WAR OF THE WIVES by Tamar Cohen


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A man's secret lives are unveiled at his funeral, and his two shocked and grieving families are left to discover the truth from many years of lies.

Selina Busfield is a prim and superficial woman in her early 50s. With three children and a 28-year marriage to Simon, she seems to have a perfect and affluent life. Lottie Busfield, an aspiring artist in her late 30s, has been married to Simon for 17 years and lives an unconventional and happy life in a tiny apartment with her husband and teenage daughter. Splitting his time between Dubai and London, Simon was able to conceal his deceit by having long stretches of time away from both families built into his work schedule. While Selina and Simon lived in suburban London, Lottie and Simon, for much of their marriage, lived in Dubai. This fragile dual life collapses suddenly when Simon's body is found floating in the Thames. Selina initially responds with disbelief, since as far as she knew, he was supposed to be in Dubai. Lottie's discovery of Simon's death comes secondhand when one of Simon's former colleagues calls to offer his condolences. The story takes off once the two families meet, and the plot is strung together by a series of breathless questions. Did Simon commit suicide or was he murdered? How have his assets been divided? Was he involved with a criminal element? Selina and Lottie struggle through the aftermath of his death and realize that in addition to everything else, they're linked financially as well: Simon has mortgaged Selina's home to pay for Lottie's. The novel is narrated by the two wives, often swapping quite abruptly to see two perspectives on a single event.

While the topic is certainly compelling, Cohen (The Broken, 2014, etc.) spends too much time examining convoluted plot threads and not enough time building convincing characters.

Pub Date: Jan. 27th, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-7783-1748-7
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2014


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