Back in the spring, St Martin’s Press was kind enough to send a lovely finished hardcover of The Younger Wife my way! At that time I had done some introductory hype of the book, and then it somehow got mixed in with my general shelves and lost to time and memory 😭
Until now that is! Upon realizing I had never read it, I picked the book up and flew through it this week. While The Younger Wife doesn’t fit in with my GrimDarkTober reading exactly, Hepworth is a master of domestic & psychological suspense, a different kind of horror that many women experience in their lives…
Bookish Quick Facts:
- Title: The Younger Wife
- Author: Sally Hepworth
- Publisher & Release: St Martin’s Press, April 2022
- Length: 352 pages
- Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐✨ for fans of domestic suspense
Here’s the synopsis:
A heart surgeon at the top of his field, Stephen Aston is getting married again. But first he must divorce his current wife, even though she can no longer speak for herself.
Tully and Rachel Aston look upon their father’s fiancée, Heather, as nothing but an interloper. Heather is younger than both of them. Clearly, she’s after their father’s money.
THE FORMER WIFE
With their mother in a precarious position, Tully and Rachel are determined to get to the
truth about their family’s secrets, the new wife closing in, and who their father really is.
THE YOUNGER WIFE
Heather has secrets of her own. Will getting to the truth unleash the most dangerous impulses in all of them?
I used to love domestic suspense books and have somehow never read this author before. True that I mostly avoid the genre these days as I am finding them harder to read, but occasionally I like to check out the big hyped books of the year too.
The Younger Wife begins at the end of the story, with the big wedding. Someone is injured but we don’t know who, or who did it, or why yet. The book itself then takes us through the prior year or so, from the multiple perspectives of Stephen’s two daughters and his new wife.
It’s impossible to say anything else about the book without creating spoilers, so I’ll just say that I did like this one. Many books in this genre are notorious for going back into the past and giving 30 thousand boring details that no one cares about, which thankfully Hepworth didn’t do. She keeps the background blessedly relevant to the present story and shared just enough to drop some hints and make me care about the characters.
I did like the characters too. None of them were really what I expected after the first few pages and I didn’t dislike any of the points of view, although I didn’t have a clear favorite either.
On that note, the reason I didn’t rate the book higher was because the third person omniscient view didn’t hit home. It’s usually one of my favorite styles but in this case it kept me a bit too detached from three very personal stories. There are also two “I perspectives” that come at the beginning and end, but those are secrets.
It’s sometimes hard for me to read about domestic abuse and gaslighting, which may or may not have something to do with some of the family secrets alluded to in the synopsis. Each member of the family had their own issues as adults – but where did they all come from? What exactly happened to that perfect looking family which is now in such disarray as adults? And really, why is the father marrying someone in her early 30s?
Overall: I enjoyed reading to find out these answers. It was a fast read and created a lot of tension and mystery throughout. I was worried for some of the characters. If you like domestic & psychological suspense, I would recommend giving The Younger Wife a chance!