“Leaving does not stop the violence, and it doesn’t guarantee freedom. Why doesn’t she just leave? gets asked in living rooms and courtrooms across the country, when a better question would be, Why doesn’t he let her go? It took me a while, but I’ve finally figured out the answer. You’d sooner kill me than let me go.”
I recently finished Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle, and oh boy, was it ever a wild ride. I’ve never read anything by this author before, but had heard good things and was excited to dive into this thriller. This was an enjoyable story, with lots of twists and turns, red herrings, and enough fuel to keep me hooked until the very end.
The story follows three different points of view: Beth, a woman on the run from an abusive husband; Jeffrey, a man with a missing wife; and Marcus, a detective investigating a missing persons case. At the surface level, this all seems pretty straight-forward, but for anyone familiar with domestic thrillers, you know that everything isn’t always what it seems.
I thought I had this book figured out about 1/3 of the way through. Early, I know! So you probably won’t be too shocked to know that my initial detective work was way off. However, about 60 or so pages later, I came up with a new theory, that was more or less right (there were a couple missing pieces, but I was pretty close). Despite figuring things out, I still really enjoyed all the plot twists, and learning how all the moving pieces and characters came together at the end of the book.
In terms of overall plot, this book was great. It kept me engaged, I worried about some of the characters, and kept thinking about the story in-between reading. There were a couple things that caught me off guard, and kept the story moving along quite well.
The overall theme of the book, a woman escaping domestic abuse, was also presented well. There are definitely some parts that were difficult to read, but this isn’t an easy or simple issue to address: women are abused every single day by people they are supposed to be able to trust, and I’m sure many could relate to situations presented in this book. Yes, it’s uncomfortable at time, but it’s important to listen to and understand these stories.
There was one issue that I had with this book: the descriptions of minority groups. Throughout the story we meet a few characters who are not white, and for some reason, the characters in the book question their ethnicity: are they Latino, or Asian? But as a reader, I just kept thinking “does it really matter?” Probably not. I know that some of these characters are supposed to be shitty people, but you can give them a terrible personality without having them be hung up on finding out someone’s racial background. It felt exhausting to read, and in my opinion, wasn’t necessary at all.
Overall, I did enjoy the suspenseful plot and themes, and I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for a thought-provoking thriller.
Thank you to Harper Collins Canada for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Dear Wife was released on June 24, 2019, and is available wherever books are sold.