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Saturday, 24 February 2018

‘The Wife Between Us’ by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen



Published by Macmillan,
8 February 2018.
ISBN: 978-1-5098-4281-0 (HB)

New York is a bustling backdrop for this psychological suspense in the vein of Behind Closed Doors, Girl On A Train and Gone Girl.

A dual point of view, narrated in the first person, occupies the first half. There is Nellie, 27 years old, only weeks away from her wedding to Richard, wealthy, sophisticated, romantic, handsome and thoughtful. Seven years older than her, he’s every girl’s Prince Charming. But is he too good to be true? Then in comes Vanessa, centre stage, who’s trying to recover from a bitter divorce when her husband Richard left her for a younger woman. Vanessa is down on her uppers, living in her beloved aunt’s spare room and working, rather ineffectively, as a low-paid sales assistant in a department store. The second half of the book kicks off with a single viewpoint.

The novel digs down into the complexities of friendship, obsession, marriage and betrayal. At the core of the story is an ex-wife supposedly obsessed with the beautiful woman to whom her former husband has become engaged.

Nothing is what it seems. The characterisation is well crafted; the dialogue runs smoothly and naturally. The plot twists and turns in a pacy arc that keeps one guessing and turning the pages to the very end.   Although the story jumps around undeniably the co-authors have collaborated successfully to produce a book to curl up with.
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Reviewer: Serena Fairfax

Greer Hendricks
Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen's prolific editor-author relationship began in 2010 with Pekkanen's debut novel, The Opposite of Me.
The two women formed an instant connection, which grew into a close friendship while Hendricks edited six more of Pekkanen's novels, the latest being The Perfect Neighbors (2016). Hendricks joined Simon & Schuster in 1994 as an assistant editor at Scribner Books. In 1996 she began working at Pocket Books and Washington Square Press. During her tenure at Simon & Schuster, Hendricks helped to discover and edit numerous writers including Jennifer Weiner, Stephen Chbosky, and Pekkanen. In 2001, she helped launch Atria Books, which acquired The Opposite of Me.
Sarah Pekkkanen
 When Hendricks left the publishing company in 2014, she told only a few people, including Pekkanen, that she wanted to write a novel. Pekkanen, who had written everything from investigative newspaper series and magazine features to short stories, was eager to challenge herself. She believed collaborating with Hendricks on a novel could help her grow creatively.  Hendricks was briefly hesitant. "When Sarah approached me about writing together, I initially worried it would be copping out to work with someone else," Hendricksexplains, "that it would be less of an accomplishment." But the former editor called Pekkanen 12 hours later and said, "Let's do it!" "I realized it would be crazy to turn down this opportunity," Hendricks says. "While I had published a few personal essays and edited hundreds of books, I knew I had a lot to learn about writing an actual novel." Pekkanen was confident the two could create something special together. "Not only do we share strikingly similar narrative instincts and approaches to storytelling, but we get along beautifully as friends," she says. And so, began the process of writing The Wife Between Us.

Serena Fairfax spent her childhood in India, qualified as a lawyer in England and practised in London for many years. She began writing by contributing feature articles to legal periodicals   then turned her hand to fiction. Having published nine novels all, bar one, hardwired with a romantic theme, she has also written short stories and accounts of her explorations off the beaten track that feature on her blog. A tenth, distinctly unromantic, novel is a work in progress. Thrillers, crime and mystery narratives, collecting old masks and singing are a few of her favourite things.

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