The Wife And The Widow- Really The Wife
Warning! The following is a direct quote from Christian White’s Authors Note. HOWEVER, I have carefully crafted it to NOT spoil anything. DO NOT read the full author’s note before reading the book. It is FULL of spoilers.
That old cliche about the difficult second album is absolutely true… Just as I was beginning to think I’d wasted months of my life trying to put together an unsolvable jigsaw puzzle, I was hit with a stroke of genius. A guiding voice from within whispered: if you want to solve this problem, you know what you have to do … ask your wife, stupid.
So, I asked my wife.
Suffice to say she was the key to what would become one incredible blind-side. The second it hit, I went back and there were clues. All along there were clues. They are so seamlessly laid out that you could kick yourself for not putting them together.
But make no mistake. It WAS the lynch pin to The Wife and the Widow. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Christian White wasn’t just writing a sophomore novel. He was following up an international best selling and award winning debut in Nowhere Child.
The Wife and the Widow- Take Two
The main characters White has created are incredibly opposite of each other. The widow has married wealthy and is living an upper-class lifestyle. She is quite, if not almost invisible, as it comes up multiple times, to the point that she realizes this is not a compliment. While the wife, is the opposite. She lives a middle class life that she is quite content in and while she doesn’t look around and whine for that which she doesn’t have, contentment has also, in someways made her complacent and somewhat blind to what is going on around her.
White begins to intertwine these characters in depth and complexity long before their lives collide by showing that while on the surface their lives are polar opposites in socioeconomic status, financial status and seemingly personality. The wife is brash, outgoing and very out of the box in lifestyle. However, while the widow was born quiet, passive and with a predisposition to ask no questions, pay no mind, the wife’s environment has walked her into this complacency of ignoring things that are staring her in the face. Both will end up facing the realities of these personality traits. How?
The multiple points of view start out on such separate playing fields that I was almost thrown. Truthfully at first, I wasn’t even sure I was going to like The Widow and the Wife. I had no idea where White was going. On the side of the Widow it started off with a bang. The husband disappears immediately and a flashback to the last time they spoke are the most obvious and immediate clues you get to signs of trouble. THAT QUOTE. THAT CONVERSATION. It is chilling.
So I pushed that initial sense of I have no idea what is happening here and not in the most wonderful way possible but in the this is just not making any sense way, because of that scene. The last time they spoke before John (the soon to be missing husband), over Skype, he goes deep, dark and philosophical, fast over leaving their daughter’s safety search feature off on the internet. This is page 10. Really not a spoiler.
Life doesn’t have a filter, so why should the internet? … We try to protect people we love from certain truths,’ he said, ‘But I’m not sure that’s always right, or fair. 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.’
Not to make everyone roll their eyes at me but I seriously thought of this when I read that line…
Truthfully, right at that point White had me. I was finishing this book, even though I didn’t know how any of this was coming together. Because it wasn’t long before slowly but surely, tiny pieces started pushing their way together. I won’t say how because that would take so much fun out of it. What can I say?
Story elements. White knows how to utilize story elements. He pulls them apart, piece by piece. Setting (time and place), characters, problem, resolution… he picks them apart piece by piece. Then, milking each for everything they are worth, puts them back together as the vehicle to intertwine the story-lines from each point of view.
It is an entirely unique format that creates an all to plausible scenario.
Christian White is like…
Thank you to Minotaur Books for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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