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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

His Hidden Wife
by Wendy Clarke
Books On Tour
Review

My thanks go out to Sarah, representing publisher Bookouture, for saving me a place on this lovely ‘Books On Tour’ schedule.

I also need to thank the great NetGalley team, for always making life so easy when downloading review copies.

Image of the Blog Tour banner for the book 'His Hidden Wife' by author Wendy Clarke

HIS HIDDEN WIFE

Cover image of the book 'His Hidden Wife' by author Wendy ClarkeThe first time you see them, out for an evening walk on the cliffs, you’ll think they’re the perfect family. You’ll see a wife who looks so happy, strolling peacefully beside her husband in his dark winter coat, holding her daughter’s hand. But you have no idea what’s really happening in their house…

If you come a little closer you might hear the way the man speaks to his wife.

You might notice that the woman doesn’t have any close friends. That sometimes her husband doesn’t want her to leave the house. You might wonder if that’s a scar her beautiful daughter is hiding on her neck.

When you read the local newspaper and hear the news that the wife has fallen from the cliffs, you’ll question whether it was really an accident at all.

And when the husband starts dating someone new – a woman with the same long dark hair and big blue eyes as his wife – will you say something this time?

Because someone has to protect the little girl and stop history from repeating itself. And it may already be too late.

Cover image of the book 'His Hidden Wife' by author Wendy Clarke

WENDY CLARKE

Alternative image of author Wendy ClarkeWendy Clarke is a bestselling author of psychological thrillers.

After enrolling in an online writing course, she began her career writing short fiction and serials for national women’s magazines. Over three hundred short stories and many published serials later, she progressed to writing novels.

With a degree in psychology, and intrigued with how the human mind can affect behaviour, it was inevitable that Wendy would eventually want to explore her darker side, which she did whilst on holiday in the Lake District.

Wendy lives with her husband and pets in Sussex and when not writing is usually dancing, singing or watching any programme that involves food!

My motto is – “It’s never too late!”

Keep up with all Wendy’s latest news at her website

Follow Wendy on Twitter

Chat with Wendy on Facebook

Cover image of the book 'His Hidden Wife' by author Wendy Clarke

FIRST LINES

PROLOGUE

“The child is lying a few hundred yards from the cliff path, beneath the braced legs of the electricity pylon, her hair spread out, Medusa-like on the long damp grass. The grey school skirt she put on that morning is soiled with mud, and there’s a gaping rip in her grey woollen tights. Over by the scraggly hawthorn bush, one black patent shoe lies upside down, while the other clings stubbornly to her small foot”

CHAPTER ONETERESA

“The door closes with a satisfying click, and after a few seconds, Teresa hears Louise on reception call out goodbye. A deeper voice replies, then there’s the sound of the outside door slamming, and through the partly closed blinds Teresa sees her last client stride down the path to where his car is waiting in the street”

Cover image of the book 'His Hidden Wife' by author Wendy Clarke

MEMORABLE LINES FROM THE BOOK

“She doesn’t want the dark mist to descend on him as it does sometimes when he’s under pressure. Causing him to close the curtains and take to his bed, all offers of food or conversation refused. She doesn’t want to upset him, to force him to relive memories he would rather forget”

.

“You’re only one decision away from a totally different life”

.

“The past is sometimes hidden just under the surface of the present. With help, if you peel that layer away, it can come back to life”

.

“Anger’s not always a bad thing, you know. It’s a tool that helps us to read and respond to upsetting situations. The trick is to express it properly. That’s much healthier than bottling it up”

.

“The past is the past and the present is where she needs to be”

Cover image of the book 'His Hidden Wife' by author Wendy Clarke

REVIEW

“He has kept more than one secret from you”

This book has definitely set the benchmark for creepy and twisted psychological thrillers, for the rest of 2021! – And I’m never ever making an appointment for a consultation with a therapist, that’s for sure! Even travelling to Lyme Regis and Bridport, two of my favourite places on the Jurassic Coast, will never be the same again, especially some of the many clifftop walks I have enjoyed so much in the past!

The opening lines from the prologue set up the backstory; with that same image and physical location being the focal point, which is revisited on several occasions during the course of this engrossing and disturbing storyline; leading to an ending which although consigned to a box in the back of my mind, and that of our main protagonist, still leaves that echo of doubt niggling away, that everything is not quite as cut and dried as we might have been led to believe!

Multi-layered is probably an understatement when it comes to trying to analyse the complexity of the story which opened up before me. I felt a palpable tension in the air as I began reading, with the suspense only intensifying as the storyline unfolded, leaving this a far from relaxing read, as I was continually on edge and needing to turn the pages ever faster! The twists and turns in this multi-faceted plot, just kept coming and there were more than enough red herrings to trip up even the most consummate thriller reader and they did me, constantly. Several times I had the storyline all worked out and straight in my mind; who was fooling who, who might have committed murder, who might be planning murder, who was bad pretending to be good, and who was good but was fooling everyone because they were really only covering their tracks; and every time, with the mere turn of a page, my mind was changed again!

This plot was compellingly and intricately built, lie by lie like the bricks of a child’s construction set, then dismantled piece by piece like a game of Jenga, until that one vital corner was pushed out in error and the whole thing collapsed into an untidy mess. A richly crafted and masterfully written, penetrating insight into the vagaries of the human mind, as witnessed from multiple perspectives, but with no single one of them being any less twisted than the others, until I wasn’t really sure exactly who was fooling who!

Whilst in itself this was not a particularly fast paced story, some mature and  effortlessly skilled narrative and dialogue kept things seamlessly moving along, with the compelling blend and ever shifting sands of multiple duplicitous characters, the never-ending stream of secrets, and game changing event dynamics. There were only ever going to be two losers in this whole sorry affair and unfortunately those were the two young people involved, who both in different ways and with individual outcomes, have had their lives changed, and in Maya’s case completely rewritten, forever.

Talking about characters, which I suppose I must! There was not a particularly big cast of primary characters and although they were well drawn and developed, I found it really difficult to relate to, or engage with, any single one of them, which I suspect, was exactly as the had author intended. Keeping true to the personalities they had each been allocated, they were all far too complex and ‘needy’ to have any synergy going on between them. Add to that the many layers of facade, lies, deceit, secrets, selfishness, guilt, vindictiveness and vengeful thoughts, they all seemed to be harbouring, one against another, and you can see why I found none of them particularly likeable or investable!

There really are no winners in this story! – “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”

Image of author Wendy Clarke

A complimentary download of this book for review purposes, was made available by Bookouture and supplied by NetGalley

Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article which promotes this book or its author.

I personally do not agree with ‘rating’ a book, as the overall experience is all a matter of personal taste, which varies from reader to reader. However some review sites do demand a rating value, so when this review is posted to such a site, it will attract a well deserved 4 out of 5 stars!

 

Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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12 comments
  • Goodness me, Yvonne, this sounds powerful and intense and I can just imagine you reading, continually on edge. I’ve read books like that and you almost hold your breath all the way through wondering what awful thing will happen next, or what secret is going to be revealed turning everything you thought you knew on its head. I don’t think this is for me but I did enjoy reading your review very much.

    Any news of a vaccine for you or your husband? Peter gets his on Saturday, very relieved.

    • Hi Cath,

      This one really was twisted, both the plot and the characters, and I managed to finish it in just over a day, as I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. I’m still not sure that the whole truth was ever really revealed, but I think that’s pretty much how some of the characters were left feeling as well!

      I’m sure I have a couple of Wendy’s earlier books on my Kindle, so I shall be digging those out very soon and scheduling them in to be read/reviewed, I really like her style of writing!

      Dave had a phone call from our surgery last Friday afternoon, asking him to go down on Saturday afternoon, so he has already had his first jab, although it was only the Oxford one! He had mild flu like symptoms on the Sunday which wiped him out and his arm did swell a little, but all’s well now.

      I’m way down in group 6, so it will be a while before it’s my turn! Mind you, we don’t have any intention of mixing until we have both had the second dose and knowing just how stupid everyone is going to be when lockdown eases, neither of us are really fussed to be honest!

      Good Luck to Peter for Saturday, is he managing to go locally, or do you have to travel? You must be in group 5, so you shouldn’t be too far behind with your own jab 🙂

      I am actually reading a book now which is every bit as mind-bending, if not more so in some ways, so watch out for that review next week! (‘The Package’ by Sebastian Fitzek)

      Stay Safe 🙂

  • I love the cover of the book. I know it should make no difference, but it’s one I would like up in a bookshop or a library to check it out. It’s lovely to hear that the story is amazing too. 🙂

    • It’s great to hear that your husband got the vaccine. I am looking forward to getting one and I hope it will the Oxford one (I would say, wouldn’t I?!). It’s very likely that I will be in the last group, the now-that-we-finished-everybody-else category, unless JCVI wants to split that into age groups.

      • Yes! We were surprised that he got called forward quite so soon, as his is not a ‘shielded’ condition and he is only 62, but I think our surgery is all over the vaccinations and bang up to date, which is good.

        I am the same age, but without health conditions in group 6, so I guess I still have a bit of a wait yet, which is fine by me as I am totally needle phobic!

        Don’t take the comment I made to Cath about the Oxford vaccine, the wrong way. I am all in favour of it, but it’s just a shame that as soon as Dave gets the pumped full of it, they decide it’s probably not much good against the SA variant!!

        Still, nothing is going to be 100% protection against everything, just like the ‘flu jab! 🙂

    • Hi Anca,

      I do try not to be a ‘cover snob’, however that is getting to be more and more difficult, as the standard of the artwork seems to improve month by month! Plus the fact that with self-publishing and e-books becoming more prevalent, the choice of new titles available is increasing exponentially, so sometimes a cover that ‘hits you in the face’ so to speak, is going to be what separates the book I would pass by and the one I would buy!

      I am pleased that this one caught my eye though, as I would be kicking myself if I had passed up the chance to read such a psychologically challenging storyline, where no-one is quite who they seem to be!!

      Thanks for stopping by, I do love some good ‘book chat’

  • Yvonne, I need to stop reading your reviews because you get me every time! Adding yet another title to my extremely long TBR list. Great review!

    • Oh Dear! I am so sorry about the TBR pile (do I sound sorry 🙂 )- just close your eyes to the mountain like the rest of us! 🙂

      I thought that this brilliant book would be difficult to top so early in the year, but boy was I wrong. You’ll be pleased to know (or maybe not 🙂 )that the book I am reading now is just as mind-bending, if not more so.

      There are just too many good books around, and I want to read them all!

      Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words about my review, I always appreciate your support and I hope that all is well with you 🙂

  • Although this one sounds really good, I’m not sure I’m ready to add it to my already overflowing TBR pile. I have a feeling some of the characters might really irritate me…

    Glad it was a good one for you!

    • Hi Kelly

      Oh Dear! If you don’t like really irritating, annoying and often downright dislikeable characters, then this probably isn’t one for you, which at least is not adding the burden of your overflowing TBR pile.

      Wendy did such a good job of creating a multi faceted, disparate cast of characters, that at times I could feel myself wanting to physically reach out, grab them off the pages and give them a darned good dressing down, for being such liars and cheats, even though I loved every page-turning minute of it!

      Mind you, if I realised I had been on the receiving end of their duplicitous ways, I definitely wouldn’t have been too chuffed 🙂

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, even though you might have decided that this wasn’t one for you, it’s just good to be able to chat about all things bookish and you are always good at lending your ear to my ramblings 🙂

    • Hi Wendy,

      You are very welcome, I really enjoy a good psychological thriller, especially if I can relate directly to either the author, or the location of the story and the Lyme Regis/ Bridport area, is one of my favourite places, so I felt right at home!

      Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by, I really appreciate your support 🙂

Written by Yvonne

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