Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Silent Wife by A. S. A. Harrison

I mentioned The Silent Wife the other day on my list of 2013 titles I'd wanted to get to before the year was out, saying that I'd actually started the book the night before posting the blog. I can now cross it off my list but I have to admit that this is one that didn't totally go over well for me.

Jodi and Todd have been together for decades. She supports him wholly even going so far as to look the other way when he strays. In the end she knows that he will always return to her. Their relationship survives by unspoken agreement - transgressions will not be spoken of. And Jodi gets her revenge in small ways. For Todd, Jodi is his rock. She's dependable and solid. But when one of Todd's affairs goes too far, Jodi is pushed to the brink.

A. S. A. Harrison has written a book that really took a lot of out of me in the reading. My emotional response to this was pretty off the charts. One could say that the author has succeeded then in drawing me in and eliciting such a reaction, but it wasn't pleasant. I don't think I can say I enjoyed the majority of The Silent Wife.

The writing is wonderful and Jodi and Todd are perfectly built. I found them both so dislikable that I would go so far as to say their behavior is reprehensible. Yes, I know readers are comparing this to Gone Girl and I loved Flynn's latest. In fact, as dislikable as the characters truly are in Flynn's release, I would actually say that I had moments of liking them. They were agreeable at times even when the reader knows they're untrustworthy. Here, though, Jodi and Todd both drive me batty! Her sitting by and watching as he continues to manipulate and take her for granted and his almost simpering way of praising her all the while rationalizing his behavior towards her.

To discuss much more in terms of the specifics would give away the story but suffice it to say that while The Silent Wife is worthy of all of its praise and I would very much have loved to see more from Harrison, who sadly passed away this year, it wasn't until the final third of the book that I felt like it was really paying off. Anyone who has read it can probably figure out the exact turning point for me and it was kind of the book's saving grace. I was all set to really dislike this one completely until that point in the story.

I'd recommend this one to readers who aren't afraid to dive into a book with the kind of characters I've summed Jodi and Todd up to be and fans of twisted psychological suspense.

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