It feels like it’s been forever since I sat down to write a review on a book, or just on my blog in general! It’s something I really want to get back into this year. I usually do well in the Spring and Summer but lose my mojo towards the end of the year. When you spend all week at work on a computer, and you’re trying to build your social media accounts, blogging just seems to be the one that loses out. It’s a shame. As I love creating blog posts and using my degree for me, not just to earn money!
Another thing I wanted to do more of after Christmas was to read more. I received some great books for Christmas and instead of watching Netflix every evening, I wanted to make time for the things I love. Getting out of the habit of reading is easy, getting back into it is surprisingly difficult. The first book I read was ‘My Lovely Wife’ by Samantha Downing. It sounded like a perfect book for me and right up my street. Any kind of thriller is always a winner as I enjoy the suspense and they’re usually a quick read. Some of my favourite books are Gone Girl and Behind Closed Doors for this reason.
I must admit though, the book didn’t blow me away. At times, I felt quite disappointed with the prose and the pointless references to the past that were not detrimental to the storyline. I felt like Downing was trying to hit a word count in an essay!
My Lovely Wife is about your typical suburban family with a dark secret. Not the first book to have a tagline like this. The book is narrated by the husband, and he lives with his wife, Millicent, and two children, Jenna and Rory. Without spoiling too much, the couple have an usual way of spicing up their marriage. They like to choose the ‘perfect’ victim and kill her.
The one thing Downing does do well is developing her characters. You’re never quite sure where they’re going to end up and who is truthful. The husband is a bit spineless considering he cheats on Millicent and enjoys taking the hypocritical ‘higher ground’. The whole family set up is very odd. The husband and Millicent don’t trust each other and are both very sly. They cause their own daughter severe psychological trauma and the husband allows the son to blackmail him.
Millicent keeps the story alive. She’s insane – a pathological liar, control freak, manipulator of her entire family and a weird seductress of the husband and anyone she meets. This domestic thriller is cliched and predictable in places – but there are also parts that are enthralling and you don’t want to put the book down.
In terms of how it compares to other domestic/ psychological thrillers, it doesn’t quite stand up to those it has been linked to. At times, Downing tries too hard and if some bits of the middle weren’t there, it would be a more intense read. It took me a couple of weeks to get through it and at times I felt like giving up with it. I’m glad I finished it as the ending was good, but I wouldn’t say justice is served (if you’ve read it, you know what I mean). It would be interesting if Downing did a sequel but I’m not sure if there is anywhere else for it to go.
The family are fake in many senses. They try to keep up with the Jones’s and are never honest with anyone. The slyness makes you keep reading, knowing the genre of the book, but it’s not a book I would pick up to read again. Which is a shame as I love this genre.
I have a big TBR (to be read) stack and I’m currently reading Rosie Walsh’s ‘The man who didn’t call’. I’m not far into it but will be doing a review once I’ve finished!
Thanks for reading!