Thank you so much to Harper Books and GoodReads for the giveaway win of The Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine!
Here is the description from GoodReads:
Breezing into the tony seaside paradise of Westport, Connecticut, gorgeous thirtysomething Piper Reynard sets down roots, opening a rehab and wellness space and joining a local yacht club. When she meets Leo Drakos, a handsome, successful lawyer, the wedding ring on his finger is the only thing she doesn’t like about him. Yet as Piper well knows, no marriage is permanent.
Meanwhile, Joanna has been waiting patiently for Leo, the charismatic man she fell in love with all those years ago, to re-emerge from the severe depression that has engulfed him. Though she’s thankful when Leo returns to his charming, energetic self, paying attention again to Evie and Stelli, the children they both love beyond measure, Joanna is shocked to discover that it’s not her loving support that’s sparked his renewed happiness—it’s something else.
Piper. Leo has fallen head over heels for the flaky, New Age-y newcomer, and unrepentant and resolute, he’s more than willing to leave Joanna behind, along with everything they’ve built. Of course, he assures her, she can still see the children.
Joanna is devastated—and determined to find something, anything, to use against this woman who has stolen her life and her true love. As she digs deeper into Piper’s past, Joanna begins to unearth disturbing secrets . . . but when she confides to her therapist that she fears for the lives of her ex-husband and children, her concerns are dismissed as paranoia. Can she find the proof she needs in time to save them?
The Constantine sisters are back with another psychological thriller! Joanna is aggressively forced out of her family life by Leo’s new love interest, Piper, who has a shady if not murderous past. Joanna will do anything to protect her children from this monster, and the story unfolds. I think the jacket description of the book is way too wordy, it would have thrown me off of the book if I wasn’t familiar with the author duo. If it sounds flaky just give the book a chance anyway!
The characters are likeable enough. I love big Greek families and it was fun to see Leo’s interact a little bit. Joanna seems like a dedicated enough parent, Piper seems crazy and entirely insensitive, and what is going on with Leo? He seems like a total ass with how he treats Joanna. Leo’s kids are fun too, they seem realistic for their ages and I enjoyed reading Stelli’s antics. Evie’s love for books and Nancy Drew is something I can all relate to! Joanna carries the first person POV, which alternates with Piper’s chapters told in the third person.
Some parts of the book do feel like “too much” even after all the facts. There is no way someone would get a child abuse citation just for swatting a kid’s butt. People are so crazy (but that’s the point of the book)! I found myself thinking back on the Joanna butt-swat episode and I think it’s supposed to reflect back on Piper, who is the one supposedly hurting at least one of the kids. The whole thing feels extremely unfair to Joanna.
This entire book lives for the twist. I was a little dumbfounded and confused until it hit me that … no spoilers but let me just scream UNRELIABLE NARRATORS at you!! They are my favorite psychological thriller trope and the last couple chapters, especially the last sentence of the book, had me shell shocked!
I read the entire book in two days then went back and re-read some parts to see if I missed any obvious clues. The twist & reveal were sudden but well done, and the answers aren’t necessarily given so I got to make my own conclusions at the end. I kept looking for redeeming characteristics for certain characters and really just…well… the character changes at the end were just too little too late for me. I’d love to discuss my conclusions with anyone that’s read it. I appreciate the open ending though and wish those children the best!
There isn’t much to have a OneReadingNurse Medical Rant about. The only bit that shocked me was… so the father is going to freak out over a slight fever (not really a fever) but not be concerned when everyone says Stelli looks pale? When he’s constantly complaining of stomach aches? Wouldn’t Leo start suspecting something? It could have been a false lead in the book (I honestly don’t know) but I imagine Stelli’s complaints would have been taken more seriously especially since Leo knew Piper had started dosing him with something “natural,” and Leo said multiple times that the kid was a trouper and only complained when things got really bad.
Anyway anyway, I enjoyed the book quite a bit. The Wife Stalker reads quickly and I think it is a great summertime novel for anyone who enjoys psychological thrillers.
Thank you again to Harper Books for the giveaway ARC in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own.