The Wives by Tarryn Fisher is a new book that I am going to review. In this review, we are going to learn more about this amazing book, including the synopsis and main issues with the story.
The synopsis of The Wives
In the story, you have never met any other wives. Everyone doesn’t know each other and because of this weird arrangement, you can only see your husband once a week. But none of these matters, because you love your husband, well, at least that’s what you want to believe.
But then, something happened one day while you’re doing your laundry. You find a piece of paper in the pocket of your husband’s pants. In the paper is an appointment reminder to meet someone called Hannah. A name that isn’t familiar to you, but you know it’s one of the wives that you haven’t met.
Now you are left with this awful feeling inside your mind that you can’t just shake off. So you’re starting to track her down, and even more, you befriend her to get more information from her. Hannah has no idea at all what you are doing and who you really are. One day, when you are going out with Hannah for some coffee, she is telling you stories about her household.
You find out that Hannah is being abused by her husband. And of course, her husband is also your husband. But this makes things more complicated because you think that your husband is not a violent person at all. So who exactly is your husband? Since when has he married the woman named Hannah? And how far would you go to find the truth? Are you ready to risk everything, even your own life?
Overall, I give The Wives by Tarryn Fisher a rating of 1.5 out of 5. Before we continue, I have to reveal some trigger warnings here. This book contains miscarriage, extreme gaslighting, ableism, domestic abuse, mental health discussion, and anti-trans language. Okay, now that we have gotten those out of the way, I want to start with how slow the book is at the beginning. The narrator, named Thursday, explains a polygamous relationship in which her husband is married to three different women, herself, Regina, and Hannah. And as it turns out, Thursday is the second wife.
As the story progresses, Thursday is starting to learn more and more about her identity around her husband. She feels as if she is being cut off from the world, especially her friends and family, because she can’t tell anyone about her circumstances. She begins to hate her husband and becomes obsessed with the truth.
The first half of the novel is really heart-wrenching. The struggles and emotional damage feel real and can be upsetting. Especially when Thursday’s resentment of her husband gets worse and worse. But despite all that, she still thinks that she can fix everything by being a better wife. I can also see many things that I can relate to, like textbook cheating behaviors, which I am sure many readers would be able to relate to as well.
My main issues with the novel
I have said all the good things about the novel, unfortunately, everything feels different after the first half. I can boil down all the issues into three main parts:
- The novel pits women against women, while the main villain is the husband. The wives are basically conspiring against one another because they think the other wives are at fault.
- It underestimates the impact of abusive relationships.
- The story tells the stereotypical tale of how crazy women can be.
The twist is also a bit weak in my opinion. It turns out that Thursday was never married to Seth, as she was his mistress this whole time. Thursday’s actions also lead her to be institutionalized as Seth found out that she has a mental illness.
It is such a shame that this book misses the mark after the first half. It could be so much more by changing several parts of the story. The story could’ve touched more on emotionally abusive relationships and their impacts. Instead, the story is relying so much on mental illness and even using it to explain everything that is happening to Thursday. It could also explain more about the role of Seth in the grand scheme of things.
That said, I can’t recommend the book to anyone. If you are a victim of an abusive relationship, I don’t think you will like this book at all. Mental illness is a serious issue, and the novel is taking it very lightly here.