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Ratings and Book Reviews (8 28 star ratings
8 reviews
)

Overall rating

4.2 out of 5
28
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    This book didn't grab my attention.

    I was excited to read this book but struggled to enjoy it. I was waiting for the story to pick up. The story wasn't as gripping as I thought it would be.
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    Excellent Debut

    The blurb on this really had me interested and the complexity of the relationship between husband and wife was in no way understated on it. It’s a very compelling read with fascinating characters however it wasn’t until at least three quarters through when it hotted up and then it really had me wanting more. It’s really well told from the husbands viewpoint and very chilling. A really good debut novel. Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this
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    Quite disappointing

    An ordinary married couple who live in Florida with their two teenage daughters but they are hiding a dark secret. Starting with Millicent's sister, they begin a spree of kidnap, torturing and murdering women for no apparent reason. Lots of twists and turns throughout. The story is very predictable which lacks continuity in places. The plot has quite a few holes and the two main characters have no substance to convince the reader that they are capable of their actions. Quite disappointed
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    Gripping

    Millicent and her husband are a team in everything they do – whether that’s buying all organic food at the supermarket, going to gala nights with their upmarket housing community or luring and killing women together… My Lovely Wife is an absolute rollercoaster of a read and one I really enjoyed from beginning to end. I enjoyed the way that Samantha Downing keeps the book completely in the narrative of the husband, and it is only now in writing this review I realise that his real name is never mentioned! I have read a few similar books before that have split narrative perspective over two or more characters, but you then tend to get a more watered-down version of the characters and the plot becomes a little too predictable for it. The husband is a great narrator and the story has a great pace, keeping up the shocks and the twists and turns but never in a way that felt too unrealistic. there are also flashbacks woven in the narrative about parts of the relationship between husband and wife which gave backstory and motive for the events unfolding in the present. I liked the inclusion of the way that the murders impacted everyone in the family, in ways that the couple did not expect. I liked the way that you never got the explicit details of the crime and were left to wonder about them in the same way the husband was. The ending itself was a bit of a shock twist but one that I really enjoyed - it is a refreshing change from a few thrillers I have read recently where the ending is only drawn up for shock value and goes against the plot as a whole. I’m very impressed that this is a debut novel and will certainly look out for other books from Samantha Downing in future. Overall My Lovely Wife is a rollercoaster read full of twists and turns that will leave you hooked. Thank you to NetGalley & Penguin UK – Michael Joseph for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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    Some new twists in the serial-killer genre

    This is a crime novel with some quite distinctive twists on the serial-killer theme. Firstly, this is no lone male, between the ages of twenty-five and fifty, living with his mother with no past meaningful relationships – so beloved of FBI profilers. This is a (supposedly) happily married couple, with teenage children, whom they (supposedly) love – who just happen to get thrills from killing women. The second twist is that the narrator is the serial-killer husband, and the whole story is from his point of view, and not that of the investigating police or a journalist. You may consider that there are similarities to the Dexter books (or TV series) by Jeff Lindsay. But Dexter is driven to kill, knows this is wrong, and makes a conscious decision to only kill criminals who might otherwise escape justice – always sticking to Harry’s code. The killers in this book, kill because it excites them. Their victims are ‘innocents’, who just happen to be available, and have no family or close friends to get in the way. The first murder, they justify as self-defence, the second as necessary to cover up the first – and then they actively pursue their next victims. I found the husband (narrator) quite weak-willed and amoral (well, obviously!). He idolises Millicent, and will do ANYTHING to keep her happy – including stalking other women, and then delivering the victims to her. He is terrified of losing Millicent, and never questions her. She is his reason for living: “I wasn’t average then, wasn’t a disappointment to anyone but my parents. I was better than everyone else, right up until I wasn’t. Then I didn’t know how to be average anymore, so I went overseas, away from my parents, in search of a place where I could be better than average, better than a disappointment. With Millicent, I am”. Yet, he sleeps with one of his intended victims – and wisely keeps this from Millicent. I had Millicent down as a full-blown psychopath from soon after she was introduced. She was controlling, manipulative, and quite terrifying in her outwardly normal appearance. When you get to know Millicent, you have to wonder how many more female psychopaths are actually out there. You would like to put her twisted nature down to the torture she suffered at her sister’s hands as a child – but really, that is no excuse. The husband (we do not know his name) never shows any remorse for the deaths he has had a part in. Once a victim has been chosen, they lose their humanity and become meat for slaughter. Before the final choice, though, they may have a chance: “I want to know if I like her, dislike her, or feel nothing for her. But I won’t. I cannot take the chance that something will make me want to let her live.” When Millicent has the ‘brilliant’ idea of resurrecting a serial killer from the past, on whom to blame all their murders, things start to go wrong. “This is what living with Millicent has always been like. Life goes along like it’s supposed to, an occasional bump in the road but otherwise a fairly smooth ride. And then suddenly the ground opens into a chasm wide enough to swallow everything. Sometimes, what’s inside is good, even great; sometimes not.” Before this, there were no adverse consequences (the pain and suffering of the victims and their families does not count), but now the repercussions are directly affecting their children (Rory and Jenna) and friends: “I did not realize how Owen Oliver would affect our kids. **** and **** never had this kind of publicity. Now, they have been talking about Owen for weeks. Jenna may talk about ***** forever.” Even though the children have no idea what their parents are getting up to, their personalities start to change – and we may have new psychopaths in the making: “She looked just like Millicent did when she *********. What I found sexy in my wife was horrifying in my daughter.” Things come to a head – and there is a major twist in proceedings. I did not exactly guess that twist, but it did not surprise me. Then, hard on its heels, a much bigger, bolder twist leading to a final showdown. I found the epilogue too neat and tidy, and rather unbelievable. Throughout the book I had been debating whether to award it 4 or 5 stars – and the epilogue nearly crashed it down to 3 stars. Then came the final sentence – and I had to re-evaluate all my previous suppositions. Had I really understood any of the characters at all? This book is a good read – a bit slow in places – but ultimately satisfying. You may never look at a blind man the same way again. I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
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