I’m going to be honest right up front. I picked this novel for our book club strictly for the author. I read Susan Crawford’s debut novel, The Pocket Wife, on vacation a couple years ago. It was a fast-paced psychological thriller; something I craved after the massive popularity of Gone Girl. So, I was not expecting her next novel to be a slow, layered, character study of women and the impact of deception in their lives. It’s almost as if she got too caught up in the character development and didn’t take the time to put together a satisfying plot.
The premise of The Other Widow seems like it could work. It begins with a tragic accident in which three women are individually affected and presented their perspectives in alternating points of view. Then, she threw in a little mystery to bring these three women together. It was disjointed, in my opinion. I had to keep going back to reread certain parts to clear up my confusion about the story. There are so many secondary characters and situations that detracted from the main plot. In the end, I still had unresolved questions.
My book club group agreed that there was just too much going on. We would have liked to see less red herrings and more focus on the central characters. It was difficult keeping all the clues straight, only to find that the clues weren’t important to the story at all. I was actually quite frustrated by that at the end of the book.
I think her writing is good, don’t get me wrong. I just thought maybe this shouldn’t have been marketed as a thriller. To me, it would have been better to market this as a “women’s fiction” about the psychological impacts of grief, deception, infidelity, and obsession. It wasn’t fast-paced enough to be considered a thriller.
One interesting thing about this book is that there are 3 different fonts used; one for each woman’s point of view. I thought it was a nice way to emphasize their individual personalities.
I probably won’t be recommending this one to anyone. If you want to read a good thriller, pick up her first novel, The Pocket Wife. (Come to think of it, why didn’t I just pick that one for the book club?)
Goodreads rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Our wine selection for this meeting was appropriately named “Tall Dark Stranger” to tie in with the mysterious man following our protagonist. It was a delicious Malbec from Argentina which I will definitely be buying again! You can find it at Target.