Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The First Wife” as Want to Read:
The First Wife
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The First Wife

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  1,023 ratings  ·  142 reviews
I moved closer to the little girl, afraid that our voices would be caught by the monitor.
‘What happened to you, Lucy? Can you tell me?’

When Sophie’s life falls apart, she accepts an invitation from a childhood friend, Caroline, to visit her family’s beautiful beach house, situated at the mouth of an isolated cove, miles from the nearest town. The silence is broken only
Kindle Edition, 265 pages
Published March 18th 2020 by Bookouture
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The First Wife, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The First Wife

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,023 ratings  ·  142 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The First Wife
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
EXCERPT: 'Difficult, these cases. Unidentified remains.' She gave me a half-smile. 'They often get a good public response. They bring back so many memories, you see. So many questions from the past. What if it were my estranged mother or my long-lost sister or my first girlfriend? It makes people stop and think, doesn't it? About the people who've really mattered in life.'

ABOUT THIS BOOK: What secrets lie behind this isolated house by the sea?

When Sophie’s life falls apart, she accepts an invita
London, Hong Kong.

Apart from the distance between these two places, there's also the distance between two old school friends, and twenty-five years of time separating their life stories.

Sophie and Caroline shared a friendship which spanned oceans and time. Caroline got the better deal when she met Dominique in Hong Kong, got married and gave birth to her beloved Lucy. Sophie never married but did not change as much as Caroline.

By the time Sophie met Lucy, the three year old couldn't talk; Carol
Natalia  R
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
The First Wife by Jill Childs is a dark and suspenseful domestic thriller packed full of lies, secrets, and deception. It follows Sophie, who is thrilled to be invited by a childhood friend, Caroline, to visit her family's beautiful beach house, situated at the mouth of an isolated cove miles from the nearest town. But when Sophie arrives, she immediately senses that something is off with the family. Her once popular and confident friend is secretive and moody. Her husband is distant and doesn't ...more
Mar 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-copies
What secrets hide behind closed doors in this isolated house by the sea?

This was my first book by Jill Childs and it did not disappoint. I thoroughly enjoyed her writing style and the descriptions had my attention. The character building was strong, with alternate viewpoints switching between the main characters, Sophie and Caroline.

The First Wife is packed full of secrets, deception and lies... the twist at the very end ... well played! I did not see that coming! Overall this was a very satis
The First Wife by Jill Childs

ARC provided by NetGalley and Bookouture. All opinions are mine and freely given.

Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

"There was something desolate about them. They showed a melancholy sky bleeding into a grey, formless sea. Eternal and unpeopled"

03-18: 'The First Wife' by Jill Childs, a journalist turned author who lives in London, is a shadowy thriller about a woman who's life has sort of crumbled.. leaving her alone and adrift.

When her childhood friend asks her to visit, she accep
Linda Strong
Mar 17, 2020 rated it really liked it

Sophie is thrilled to receive an email from a school friend, Caroline, who she hasn't seen in 25 years. She's been invited to spend some time in a beach house, an isolated cove. As her father has recently died, and she desperately needs to find a way to live with no family, she eagerly accepts.

But it's not quite what she was expecting. Caroline has changed in all ways. She seems secretive. Her husband, Dominic, doesn't seem to like Sophie at all and he's gone an awful lot .. mostly during the we
Mar 06, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is one hell of a slow burn, which is why it took me nearly 2 weeks to read it. Nothing really starts happening until well over halfway through when it all starts to kick off.

I thought this book was going to super creepy because of the whole mute traumatised child and old isolated Victorian house on a cliff thing but it wasn’t really.

While I did enjoy the action packed last quarter and I didn’t see a lot of it coming and it was an enjoyable read, slow burners aren’t really my jam so t
The First Wife by Jill Childs is a chilling and intriguing read with a marvellously atmospheric setting, playing a major role in this unfolding tale.

One day, grieving Sophie receives an invitation by email to visit an old friend from her school days, Caroline. These days, Caroline is married to Dominic with whom she has a gorgeous daughter named Lucy. They live in a beautiful old beach house in a lovely area, on an isolated cove miles away from the nearest town. The silence is broken
Ludwig Reads
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
“I lay there, listening to the rhythm of the sea and wondering why no one else had heard her screaming, whether it often happened to this small girl, that she screamed and screamed in the darkness and no one came.”

It all started with an urgent email, "Just get yourself down here...jump on the first train you can!" and so now Sophie is meeting her best friend Caroline again for the first time in 25 years.

The story is very atmospheric, and the setting plays a major role in the unfolding of the eve
Robin Loves Reading
Could it be possible that decades could stop in time? Sophie and Caroline just might have a chance to find out. Caroline reaches out to her old friend. When Sophie comes to visit, will things go well?

Unfortunately, things pretty much go wrong from the moment Caroline sets her foot on Sophie's doorstep. At the same time, Sophie's three-year old daughter Lucy begins acting strangely, she stops speaking and the exhibits some scary behavior.

Caroline's behavior is suspect. She has some strange momen
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The book chilled me up from the inside out.

Sophie was called to visit Caroline, wife to Dominic and mother to young Lucy. It had been 25 years since the friends had seen each other. Sophie had gone through the deaths of her parents, and needed a break. Off she went and found things a bit bizarre. Caroline was moody, Dominic was weird, and young Lucy didn't speak. Not a word. Until Sophie found a secret. A clue, just like the Agatha Christie books, the 2 friends used to read in childhood.

Having r
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this was unexpected. I didn’t know anything about this writer but loved the book. It was fast-paced and I loved the two POV and how you just had to read on to discover what was actually going on. Also liked the ending!
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is my first book by this author and I thoroughly enjoyed her writing. She has an easy style that flows nicely, so you get absorbed in the story. I liked the two perspectives as we learnt the now from one character and the events leading up to now from another. The setting was really atmospheric and creepy, adding to the tension of the story, which was so well told it had me thoroughly engrossed. I guessed an element of the plot, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment and although I wonde ...more
Feb 24, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 starts

This book was a slow burn with an explosive end.
The first 3 quarters of the book were slow, Sophie the main character was interesting but a bit of a door mat at times. Her old friend Caroline was a bit of a self character.
Even though the book was slow, the reader knew that things were not right with her friend and the family. i felt so sorry for the daughter Lucy. Sophie was an interesting character and the need to know more kept me reading on. It was nice having Caroline's POV as w
Feb 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
After the death of her father, Sophie comes to visit her old friend Caroline. It’s been over 25 years since they have seen each other, but they kept in constant contact through letters at first and then e-mails. Caroline and her husband Dom live in a beautiful home with their darling daughter Lucy. The three year old doesn’t speak and it makes Sophie worried. This book was very slow to start, but the last quarter of the book began to tie up loose ends and gave me quite the surprise in the end. T ...more
ʚϊɞ Shelley's ʚϊɞ Book Nook

3.5 Stars

This was an interesting plot as it isn't so much who but what and why. The story was solid and entertaining but not groundbreaking enough to really wow me. Many of the twists were too predictable and I correctly figured out what would eventually become the biggest reveal shortly into the story. However, I was most disappointed with the ending. Also, there were several plot devices inserted to help boost the sense of mystery but some were orphaned, leaving behind unresolved plot holes. O
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sophie had reached a crossroads in her life,she had recently buried her beloved Father and had spent the last few months dealing with solicitors,estate agents and removal men. So when she receives an email from her best friend from her school days practically begging her to come and stay, she jumps at the chance to spend some time with her friend and finally meet Caroline's husband Dominic and their three year old daughter Lucy.

But almost from the moment that she arrives at their secluded mansio
The Book Gawdess
Apr 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sophie has just lost her father and is still grieving when she decides to go stay with her old school friend, Caroline and her husband, Dominic. However, she quickly notices things about Caroline which are different. Caroline is not as warm and friendly as she used to be. Her whole personality seems to have changed. And what is even weirder is the behavior of Caroline's daughter, Lucy. Lucy does not speak at all and she always looks a bit frightened. Sophie finds herself very confused about what ...more
May 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous book! Sophie and Caroline were the bestest of buddies during the school years and now Sophie has received an 'urgent' invite from Caroline to come visit. Sounds like perfect timing since Sophie's life just seems to have fallen apart.
But things are never as one originally imagines. Upon Sophie's arrival, Caroline doesn't appear to even remember that she had invited her. Caroline's beautiful little child, Lucy is three years of age and doesn't speak. Dominic, the dashing young husband d
Melanie’s reads
Mar 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
You know the feeling you get when you know something isn’t quite right, when you are all alone and even the shadows seem frightening. The hairs on the back of your neck stand up and you call out but no answer comes back. That is the perfect way to describe this ominous read.

Told in dual narrative from Sophie and Caroline’s perspectives we learn that Sophie has lost both parents and has little money until her parent’s house is sold. She takes up old school friend Caroline’s offer of staying with
Joanna Lambert
I've lost count of the number of times I've looked at psychological thrillers which are advertised as 'unputdownable' or 'gripping'. Sadly many of them fail to live up to this description. However, I have just finished reading The First Wife by Jill Childs and have to say it totally lives up to all of this and more. It is written from two different perspectives - Sophie and Caroline, old school friends who have kept in touch over the years but not seen each other. Well heeled Caroline has led a ...more
Lady Delacour
Slow building story
with hints of Goth
It gently hooked me
and immersed me as
the plotline unfolded.
3 Quite likable Stars.
Listened with TTS.
Cleanish' with a few
Mild Foul Words.
Lori Boyd
Mar 17, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars.

Sophie and Caroline couldn’t be more different. But, they’ve been friends for ever. Sophie gets an email from Caroline begging her to visit. Since Sophie is at a huge crossroad in her life, she jumps at the chance. Thus throwing her into a situation filled with lies and deception.

Fast paced, well-written read. First book by this author, will definitely read again. I love books with dual voices, and this one didn’t disappoint. Storyline developed slowly, but didn’t drag. Characters wer
Jodi VanMeter
Feb 23, 2020 rated it did not like it
I hate when I don’t like a book and I hate it even more when I DNF......I tried to give this book a chance but I just couldn’t get into it. The chapters are way to long and everything is just too descriptive. I had to sort out what was important and what pertained to the actual story line. Sorry but this was a pass for me.
Feb 13, 2020 rated it did not like it
DNF @ 22%

At 22%, nothing has really happened in the book. The first chapter alone was 19% and there were plenty of times where it could have been broken up into shorter chapters. I feel like the plot would have been interesting, but the author seemed to fill the book (or the first 22% anyway) with SO much descriptions about what everyone was wearing and the surroundings (every room) the characters were in, right down to what was hand-embroidered on the quilt on the bed. This all seemed like "fil
Lara (larainsidebooks)
Feb 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, my-books, e-books
I received this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Even though I'm in a phase when I read a lot of thrillers, this book still managed to surprise me and fool me into thinking the opposite of what happened. Through two points of view, we follow Sophie and Caroline, school best friends as Sophie visits Caroline, her husband and their daughter Lucy. With many secrets to keep, her own ghosts and the fact that Lucy isn't speaking, Sophie finds herself drawn to
Jackelyn Santana
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller, netgalley
I loved this book! From the moment I started, I couldn't stop reading it. I didn't want anyone to interrupt me as I got closer to the end. The author did an amazing job of catching my attention, wrapping up my interest as she kept me intrigued, and kept me guessing until the very end. There were surprises until the very end. An excellent thriller book that delivered. My emotions were stirred; curiosity, rage, and my heartstrings. Rarely does a book make my eyes swell with tears, this one did, an ...more
Feb 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Would say this was a firm 3 possibly 3 and a half.

The First Wife is the first book I have read by Jill Childs. It was very enjoyable overall and would definitely recommend both the author and book and will certainly look out for other titles by this author.

I read the book very quickly which was definitely a good thing!

I found it very easy to get into and found both Sophie and Caroline compelling characters.

The story is told in alternate chapters through the main characters eyes which I enjoyed.

Janilyn Kocher
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Deceitful. Suspenseful. Lies. Death. Loss. Redemption. All of these words are explored in The Frist Wife. An unidentified body is found. Could it be Caroline? Is Lucy safe? Is Dominic complicit or is he the grieving husband? The author takes the easer on a merry ride of suspense. The ending was a clever twist and even the epilogue was surprising. Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for the early read.
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
It’s at quite an opportune time in Sophie’s life that she gets an invitation from her old friend Caroline urging her to come and stay with her at her family’s beach house. Sophie’s father has just passed away and she’s at a loss as to what to do with her life now. She’s lonely, as well as completely alone, so although she hasn’t seen Caroline for something like 25 years, they’ve always maintained contact (despite the vast difference in their financial status) and she still considers her to be he ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Twin
  • When You Reach Me
  • What It Seems
  • The Night Swim
  • Some Days Are Dark
  • Pretty Things
  • File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents (All the Wrong Questions, #2.5)
  • The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands
  • The Audacious Molly Bruno: Amazing Stories from the Life of a Powerful Woman of Prayer
  • Mrs. McTats and Her Houseful of Cats
  • The Reluctant Psychic
  • The Dilemma
  • The Girl from Widow Hills
  • The Perfect Mother
  • Who Did You Tell?
  • My Husband's Lie
  • Found Her
  • The House Share: Seven housemates. Seven lies. Would you dare to join?
See similar books…
Jill has always loved stories - real and imaginary. She's spent 30 years travelling the world as a journalist, living overseas and reporting wherever the news took her. She's now made her home in London with her husband and twin girls who love stories as much as she does.

Although she's covered everything from earthquakes and floods, riots and wars, she's found some of the most extraordinary stori

Related Articles

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
18 likes · 4 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »