together. The thing about the dual perspectives are the mini cliffhangers. We readers have to wait until after the next chapter to read and it's an excruciating wait! I also love the surprise turns of new clues. On page 255, I discovered that there should have been a timeline in Abby's view. I'm not sure if that is left out deliberately or this early advance copy failed to label that. I love the twists! I loved this book so much that I read the author's note at the end, and yes, I did flipped a few pages back to check if I had read it correctly because of the missing timeline. I highly recommend this read!

***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Minotaur Books for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.

xoxo, Jasmine at www.howusefulitis.wordpress.com for more details
Profile Image for Mandy White (mandylovestoread).
1,932 reviews480 followers
October 6, 2019

Those that have read The Nowhere Child by this author know that Christian White can really write a brilliant story. This second novel is as good, if not better in my opinion. I could not wait to get my hands on this book and once I started it I really struggled to put it down.

It is a hard story to talk too much about without giving anything away. What you need to know is that it told from 2 different points of view. There is Kate, whose husband fails to return from an overseas business trip. His secrets start to come out and she wonders if she really knew him at all. And then there is Abby who learns that her husband is a killer. Another woman who thought she knew the man that she married.

That is it... you need to read this book to find out anything else. Told in alternative chapters between the 2 women this book will hook you from the start. The twist will floor you - it did me!! I stayed up really late to finish this book, it was going to be impossible for me to sleep without knowing how it ended.

Absolutely fantastic story by another great Australian writer...
You need to read this book, trust me 😊
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,051 reviews30k followers
January 22, 2020
The Wife and the Widow is set in a remote island town during a harsh winter. There are two narrators, Kate, a widow whose husband was no saint, and Abby, a woman whose husband is guilty of something big.

It takes Kate and Abby coming together to discover the truth about their husbands.

The question is: do we ever really know the ones we love?

Beautifully-written, enchanting, clever, thrilling, atmospheric, and shocking. It has it all. Do yourselves a favor and try a book by Christian White. I’m so grateful we have his fresh voice writing thrillers for us.

I received a gifted copy from the publisher.

Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

January 27, 2020
EXCERPT: For a moment Kate nearly allowed herself to slip into autopilot. The temptation to submit and roll over like a frightened puppy was strong. But that was the old Kate. That was the woman who didn't want to hear about the monsters under the bed, the woman who let the men in her life show her what to do and when to do it.

She had tried never to think about death, but the few times she had, she'd decided that when it came it should feel like an ellipsis: a gentle trailing off of a sentence. It should be a whisper of words, a padding of gentle footsteps. This, being killed by a deranged middle-aged woman, felt too sudden, too mad. This couldn't be how it ended.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Set against the backdrop of an eerie island town in the dead of winter, The Wife and The Widow is an unsettling thriller told from two perspectives: Kate, a widow whose grief is compounded by what she learns about her dead husband’s secret life; and Abby, an island local whose world is turned upside when she’s forced to confront the evidence of her husband’s guilt. But nothing on this island is quite as it seems, and only when these women come together can they discover the whole story about the men in their lives. Brilliant and beguiling, The Wife and The Widow takes you to a cliff edge and asks the question: how well do we really know the people we love?

MY THOUGHTS: Very cunning Mr. White. Very cunning indeed! Now, how to write a review that is not going to give away the important stuff...

This is a stunning family drama that had me guessing (wrongly, I may add) the whole way through. The author is a master of misdirection...I was constantly re-examining what I knew and trying to figure out what I needed to know. There was one instance where I read something and I thought, 'This is important, I need to remember this.' I had absolutely no idea,at that point, why it was important. But I was right, it was important.

White's characters are very real, very human, faults, foibles and all...that doesn't mean that you are necessarily going to like them.

And the taxidermy.....a brilliant stroke. Weird, but brilliant. I would love to know where the inspiration for that came from.

One thing that I particularly admired about this novel, is the author's acknowledgement of the stress and danger of burnout in palliative care workers. They are very special and vastly underrated for the care, both emotional and physical, that they lavish upon the dying.

This is an incredibly original work, and one that I admire greatly. I have yet to read The Nowhere Child, but I am going to make sure that I do.


#TheWifeAndTheWidow #NetGalley

I would like to share a couple of my favourite passages with you:

'We bring babies into this world, let them rip up our bodies, let them drink from us, bleed us dry, and we love them for it. We give and we give and we give. We sacrifice. And do you know why? Because we're mothers.'

'She took her own advice, locked all the dark thoughts in a room in her mind and tried not to visit it. For the most part, it got easier. But in the dead of night, when Milt Street was quiet, she could hear them growling behind the door and scratching at the walls. It reminded her that the dark things were still there and they weren't going away.'

THE AUTHOR: Christian White is an Australian author and screenwriter. His debut novel, The Nowhere Child, won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. He co-created the television series Carnivores, currently in development with Matchbox Pictures and Heyday TV, and co-wrote Relic, a psychological horror feature film to be produced by Carver Films (The Snowtown Murders, Partisan).

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to St Martin's Press via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Wife and the Widow by Christian White for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and my webpage https://sandysbookaday.wordpress.com/...
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,436 reviews29.4k followers
April 2, 2020
What would you risk to find out the truth? That's a question at the core of Christian White's new mystery, The Wife and the Widow .

Kate and her daughter are awaiting her husband John’s return to Australia from a conference in London. When he doesn't arrive at the airport when his flight does, they find out he never boarded the flight he was supposed to be on. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to secrets John was keeping.

Kate and her father-in-law travel to Belport, a remote Australian island where the family has had a summer home since John's childhood, in the hopes John may have escaped there for some reason. But when John’s body is found, it leaves Kate with so many questions beyond who killed him. She wonders about her marriage, as well as how well she actually knew her husband and understood the demons he was wrestling with.

Meanwhile, Abby and her husband and family live on Belport, where in the winter, life is so dull, she turns to true crime books for excitement. But when a body is found, it rocks the island community. The more she notices that her husband has been acting suspiciously, the more she’s determined to figure out what secrets he’s been hiding.

Two women are determined to find the truth about their husbands. They don’t know how far they’ll need to go, or what they’ll find. But they know they can't stop until they reach the truth.

I saw this book on a lot of friends’ feeds when it was released last month so I was looking forward to reading it. This is a bit of a slow-burn mystery but a pretty compelling one, and White threw in some fascinating twists, with at least one I totally didn’t see coming. (I'll admit there was a moment in the book where I thought, "wait, how is that..." but then I moved on.)

I really liked the way White tells a story, so although not everything in the book added up for me, I’ll definitely go back and read his earlier book, The Nowhere Child .

Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2019.html.

Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html.

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,153 reviews36.2k followers
April 12, 2020
4 Stars!

Extra! Extra! Read All About it! 👏 👏

What more can I say?! “The Wife and the Widow” by Christian White bowled me over!

This novel is a character driven psychological thriller. One where you keep reading because you just KNOW something cray cray is going to happen. Your gut gets that “feeling” and whoosh! You find out secrets you wished you’d never uncovered and your stomach sinks..

Murder. Secrets. Lies. You don’t even know the Half Of IT!

That of course, is how it should be. Shh! I won’t tell if you won’t!

“The Wife and The Widow” far exceeded my expectations as I didn’t exactly love Christian White’s last novel “The Nowhere Child.” (I still have nightmares about being trapped in a room with snakes!). This novel however hit every mark and makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up whenever I think of it. If it’s not on your tbr, please add it asap!

Another fabulous buddy read with Kaceey!

Thank you to Minotaur Books and Christian White for the arc.

Published on Goodreads on 4.12.20.

Profile Image for Lisa.
726 reviews
September 1, 2022
Well I was looking forward to reading this book but one thing I hate in a book is conversations about Taxidermy & religion or politics my three no no’s .

The book started out interesting but deteriorated very quickly just a boring book yawn 🥱 I pray my next is a winner.
Profile Image for Erin.
2,815 reviews494 followers
January 8, 2020
Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books for an egalley in exchange for an honest review.

You got me, Christian White! I think I was more than one step behind you in this suspense thriller and by the end, my jaw was on the ground and there were dark circles under my eyes. Goodreads people, I must add another author to my favorites list.

Told in alternating chapters by the "Widow", Kate Keddie and the "Wife", Abby Gilpin, there is no shortage of questions in this standalone thriller. I thought I knew from the title what could be the story, but like Jon Snow, I really didn't have a clue!

Our story begins with Kate and her daughter waiting patiently for husband and father, John, to return from a conference in London. When John fails to meet them at the airport, Kate and John's parents begin to worry. As Kate sets about to find her husband, nothing prepares her for what happens next.

Meanwhile, the mother of two teenagers, Abby is living on Belport Island, devoted to her handyman husband and delving into her true crime reading hobby. But when a body turns up in the water, Abby cannot help but wonder if it has anything to do with her husband's strange behavior.

Don't let this one pass you by!

Goodreads review published 07/01/20
Expected Publication Date. 21/01/20
Profile Image for Fran (apologies...way behind).
619 reviews563 followers
December 13, 2019
"We all have things that ought to stay buried, things a person should keep to themselves...how well can you really know anyone?"

Kate Keddie, a stay at home mom, lived in an elegant Victorian home in Caulfield. She was married to John, a physician at Trinity Health Centre for Palliative Care. As our story unfolds, Kate and ten year old daughter Mia, await John's return from a two week conference in London. As passengers deplane at Melbourne International Airport, he is not among them. In fact, John never flew to London to attend the palliative care seminar. John and Kate own a holiday house on Belport Island, a wedding gift from John's parents, Fisher and Pam Keddie. John dislikes the island. Fisher is not impressed with John's choice of wife. Kate is "passive to the point of invisible...".

Abby Gilpin, long time Belport Island resident, lived with husband Ray and two kids in a small weatherboard beach house with "groaning floorboards, the constant pop of settling wood...". Abby worked shifts at the "Buy and Bye" Food Market. She was an amateur taxidermist and stored various chemical supplies in a work station in her garage. The supplies included tanning solutions and luminol. In the cold months, Ray ran Island Care, "a caretaking business focusing on maintaining unoccupied holiday houses across the island."

In alternating voices, Kate and Abby share their stories. Quiet, mousy Kate comes into her own. She doesn't know her own strength until John dies on Belport Island. Why was he there when he stated that he was at a conference? Why was he no longer an employee of Trinity Health Centre? Abby discovers work boots and a grey work shirt with the logo Island Care in an overturned garbage bin. She decides to test the suspiciously stained items using luminol. What might Ray have done?

"The Wife and the Widow" by Christian White is a psychological thriller filled with lies and deception. Author White keeps the reader guessing. The many twists and turns, past and present, create an eerie island atmosphere filled with many unexpected reveals. This sophomore crime thriller is one I highly recommend.

Thank you St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review "The Wife and the Widow".
Profile Image for Carolyn Walsh .
1,418 reviews531 followers
December 19, 2019
2.5 Stars. I read Christian White’s terrific debut novel, The Nowhere Child, back in January. It remains one of my favorite mysteries of 2019, so had no hesitation in purchasing The Wife and the Widow ebook.

I apologize as this novel was a disappointment for me. It started out strong but then wasn’t keeping me engaged in the story. I found the characters underdeveloped. Kate, the widow, was too passive to be interesting as a main character. Abby, the wife, was unpleasant and not at all likeable. The men in their lives were very much enigmas. I found the pace uneven, the plot convoluted, and the ending frantic. I failed to feel any empathy for the characters, and this diluted any suspense for me. A strong sense of place or atmosphere was missing.

Because I enjoyed The Nowhere Child so much, I will definitely read the author’s next book. I realize that many readers rated this book highly and that I am in the minority. Prospective readers should not be dissuaded by my misgivings.
Profile Image for Sharon.
946 reviews182 followers
December 27, 2019
Christian White is an author I’ll be keeping a close eye on as I’ve now read his two novels and enjoyed both of them. I can't wait to discover what he writes next. This book revolves around two women, Kate, who is the widow and Abby who is the wife. Each chapter of this book alternates between the two giving us the reader a clear image of what exactly going on between these two women.

The mystery and suspense throughout this book has you turning the pages eagerly awaiting on what will take place next. Oh my goodness the twist in this book had me so surprised as I simply didn’t see it coming. The Wife And The Widow by Aussie author Christian White was a brilliantly written novel which I thoroughly loved. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Carolyn.
2,092 reviews588 followers
February 17, 2020
A compelling murder mystery with a very clever lightbulb moment in the narrative two thirds through the novel giving it a surprising twist.

The story takes place on Belport Island, a popular summer holiday location off the Victorian coast. The wife and the widow are Kate and Abby. Abby is a local whose husband Ray runs a business looking after the summer holiday houses and gardens when they are shut up over the winter. Kate is on the island looking for her husband John who is missing since telling her he was going to a conference in London. Kate and John own a holiday house on the island passed down to them by John's parents so Kate decided to check if he was there since he has been visiting it since he was a boy. What happened on the island will change both families for ever.

This is a well written, well paced mystery. The author's ability to misdirect his unsuspecting readers works brilliantly and the twisty climax ties it all up well.
Profile Image for Frank Phillips.
488 reviews238 followers
February 12, 2020
This was yet another great, fantastically written, well paced, thrilling read from Mr. White!! 4.5 Stars, rounded up because this is the 2nd book in a row from this author that has blown me away. It almost garnered a 5 Star rating, except for the fact that I was thoroughly confused throughout, up until the very last few chapters. The alternating perspectives had me confused, initially because I couldn't keep the characters straight, then because of the period in time that each took place in. I'm not sure if this was intentional by White, but I was scratching my head quite a bit up until the very end! It may have been confusing and slightly irritating throughout while I was trying to piece it together but when it all came together at the end, it was brilliant! This all being said, the ending was freaking fantastic!! The characters were all incredibly real, and there was even an element of an unreliable narrator going on with one of them, which I really enjoyed. I couldn't recommend this book anymore, especially for you thriller & suspense/mystery fanatics!! Go out and get it!!
Profile Image for Erin (from Long Island, NY).
433 reviews144 followers
February 24, 2020
Wow! Wow! Wow! This was SO good! Best since well, my last favorite!😂 But really, this author is something special. I love twists & red herrings as much as the next thriller reader, but this 1 is different.. It has all of those oh sh*t moments but in an authentic, intelligent way. No wasted time or tricks just for the sake of misleading. You can just relax & let the story unfold. This author is a true artist. To begin a book & have it seamlessly weave in & out, & then come together the way this does... Don't be surprised if you want to go back & read it again. It's THAT good. & the characters... Oh man. Psychos are fun but my favorites are books like this- where the average person is pushed to make decisions that (scarily enough) we can all understand if we try. I won't soon forget these people.. So good!!!
Profile Image for Diana | Book of Secrets.
766 reviews556 followers
February 22, 2020
4.5 Stars → Dark secrets are a terrible burden! THE WIFE AND THE WIDOW is a fast-paced family drama/thriller told in alternating POVs of the two title characters — a wife and a widow. The big question that kept me flipping the pages is how are their stories connected? I love those mind-bending twists that make me stop and say, "Wait, WHAT?!? This book had the perfect one for these troubled characters. Haunting and gripping. {Borrowed from the library.}
Profile Image for Mª Carmen.
539 reviews
November 30, 2022
Me ha gustado mucho. Un thriller bien planteado que cumple con su cometido, entretener. Es la segunda novela de Christian White que leo y con ambas he tenido la misma percepción.

Dice la sinopsis:
¿Qué estarías dispuesto a pagar por desvelar los secretos que esconden tus seres queridos?
La esposa y la viuda es un thriller ambientado en una inquietante localidad isleña en pleno invierno, narrado desde una doble perspectiva: la de Kate, una viuda cuyo dolor se complica con lo que averigua sobre la vida secreta de su difunto esposo, y la de Abby, una habitante de la isla cuyo mundo se vuelve del revés al verse obligada a hacer frente al hecho irrefutable de que su marido es un asesino. Pero, en la isla nada es lo que parece, y solo cuando se confronten ambas historias, se podrá descubrir la verdad de lo sucedido. Una novela brillante y cautivadora, lleva al lector al borde del precipicio y le hace preguntarse si de verdad conoce a sus seres queridos.

¿Qué destaco del libro?

Bien escrito con una prosa serena, bonita y cuidada.

Se estructura en capítulos cortos. El ritmo es pausado, sostenido que no lento, los giros bien colocados. Es de esas novelas que te enganchan sin que te des cuenta. No tiene un comienzo impactante, pero desde el principio va sembrando intriga y necesidad de saber. Empiezas a leer y cuando te paras a recapitular llevas la mitad del libro. Las páginas pasan sin sentir.

La trama, inteligente y bien estructurada. Dos historias paralelas, la de Kate y la de Abby. Será un narrador omnisciente quien, en capítulos alternos, le de voz a cada una. Las historias de ambas van a confluir de una manera que, al menos yo, no pude predecir. Que no sea fácilmente previsible es, precisamente, uno de los puntos fuertes de este thriller. Es una novela en la que hay que prestar mucha atención a los detalles, a las pequeñas discrepancias. Yo iba avisada y las observé, otra cosa es que las interpretase correctamente. Me hice una hipótesis y en parte no iba desencaminada, pero lo principal, lo que da sentido al conjunto y consigue que encajen todas las piezas, no lo vi hasta que Christian White, en un giro magistral, así lo quiso. Me ha encantado.

La ambientación está acorde con la novela. Una isla turística australiana en invierno unida al continente por un transbordador. Es temporada baja, hay poco empleo, el número de habitantes es muy inferior al censo veraniego. Azotada por tormentas invernales, llueve y hace frío. La atmósfera en la isla es familiar, todos se conocen, pero también opresiva. Una atmósfera que nos envuelve y está presente durante toda la lectura como si de un personaje más se tratase.

Los dos personajes principales, Kate y Abby bien trazados y lo suficientemente robustos, entendiendo esta afirmación desde los cánones del género. Dos mujeres normales enfrentadas a una situación complicada. Ambas están dotadas de fortaleza y determinación. A Kate le mueve la necesidad de saber antes de poder encarar su duelo. Abby, teme que sus sospechas se confirmen. No está segura de querer saber, pero no puede dejarlo estar. A lo largo de la lectura, capítulo a capítulo, he comprendido cómo se sentían ambas mujeres, aunque no siempre haya empatizado con las decisiones que toman.

Es de ese tipo de thrillers que hacen que el lector reflexione acerca de las consecuencias de nuestros actos, sobre la determinación que nos lleva a tomar decisiones sin meditar cómo nos afectarán a la larga, a cuestionarnos qué haríamos de vernos en circunstancias similares.

El final bueno, de los que sorprenden y no ves venir por mucho que estuviera todo ahí.

En conclusión. Un thriller bien escrito con una trama inteligente y bien desarrollada, buenos personajes y un final de los que sorprenden. Recomendable.

November 28, 2019

The Wife and the Widow by Christian White. (2019).

Set against the backdrop of an island town in winter, this thriller is told from two perspectives. Kate is a widow whose grief is compounded by what she learns about her husband's secret life. Abby is an island local who is forced to confront the evidence that her husband is a murderer. But nothing on the island is quite as it seems. When the women are pushed to the edge, they will uncover the entire truth about the men in their lives.

After loving the author's previous novel (The Nowhere Child), I had high hopes for this one. It did not disappoint, it was amazing! The alternating chapters between Kate & Abby work really well and the story flows smoothly. I'm not one for spoilers, however there is a plot twist in this book that honestly made me go hot damn I did not see that coming! I even raved about it out loud to my non reader husband because I thought it was that excellent. Kudos to you Mr White! I read this book within 24 hours; I didn't want to put it down and was totally absorbed. I cannot recommend this thriller more, it would easily be one of my top reads for 2019. I look forward to and eagerly await the next offering from this author in the future.
Profile Image for Suz.
1,045 reviews533 followers
July 6, 2022
What would you do to protect your family, at all costs? Told from two perspective families in a very cold and rather unappealing island community. We hear from the widow, and we hear from the wife. What connects these two women who appear to be innocent players in a murder, how has this joined them? The hardworking wife with a couple of teens, married to the resident handyman who looks after the holiday homes in the off season and does lawn maintenance to try and stay afloat; who works at the local grocery shop, and the widow who on the outside appears to be a meek and mild stay at home mother of one whose doctor husband was found dead at the wharf. This was a cruising strip for gay men, has this been what links the two families? The widow's husband was meant to be overseas on a conference but this was a rouse. Many questions and a plot ideas to consider, and women who will go to any length to protect their families. Themes of confused sexuality, lies, deceit and loyalties. I had not read The Nowhere Child which appears to be quite popular, but I wasn't taken with this as much as I'd hoped. I stumbled across this on my quest to free up my physical shelves and sourcing my many physical copies on audio. It seems all the popular titles require holds and this was how I stumbled across this one. The author's note explains the plot twist and the person which this came from. It wasn't the author which I found curious. In the long run I found the character that was the most full of deceit to be quite unbelievable and wasn't entirely taken by this book.
Profile Image for Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews.
1,864 reviews261 followers
October 19, 2019

4.5 stars

Fairfax has labelled Christian White, the author of last year’s smash hit, The Nowhere Child as, ‘an exciting new voice in crime fiction’. I have to concur, Christian White has earned this title, thanks to his first book, and now his second novel, The Wife and the Widow. A story that follows a wife, a widow and a shocking secret on a stormy island abode, Christian White’s sophomore novel is a book that will have you deeply examining the actions of your loved ones.

The fictional island township of Belport, located in the Bass Strait region off Victoria’s coast, plays the sinister backdrop for Christian White’s second and highly anticipated follow up to The Nowhere Child. The Wife and the Widow shifts and turns between two voices, the first follows Kate. The widow of the tale, Kate is consumed by her husband’s death. Kate’s journey for answers into her husband’s secret life, which is revealed after his passing, forms the crux of this novel. The other voice of this tale is Abby, a native to Belport. Abby is forced to confront the shocking reality that her husband may be capable of murder. As the story unfolds, truths are revealed, loyalties are tested, and secrets that have been buried for years come to the surface. The Wife and the Widow is a tale of confusion, but also semblance and renouncement.

Christian White burst onto the Australian and worldwide literary scene with his explosive debut novel, The Nowhere Child. I am sure the pressure to write a second novel of the same calibre was intense for White. Christian White takes it in his stride, and The Wife and the Widow is an assured and collected novel. It is book that demands to be absorbed in just a sitting. Personally, I sacrificed much needed sleep for this one, but it was so worth it!

Christian White embodies the voices of his two female narrators with confidence and understanding. I was impressed by his ability to inhabit the lives of both Kate, the widow of the tale, and Abby, the wife figure of this novel. I loved that I didn’t know what to expect from this tale, this is not a carefully laid out narrative. The Wife and the Widow is full of unexpected twists, turns, revelations and polarising truths. White’s approach is thoughtful, but also very astute. White also ensures that he is always one step ahead of the reader and we are often left disorientated. It was virtually impossible to pick the direction that this novel went in, and a flip in the narrative direction towards the latter part of the book caused quite a commotion!

One of the leading aspects of The Wife and the Widow is the setting. Belport, an imagined locale by the author, completely came alive thanks to the vivid prose of Christian White. There is such a strong visual quality to White’s descriptions, which he applies very well to his locale passages. Belport is a blustery island, that is both claustrophobic and isolated at the same time. It is eerie, dark and unforgiving, as many of the characters discover as The Wife and the Widow progresses. Everything is compounded by the influence of the setting, which seems to exacerbate the puzzling events of this tale.

White’s characterisation executed to perfection. He manages to divide his narration between the two women of the novel with poise and precision. Kate is absolutely determined to get to the bottom of her husband’s demise. I really felt for Kate and I often theorised what I would do if I was faced with the situation she was confronted with. It was easy to develop a sense of sympathy for Kate and I was behind her every step of the way. In Abby, the reader is confronted with a fighting spirit. Abby is a loyal and protective woman. She is also an unstoppable force and Abby’s character arc is marred by plenty of sacrifice and grief. The secondary cast is also carefully sketched by White, padding out the novel with plenty of intrigue and response.

White incorporates plenty of guiding themes in this novel and I appreciated the way in which these were inserted within the direction of the book. From marriage, relationships, family relations, sexual orientation, motherhood, parenting, career crisis, health care, terminal illness, bereavement, financial bequeaths, secrets and even a spot of taxidermy is thrown in the mix. There is no question that The Wife and the Widow provides a great deal for the reader to consider as they work their way through this scintillating novel.

There is absolutely no hint of second novel blues with The Wife and the Widow. Christian White’s second offering is cunning and dripping in deception, leaving you perplexed and even unhinged, but it is well worth it for this stand out thriller.

*Book #10 of the 2019 Aussie male author challenge.

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