The First Wife by Erica Spindler
|The First Wife by Erica Spindler|
|Category: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Zoe Morris|
|Summary: Secrets, lies and… murder? Bailey gets more than she bargained for when she follows her new husband back to his sleepy small town in Louisiana.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 496||Date: September 2015|
|External links: Author's website|
I should have guessed from their names (Bailey and Logan) that this story was set in the States, but initially I was too busy identifying with the blurb on the back to notice. 10 year age gap? Check. Magnificent estate? Check. First wife? Check. Even if that doesn't make you feel as if you are reading about your own life, which is of course how it made me feel, there's a lot to drag you in to this one immediately and I was utterly delighted that my initial eagerness to read this one was sustained to the very last page.
I hope one day to become my first husband's second wife but Bailey is one step ahead of me as she and Logan meet and marry in something of a whirlwind. Back home, though, things come crashing down with a bump. His family are rather cool in their response to her, and the small town with a suitably saccharine American name (Wholesome) is quick to point out the failings of her new husband. Either she's not good enough or he's not, and whoever she speaks to, Bailey finds things to be a little rocky.
There's good reason for this. Logan's family background is a little murky, and his first wife is long gone, either deceased or a deserter depending on whose side you take. Then there are the other women – several girls who have gone missing over the years. Some with ties, albeit tenuous, to Logan himself. Just as Bailey starts to get a feel for the whole story, she is struck down. Waking up in hospital with amnesia after an accident, she doesn't know why but is instantly cautious of everyone and everything. Should she believe the police or her husband? Who is telling the truth? And is she in danger if she remembers things her mind is clearly trying to supress?
This is a brilliant thriller with a lot of red herrings and misadventures. If we cast aside any queries as to why Bailey could so easily give up her old life and become part of Logan's new one (surely even someone with no family still has stuff) it's easy to fall in love with the mystery in this book. The two sides, before and after the accident, are brutally crashed together so you don't see it coming and feel almost cheated by the sudden turn of events. It's not fair! How can you help Bailey figure out what is going on if she can suddenly barely remember her name, let alone tell you what she has uncovered?
The only solid fact of this book that doesn't change is that there were girls who have gone missing, with little evidence of where they are now. Everything else is up for negotiation, and Bailey takes a lot of wrong turns in her efforts to uncover the truth. It's a great adventure, though, and the rural setting works well, stirring up great images of horse farms and nature versus small towns and their insidious gossip.
My biggest fear was that something worse would happen to Bailey. Despite my earlier comment, I was ok either way with her marriage thriving or disintegrating but I wanted her alive at the end of the story.
This book flows really well and gathers pace towards the end as the race against time to find the culprit or culprits jumps off the page and embeds itself in your reading, making you turn page after page to get there quicker. I really enjoyed the story and found it hard to put down. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending us a copy to review and I would certainly recommend it.
Same title, different author, The First Wife by Emily Barr has a similar theme with a British accent. I'll be studying both when my time comes.
You can read more book reviews or buy The First Wife by Erica Spindler at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The First Wife by Erica Spindler at Amazon.com.
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