Book Review: The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton
I read and reviewed Karen Hamilton’s debut novel THE PERFECT GIRLFRIEND a couple of years ago, and I absolutely LOVED it. She pulled off a great story with a narrator who was technically completely reliable and yet also utterly unhinged. So when I got the opportunity to review THE LAST WIFE, I grabbed it up.
In a lot of ways, Marie, the first-person narrator of this book, is somewhat similar to Juliette from The Perfect Girlfriend. She starts out the book seeming kind and normal, quite a sympathetic figure as she has just lost her best friend Nina to cancer and is desperate to help Nina’s widower and children, all while trying to salvage her own relationship with Ben and get pregnant. It slowly starts to become apparent that Marie is on the co-dependent side, but I never thought she was a bad person. What I did conclude, though, is that pretty much everyone over the age of 18 in this story was morally grey at best, and Marie got sucked into it herself when she couldn’t stop asking questions.
The issue I had was that the stakes never seemed to get that high. The only danger to Marie happened when she put herself in a risky situation, something which always makes me impatient when supposedly smart people do because it’s just dumb and unnecessary. Unlike Juliette from The Perfect Girlfriend, who was so rivetingly psychotic I couldn’t look away, I ended the book with something of a ‘meh’ feeling because I didn’t really care enough about Marie either way. Three stars.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.