Denise's Reviews > The Wife Before Me

The Wife Before Me by Laura Elliot
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PSA -- Ladies, if you meet a man at your mother's funeral and you find out that he has a wife who died under suspicious circumstances and her body was never recovered -- don't hook up with him!

Unfortunately, Elena Langdon did not heed that warning and got together with Nicholas Madison anyway. His wife, Amelia, looms as the third person in their relationship from the very beginning. But Nicholas is so charming and just insinuates himself into Elena's life, finally getting her to agree to a commitment ceremony because he is not yet able to marry her as Madison has not been legally declared dead. Despite his ardent declarations, Elena is vulnerable to his manipulations and is convinced to move into the house Nicholas shared with his former wife. That's when the real problems surface. NO SPOILERS.

I'm sure that all women have thought at one time or another when we hear about a case of spousal abuse -- why doesn't she leave him? There are as many reasons (or excuses) as there are the women who endure the beatings, the treachery, the isolation, the controlling and the lies. Elena is distraught and can't escape Nicholas even after he confesses that he's lost all her inheritance. Now, she's really dependent on him. Much of the book describes how the worm turned and how Nicholas torments Elena, especially as she is convinced that he still loves the dead Amelia -- why else would he lock the door to the couple's previous bedroom and what other secrets is he keeping.

I've read other reviews and I must say that I enjoyed this domestic drama and psychological thriller. I didn't read the "romance" aspect as being too much as I realize this is the way that the abuser draws in his victim. I could see the downward spiral of Elena's life and sympathized with her even as I kept telling myself that I would never be in her position. Ah hubris, right? Anyway, there is suspense and the author creates a nice bit of tension. You know there is something of course -- that there will be a twist, and it's pretty easy to anticipate though you're not sure when it is coming.

The book is told in alternating viewpoints with some flips in time and this strange bit in italics that was a bit disconcerting until you identify the owner of the voice. That aspect of the narrative fell a little flat and I definitely had to suspend some disbelief about some of the things that happened as the story builds to a dramatic climax and a satisfying conclusion. You may or may not identify or relate to the characters, but it won't be hard to despise Nicholas as he's definitely a psychopath!

It was easy to read this book in one sitting as I found it hard to put down so stayed up way late finishing. I hope you enjoy it as well. Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the e-book ARC to read and review.
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Reading Progress

August 30, 2018 – Started Reading
August 30, 2018 – Shelved
August 30, 2018 – Finished Reading

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