book review

Book Review: The Wife by Shalini Boland #audiobook

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Title: The Wife
Author: Shalini Boland
Publisher: Hachette UK – Bookouture
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Format Read: Audiobook
Audio Hours: 8hr and 5mins
Narrated by:
Katie Villa

Plot Outline: Zoe fainted on her wedding day, and she never knew why. She’s always felt sure something bad happened. Ten years later, she’s going to find out what…

It was supposed to be the happiest day of her life. Zoe was sitting in her hotel room, in her perfect white dress, looking forward to the moment when she would make kind, handsome Toby her husband.

Then, there was a blank.

They said she must have fainted, overcome with emotion. But nothing felt quite right afterwards. Did something happen in that missing time?

Now, Toby and Zoe have two beautiful children and a perfect life. They’re planning their ten-year anniversary party for their family and friends. The invitations have been sent, the food ordered. They’re going back to the grand hotel where they got married.

But as the anniversary gets closer, it becomes clear not everyone is looking forward to celebrating. Zoe catches Toby lying about where he’s been. One of her best friends seems to be ignoring her. And someone is spreading stories that might stop the party from happening at all.

Zoe is increasingly sure that she doesn’t have the full story. But does she want to know the truth, if it will destroy everything?

From the million-copy bestselling author, this totally gripping psychological thriller will have you hooked from the first page to the last jaw-dropping twist. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the TrainGone Girl and The Wife Between Us.

Rating/Recommend:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Review: My gosh what a book! I have been listening to this book over the past week as I commute to and from work. I went into this book not knowing what to expect but open minded.

*Please be mindful when reading this review, that there are spoilers.*

The first chapter starts with Zoe on her wedding day, waking up from having passed out, with her future husband Toby, her to be mother-in-law Cecilia, her future brother-in-law Nick and her to be father-in-law Malcom, standing around her with worried looks upon their faces. Zoe had hit her head as she had fainted and had no idea about what had happened before she woke up for that day. When Zoe used to look back upon her wedding day, there was always a haze or fog surrounding the day. It is quite clear from how the book starts to progress, that the whole story was going to be based upon what had happened at the wedding… but why?

Moving forward ten years, we hear about how Zoe and Toby have set up a lovely house together with two children, and are planning their ten year anniversary party at the same hotel in which they got married in. However, it becomes clear there are some things going on behind the scenes that the reader it not meant to know about. When Zoe’s sister-in-law, Maddie starts ignoring, and snubbing Zoe, Zoe gets the feeling that there is a reason because of this. When I was listening to this part, I was convinced that Toby (Zoe’s husband) was having an affair with Maddie (the sister-in-law) and that there had been a tuff between these two that Maddie was now taking it out on Zoe… But oh no, that was not the case.

The same happened to some of the friends from the school, Zoe’s daughter was not invited to one of her friends party as the friends mom was also ignoring Zoe and hanging around with Maddie. To top things off, Zoe (while sitting on her bench dedicated to her deceased mom) saw Maddie leaving Zoe’s house with Toby!!!! With all this going on, and having no idea of why this was going on, Zoe was also seeing a woman around town that reminded her of her sister, Dana.

One thing I really liked about this book, was that each chapter was dedicated to a ‘time period’, whether that was ‘now’ (the present), ‘then’ (sometime in the past), or ‘ten years ago’. So each time you were getting some more information to figure out the plot of this book, you were taken to another ‘time period’ where you would find more information out and be totally unaware of what is actually going on. For instance, as we were hearing that Dana was being ‘seen’ around town, there were chapters were we got to hear about Zoe finding out she was pregnant and wanting to tell her sister, but couldn’t as no body had seen or heard from her in months and also how Dana wasn’t keen on being invited to the wedding. From hearing bits and pieces from the past, I was able to get a rounded view of what could have happened. But I had no idea why this would have been linked to Zoe’s wedding day.

You can imagine that all this so far, can lead anyone to believe that Zoe was going a bit crazy. I did. I totally thought that this was going on so that Toby could have grounds for divorce and have fall custody of the children. Until Chapter 26 came my way.

We finally find out why Maddie is snubbing Zoe – From how drunk Maddie got at the anniversary party, Maddie let slip to Zoe that Toby had told Maddie that Zoe was having an affair!!! I KNOW. WHY?! From the narrative in the book, we know as the reader that Zoe hadn’t had an affair. After questioning Maddie some more, Zoe founds out that Toby asked Maddie to come to their house to tell her about the fact that Zoe was having an affair. But to make it more confusing apparently Maddie’s husband, Nick was taking this infidelity so bad that he was becoming poorly and was losing a load of weight. Stay with me, I know this sounds crazy! To get to the bottom of all this, Zoe rings Toby and Nick to come up to their hotel toom to discuss what happened, this is when Toby tells Zoe that he covered for her by lying about the affair to Maddie, because the truth was that she killed Dana (her sister) on their wedding day.

By this point of the book ladies and gents, I had arrived to work, and didn’t have any spare time until I drove home to listen to the rest. Throughout the day, I was planning and plot on how the book would end; who is the murderer? Was Toby telling the truth? What’s the deal with Nick?! And I was also questioning the mother-in-law, as she seemed to always be around when things when down, if you get my jest! I love how Shalini managed to absolutely blow me away with her words. My GOD! I am on the edge of my seat right now, reliving these moments from the book all over again and I am loving it!

It turned out, that Zoe’s sister Dana had turned up to the wedding claiming that she was having an affair with Toby, who then went on a search for him. Whilst Dana was banging on every door, Zoe was trying to find out what was going on, when Toby opened the door and was horrified to see them both. When questioned about the affair, Toby ended up losing his calm pose and strangled Dana to death, all the while Zoe was screaming for help. When Zoe had fell and hit her head when passing out, it was best cover up, as she didn’t remember what had happened and life for Toby could go back to normal. Only one problem … Zoe was starting to remember. This was when things really hit the fan!

The end of the book lead to Celia (the mother-in-law) drugging Zoe in order to murder her in such a way that it comes across as a suicide. I know! I was literally telling my phone to hurry up and tell me what was going to happen next; Toby cannot get anyway with this!! And I knew that Celia woman was no good! Luckily, just at the right moment, Zoe’s dad enters the hotel room and save Zoe. Toby and his family end up in prison.

The epilogue – Celia ponders in her ceil in prison; it seems as though she is holding a grudge, could there be a second book where Celia comes back for revenge? Shalini, if you are reading this ….. YES PLEASE!

Overall, this was a fantastic book to listen too. It has been a while since a book has held and caught me attention this much that I was totally blown away and wrong about the story line. Absolutely fantastic! Highly recommend!

About The Author:

Shalini Boland is the million-copy, USA-Today bestselling author of psychological thrillers: ‘THE GIRL FROM THE SEA’, ‘THE BEST FRIEND’, ‘THE MILLIONAIRE’S WIFE’ (optioned for TV by Legendary Studios), ‘THE SECRET MOTHER’, ‘THE CHILD NEXT DOOR’, ‘THE SILENT SISTER’, ‘THE PERFECT FAMILY’, ‘THE MARRIAGE BETRAYAL’, ‘THE OTHER DAUGHTER’ and ‘ONE OF US IS LYING’.

THE WIFE is out now!

Her titles are published by Bookouture, Grand Central (USA) and Tantor.

Shalini lives by the sea in Dorset, England with her husband, two children and their cheeky terrier cross. Before kids, she was signed to Universal Music Publishing as a singer/songwriter, but now she spends her days writing psychological thrillers (in between school runs and endless baskets of laundry).

She is also the author of two bestselling Young Adult series as well as a children’s WWII novel with a time-travel twist.

Happy Reading, x

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