I TAKE THEE: Five Favorites with “Wife” in the Title
For better or for worse, for richer or poorer… that’s how it’s supposed to go. Only it’s not always how it turns out in the long run. When soulmates often find themselves drifting apart and the most reliable spouse can turn out to be an inveterate cheater, who dares to even try to get married in the first place? Sometimes, though, things go completely off the rails, taking irreconcilable differences to a new level. Dirty John, The Staircase—true stories of marital horrors abound. And it leaves us wondering: where is the wife in all this?
The books with WIFE in the title are the latest iteration of a beloved titling trope in psychological suspense. These fictional wives are as different from one another as can be, and their stories will make you turn and look at the person next to you on the couch, wondering who the hell have I married?
- How to Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman
Marta and Hector have been together for longer than Marta can remember—literally. As far as she knows, she’s always been married to Hector. Their son has grown up and is now away at college, and Marta slowly starts to slide into madness, consumed by visions of a strange girl. The title comes from a book given to Marta as a young bride by Hector’s cold, controlling mother. And if that sounds a little eerie, you must read to see where this book goes.
- The Pocket Wife by Susan Crawford
Dana is a housewife suffering from bipolar disorder, which has been getting out of hand lately. She does outrageous things and is later left with nothing but black holes in her memory. Then she learns she was the last to see her neighbor alive… and has no choice but to wonder if she had something to do with her murder. It’s a beautifully written and subtle exploration of mental illness and marriage, as well as an excellent psychological thriller.
- The Twilight Wife by A. J. Banner
Kyra is a marine biologist who hit her head and now has significant memory loss. She relies on photographs and the words of everyone around her. but soon, her damaged memory starts to play tricks on her—or does it? Banner uses an intriguing island setting and a new twist on the memory loss trope to bring this thriller to life with a wealth of psychological detail.
- My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing
This recent release has been compared to Dexter, and rightly so. Although for me, it brings to mind a certain real-life murderous couple—but no spoilers! There’s no whodunnit to speak of, since we know who the villains are right off the bat. The big question is whether they get caught. And will they get away with it and ride off into the sunset? The answers are surprising.
- The Wife by Alafair Burke
This one reads like it’s ripped from the headlines, in a good way. Angela’s husband Jason is accused of sexual assault in a high-profile case, and it goes from bad to worse: a second accuser comes forward and then turns up dead. Meanwhile, Angela must decide whether to stand by her husband, even if it means taking the risk of exposing her own dark past. This is one of those books where the prose lives up to the nail-biting premise. A book not to be missed!