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Ratings and Book Reviews (5 7 star ratings
5 reviews
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4.0 out of 5
7
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    predictable

    This book was ok......a little to cliche and predictable. The writing is fluid, though.
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    Most definitely different!

    My Rating 3.5 Stars For a moment, while reading The Starter Wife, I was reminded of Rebecca by Daphne DeMaurier. That feeling did not last too long in the book. Was Claire Westcott, married two years to a man nearly twice her age, Byron, living in the shadow of his first wife, Colleen? Colleen, a successful painter, apparently committed suicide almost twenty years ago. Currently, the closing of the case of the suicide begins raising questions to Claire. While the police have finally vindicated Byron, rumors have not. Claire begins believing the rumors. Did Byron kill Colleen after all? Is Claire safe? This entire story is relayed in two narrations, both in first-person. Quite naturally, we have Claire, with her everyday life and actions. Then we have someone unnamed, a person obsessed and who is stalking Byron. She is determined to save Byron. In dialog, she is quite clear that Byron's wife is not worthy of him. She will do anything she can to stop any harm from coming to Byron. Yes, she will go to any means necessary. My connection to the classic that I alluded to at the beginning of this review? Claire is beset with jealousy and unease with any feelings Byron might have had towards Colleen, who was the starter wife. Claire is living in Colleen's house and enjoys the benefits from the the wealth that Colleen amassed due to her paintings, as well as her years as a college professor. Byron is also a professor, and seems oblivious to any feelings of uncertainty that Claire has. With two unreliable narrators, and with a man like Byron, it was rather hard to feel drawn into the characters and their stories. However, I do think the story was done quite well, especially when a massive twist occurred in the story. I was absolutely riveted from that point on and my jaw simply dropped at the shocking conclusion. I am glad to have read this book by Nina Laurin, even with the absolute crazy characters, and I definitely look forward to reading her books again in the future. Many thanks to Grand Central Publishing and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.
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    Either you get it or you don't

    THE STARTER WIFE is the most difficult book I've ever tried to rate, so I settled for three stars. I think it's one of those books one has to judge for oneself. I don't wish to say much about the plot or it would be all spoilers. I had to scrap almost every note I had written for my review because of the humongous plot twist. One detail had not escaped my notice, I should have put two and two together, and I didn't, so I guess I'm partly to blame, but the exceedingly disagreeable characters distracted me. Most of them were so unlikable, except for Chrissy, Derek, and Sarah Sterns, I read "angry" until almost the very end. It was a satisfying and logical conclusion, I might add. THE STARTER WIFE is, I suppose, the ultimate in unreliable narrators, but I don't believe I had ever read a book where I hated every main character. I guess in the end it was well done, but I didn't enjoy it. If the author hadn't made me hate everyone, it would have been different. I think the fact that it was all written in first person POV contributed to why I disliked the characters and failed to connect with them. I felt I had been manipulated by the author, and not in a good way. I really didn't care about what happened to the characters, but I kept reading because I wanted to know how it ended. Still, it's a miserable feeling when you have no one to like, no one you care for, no one to cheer on throughout an entire book. I've read books about sociopaths and psychopaths where I didn't wish for their swift demise as I did here. The writing itself is excellent, and although there are some inconsistencies and contradictions, there aren't any typos, which is highly commendable. However, I think there was an error in a significant date, the only one written in numbers. I found THE STARTER WIFE an extremely frustrating, confusing, and "feel-bad" book. It was so unpleasant (here's that word again), but I guess it was clever and I wasn't in this case! I will probably read other books by Nina Laurin, because she is very talented.
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    Thriller

    For the most part, I enjoyed reading this book. There were times I thought the book dragged out information to understand the story, but maybe that was being too impatient to know what had happened. The one other thing that bothered me was the way Claire was written. I find when I read a story I feel I have a "bond" if you will with the main character. With Claire, I found I just did not like her. But in the end, it all made perfect sense. I strongly suggest if you haven't read this book, that you do so. It is one heck of a roller coaster ride, and I guarantee whatever assumptions you have while reading this, you'll be proven oh so wrong.
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    Intense suspense

    The Starter Wife by Nina Laurin is my favorite type of mystery: a thriller that you want to re-read so you can pick up on some of the clues you might have missed the first time. Byron Westcott is a college professor whose wife Colleen disappeared years ago. The police suspect she committed suicide but have never recovered her body. Several years later, Byron marries Claire, a budding novelist, who idolizes her husband. Cracks begin to appear in this happy marriage and where this is going you will never guess. The tension builds until the very end. I highly recommend The Starter Wife to all mystery readers who like to be surprised. Thank you to Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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