From the bestselling author of The Marriage Lie and Three Days Missing comes a riveting new novel of suspense about a woman who, in a fight for survival, must decide just how far she'll go to escape the person she once loved
Beth Murphy is on the run...
For nearly a year, Beth has been planning for this day. A day some people might call any other Wednesday, but Beth prefers to see it as her new beginning--one with a new look, new name and new city. Beth has given her plan significant thought, because one small slip and her violent husband will find her.
Sabine Hardison is missing...
A couple hundred miles away, Jeffrey returns home from a work trip to find his wife, Sabine, is missing. Wherever she is, she's taken almost nothing with her. Her abandoned car is the only evidence the police have, and all signs point to foul play.
As the police search for leads, the case becomes more and more convoluted. Sabine's carefully laid plans for her future indicate trouble at home, and a husband who would be better off with her gone. The detective on the case will stop at nothing to find out what happened and bring this missing woman home. Where is Sabine? And who is Beth? The only thing that's certain is that someone is lying and the truth won't stay buried for long.
Kimberly Belle is the USA Today and internationally bestselling author of eight novels, including The Personal Assistant, The Marriage Lie, a Goodreads Choice Awards semifinalist for Best Mystery & Thriller, and the co-authored #1 Audible Original, Young Rich Widows. Her books have been published in some 20+ languages and have been optioned for film and television.
4.25 I cannot put it down, it is glued to my hands, imprinted on my mind, this book is sooo good stars!!!
It was one of the most enjoyable time I`ve had by reading this fast-paced , mind-bending, gripping, fascinating book. You know the feeling, you had work to do but you want to grip your book and read it in one night! Unfortunately you have obligations but in the meantime you cannot concentrate on your work because your mind is stuck on the book’s story, you ask yourself “what’s gonna happen next?”,” Whodunit oh dammit” kind of frustrating questions! Yeap, that what I felt because I had to finish it in 2 nights!!!
The story is told through 3 POVs.
Jeffrey, is a prime suspect of his wife Sabine’s disappearance! They have marriage issues. They can’t have children. Jeffrey has hard times to financially support them. They had fight. She pushed him and he slapped him. They were estranged for a long time. And guess what, Sabine had a relationship with a doctor and she was about to talk to him she wanted divorce before she disappeared. So Jeffrey really needs a lawyer!!!
Marcus is police officer who investigates Sabine’s disappearance. He thinks she’s dead! She tries to nail the husband. He seems like a good guy, having a great connection with children, so doing a good job to find the leads about the investigation.
And Beth, runaway, abused wife, changing her appearance, getting a fake ID and moving to another city for fresh start, suffering from nightmares because of things her husband did to her. She was agitated, tense, waiting for the shoe drop and somebody could find out her secret.
As we continue to flip the pages, learn more about the characters ,we realize nothing is as it seems. The good characters may be the evils, the worst ones may have some noble, live saving purposes, the weakest one may be the wicked and smartest one! Because our three characters aren’t telling the whole truth about themselves!!! Get ready for twists, `Oh Nooo!`, `WTH`, `Really!`, `Wow didn`t see it coming` moments!
I loved the ending so much. I cheered up and finally put down the book which was glued to my hands for hours to give a big applause!! Yayyy!
This was one of the best thriller books I’ve read on 2019. Smart, entertaining, unputdownable and highly recommended!
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me ARC copy for exchange of my honest review.
Dear Wife is a suspenseful and twisty read about a woman on the run and another who has gone missing. Are they one and the same or is there more going on than meets the eye?
“Beth” is on the run from her abusive husband. She has a plan and must not veer off course or else she will become her husband's prey.
Sabine, a prominent realtor in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, has gone missing. Her deadbeat husband, Jeffery, is the number one suspect in her disappearance.
Jeffery, well, he has some issues.
Marcus, the cop investigating Sabine’s disappearance, is on a mission. He has a lead and won’t let it go.
Told through three POV’s, Dear Wife enthralled me from the start. There are some huge twists and turns, and even though I figured one out early on, I was surprised by some others. This is a gripping thriller that hooked me from the first page to the very end. The chapters are short and the story is entertaining. There are secrets to be uncovered, lies to unravel, and drama to play out. It all culminates in a satisfying ending! I recommend to those who are looking for an entertaining psychological thriller!
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Harlequin in exchange for an honest review.
DEAR WIFE is a juicy, female driven thriller. There are actually a few wives that go missing in this novel and you, the reader, are tasked with the fun work of untangling the knots of which wives go with which husbands or lovers. It is an extremely clever literary ruse that Kimberly Belle has cooked up! I thoroughly enjoyed the uniquely crafted story structure.
At first, I found the character roster somewhat confusing and I’m not sure this book could translate well to audio. However, if you’re as nosy as I am, your curiosity about these fictional lives will overtake you and intense speed reading will commence! The pages fly by and the ending is oh sooooooo satisfying. One fabulous book to read by the pool this summer!
Warning: A component of domestic violence exists in the novel and I’m not crazy about that. However, the violence is depicted in limited doses and is an integral part to propelling the suspense and tension of the story.
Many thanks to Netgalley and Kimberley Belle for allowing me to read and review the early galley. All opinions are strictly mine.
I was looking for a thriller to get me through yet another miserable, cold and rainy weekend. This one did the job, I didn’t do anything else but read this yesterday. This is that compulsive read that so many thrillers say they are but few deliver.
From the blurb you know that Beth is on the run from her abusive husband, that Sabine is missing and that the police, in particular Marcus, are increasingly distraught at not having any substantial clues to solve the case. There are a multitude of well developed characters in this book and it is told from several points of view, which I always feel keep a book moving along quickly and keeps my interest peaked. Sabine’s sister Ingrid is quite a character, convinced that Sabine wouldn’t leave town without telling her, they share EVERYTHING! She has a lover, Trevor, who is beside himself with grief, they were planning on divorcing their spouses and proclaiming their intention to marry. Beth we know little about, who is she anyway and how does she fit in this story???? Sabine's husband supposedly has an alibi, but it’s always the husband isn’t it??? Jeffrey will stop at nothing to find his wife, how dare she leave him!!!!
While on the run Beth meets and finally befriends several people at a boarding house where she is living and then a job at a large, TV and community based faith community. The Reverend is one heck of a character that certainly seems too good to be true, is he hiding something??? There is a former prostitute, a thief and a forger whom most at this boarding house have used from time to time. These are characters that are described well enough that I found myself caring about them. I find this quite unusual in a thriller and that kept me enjoying this book.
With a thriller there isn’t much you can tell without spoiling the plot so I will just say that it is extremely clever, twisted, touches on extreme physical domestic abuse but somehow in the end is still satisfying and hopeful.
This is one thriller that I can endorse but be prepared to put away anything else you had planned to do.
I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss.
This book is set for publication on June 25, 2019.
Oh my goodness what did I just read? An absolutely fabulous thriller that’s what! This book was incredible and I am so thrilled to say that this book is my new favourite!!!
DEAR WIFE by KIMBERLY BELLE is a gripping, suspenseful, dark, brisk, and twisty thriller that was absolutely unputdownable. I was immediately sucked in and devoured every single page of this spellbinding entertaining book. Once I started reading it I was hooked and so absorbed in the storyline that I was flipping those pages as fast as I possibly could.
KIMBERLY BELLE delivers quite the impressive, clever, intriguing, tension-filled and well-written read here that was extremely well-plotted and flowed effortlessly. I was feeling every emotion possible while I was reading this book. These characters were brilliantly written and those subtle clues were perfectly interspersed to make this such a satisfying and fulfilling read.
Happy Pub Day to Kimberly Belle!! (June 25/19)
* Traveling Sisters read *
Norma’s Stats: Cover: Love this simplistic and classy cover. It is such a fabulous and fitting representation to storyline. Title: Appealing, clever, suspenseful, intriguing and absolutely loved how the title played so brilliantly into storyline. I might have squealed a little bit when the meaning behind the title was revealed to us. Writing/Prose: Well-written, engaging, enthralling, fluid, efficient and effortless. Plot: Clever, intriguing, dark, twisty, intense, suspenseful, riveting, fast-paced, absorbing, enjoyable and entertaining. An absolutely fabulous storyline!!!! Ending: An explosive ending that left me feeling totally fulfilled and satisfied! Fabulous!! Overall: It was such an irresistible, enjoyable, fun and thrilling book to read. I thoroughly enjoyed the reading experience!!! Would definitely recommend!
Thank you so much to HarperCollins Canada / Park Row Books and Kimberly Belle for my complimentary copy. It was an absolute pleasure reading this novel!!
Once I started to read Dear Wife, I did not want to put it down. I made it to 2 am and then had to go to bed before I could finish the book but if I could have stayed awake longer I would have finished the book in one read. This was a thriller that had me going, had me wondering what was what and who was who and it all came together so well, in the end.
The story is told from the points of view of Beth, Jeffrey, and Marcus. Beth is running away from her unnamed abusive husband and she's done a lot of groundwork and planning to make this happen. Jeffrey is the husband of a missing woman, Sabine, and as the husband he is the main suspect in her disappearance. Marcus is the lead detective investigating Sabine's disappearance and he's working all hours on the case. It's hard to tell how Beth fits in with the other characters, as we follow her on her run from her husband. She's in a new world of fake identities, burner phones, crashing in cheap, run down places, chopping off her hair, changing her hair color, and looking over her shoulder constantly, knowing her husband will be hunting her down, finding her eventually, and that when he finds her, he will kill her.
I won't say much more because I don't want to ruin any surprises. I went into this book knowing nothing more than what the synopsis said and having read non-spoiler-ish reviews and that was a great way to read this book. Now I'm going to have to put more of Kimberly Belle's books on my To-Be-Read list. Thank you to Park Row/HarperCollins and Edelweiss for this ARC.
Kimberly Belle nails it here with this intense thriller. Dear Wife is one exciting thriller that is not to be missed. The most exciting thing here is how Kimberly Belle takes a story that really isn’t a new storyline and turns into an exciting, entertaining and compelling thriller. She introduces us to the characters through their different POV and kept us guessing on how they are connected by layering clues along the way, with those multiple plot twists. She reveals what we need to know right at the perfect time and skillfully keeps it feeling new without it ever feeling predictable making it entertaining yet plausible.
The link between our characters is the biggest surprise here with just how Kimberly Belle is able to create that high suspense and tension keeping that excitement going right up to that explosive ending that had me on the edge of my seat.
I received my copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
Just call this Creepy and Cray-Cray and Call it a Day!
Marriage: It’s not that bad (Really!).. at least not according to Jeffrey. Ask his wife Sabine and you might get a different answer. The problem of course, is that you can’t ask Sabine. She’s missing and well, you know how it works, once Jeffrey discovers it and reports his wife missing, his sister-in-law Ingrid and the police suspect Jeffrey of murder. After all, he and Sabine had a few tense moments and well, it’s always the husband, right?
If only it were that easy to solve! Baah!!
This is the kind of read you tear through in less than a day. I love those! Admittedly, I had a few guesses early on and some were very close to being right on (I might even have danced a little jig over that (or my version of one, lol)!
“Dear Wife” by Kimberly Belle is a wild one my friends. Tension filled, taut and suspenseful - this is a crazy good or well, creepy good thriller that is not to be missed!
This was another great read with Kaceey! Thank you for sharing this with me Kace!
Thank you to NetGalley, Harlequin - Park Row and Kimberly Belle for an arc of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Published on Goodread and NetGalley on 4.14.19. Will be published on Amazon and Twitter on 6.25.19.
This is a new beginning for Beth. New name, new look....new life. A life far away from her abusive husband. Beth has been planning this for more than a year. She won't take any chances. This HAS to work.
Sabine Hardison is missing. It doesn't look like she's taken anything with her. The police are stumped. Then her car is found abandoned.
With so many secrets and so many lies, the truth is bound to come out one way or another. What does that mean for Sabine and Beth?
The story was told from multiple points of view, which I enjoyed. Well-written with well-developed characters and some great twists. I happened to guess one of the twists early on but it didn’t bother me. I was still engaged in the story and excited to see how it would all come together.
I thought the narration of this audiobook was terrific. I was up until the early hours listening. It was worth losing sleep!
Emotionally complex and clever!!!
A unique story of obsession, jealousy, deception, and more. A thrilling audiobook that I highly recommend.
One of the best thrillers I have read in a long time!
I’m going to skip giving an overview of the plot as I think it is best to go into this one blind. Just know you are in for a suspenseful, twisty, heart-pounding, unforgettable journey that will leave you shocked! It was amazing from start to finish! I worried that all of the hype and raving reviews I have read might have set my expectations too high, but NO! This was jaw-droppingly fantastic!
I loved the characters. Loved the storyline. Loved the presentation – the pace and flow were perfect! Loved the twists and turns that left me scratching my head in shock. Loved the writing. I’ve dusted off my Favourites shelf to make room for this phenomenal book. If you haven’t already read this, do yourself a favour and run to the nearest bookstore or library and get your hands on a copy!
Thank you to Edelweiss for providing me with an ARC to read and review!
This was my first Kimberly Belle book & I couldn't put it down! Why did I wait so long to give her a try?
Beth Murphy is on the run from her abusive husband. She knows he's coming after her, it's simply a matter of time before he finds her.
Sabine Hardison is missing. Her life is anything but what it seemed. Is she on the run or has she met with a more sinister end?
Marcus, the investigating Detective will stop at nothing, tracking down leads, determined to bring the missing woman home.
Told in 3 district POVs Dear Wife was filled with secrets, lies, suspense and a whole lot of tension that kept me steadily turning the pages. If you crack this one open - be sure you have carved out a big chunk of time. This is one thriller you will not be able to simply put down.
Thank you to Netgalley, Harlequin - Park Row and Kimberly Belle for an arc in exchange for my honest review.
I fell victim to hype and here I sit in the outlier club once again, wondering if I read the same book that has gotten such rave reviews.
The story started out strong. There’s a missing woman, Sabine. When police discover her marriage to Jeffrey was troubled and she was preparing to leave him, he becomes the chief suspect in what the police believe is a murder investigation. But first, a body must be found.
Then we meet Beth, a woman on the run from an abusive husband. Beth alters her appearance and assumes a false identity. Through her new life we meet a cast of characters that weren’t all that interesting and felt like filler.
Marcus is the detective who will stop at nothing to find the missing Sabine.
Red herrings abound but it wasn’t too difficult to spot them. Shortly after the halfway point I had figured out what was happening. The middle of the book seemed to drag and the resolution stretched believability.
I’ll be deliberately vague, so, no spoilers. It literally made no sense to me for two reasons: one, psychologically speaking, it was totally out of character and stretched believability that a person who had undergone the life experiences of this character would be capable of doing what they did. It just doesn’t work that way and shows a lack of insight into the psychology of people who have similar backgrounds. Secondly, why did this person go to so much trouble setting up such a complicated scenario when it could have been accomplished sooner and easier without an elaborate ruse? It defied logic.
So, a disappointing read for this reader, but there are plenty of 4 and 5 star reviews from people who loved it.
Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle is a 2019 Park Row publication.
Sabine Hardison is missing. With her husband looking increasingly guilty, the detective assigned to the case presses down hard, despite pressure from his boss to tread carefully.
Meanwhile, a woman named Beth, is on the run from her abusive husband, having changed her looks and her name. Beth is determined to stay one step ahead of her husband… against all odds.
My experience with Belle appears to be inconsistent. When this book came out a couple of years ago, I was cautiously optimistic. While I didn’t get around to reading it as quickly as I had intended, I’m glad I waited. Based on my recent experiences with popular books, putting a little distance between me and the hype might be for the best. This book, as it turns out, might be proof that this strategy works- at least for me.
The story was a big surprise- cleverly plotted- if you just stick with it. It’s also one of those situations where the less said, the better. I am rarely caught off guard- but I was fooled, but good with this book- and that’s one of the main reasons I liked it so much. That said, the momentum did drag a little at times, and fought the urge to skip ahead. But for the most part, the suspense is constant, keeping me guessing and on edge, wondering how it would all work out in the end. In hindsight, I felt a little chagrined, having missed hints hidden in plain sight- but this is the only situation where being duped is forgivable- and even appreciated!
Overall, this book has a well-executed, original approach. It was well thought out- minus a few plausibility flaws, and is a thriller that might actually stick out in my memory longer than most.
4.5* Wowza! That was one finely-crafted, twisty tale!
Beth Murphy needs to disappear! Leaving an abusive relationship behind. One thing she knows for certain…if he finds her, he will kill her. How far does she need to go before she’s safe? How deeply under cover can she hide? And will it ever be enough?
A flurry of moving parts taking place. Her husband proclaiming his innocence. Her sister pointing fingers. The detective in charge turning over every rock!
This is the second book by Kimberly Belle I’ve read, With “Three Days Missing” being my first. But as much as I enjoyed that read, this book ramps up the thriller scale to a whole new level! Fabulous job, Ms. Belle! You managed to capture all the emotions in every character perfectly! I felt the fear, anger and frustration in all of them.
The tale flowed effortlessly from multiple POVs and I quickly finished in just a few sittings. I was looking for the perfect distraction from my every day, and this fit the bill perfectly!
This book will definitely be a top thriller for 2019! Highly recommend! Don’t miss out!
I still have this author’s previous book The Marriage Lie on my shelf, I need to bump that one up quickly!
A fabulous buddy read with Susanne that we both loved!❤️
Thank you to NetGalley, Harlequin- Trade Publishing and Kimberley Belle for an ARC to read and review.
Drop everything you are reading and pick up a copy of Kimberly Belle’s latest novel of psychological suspense, Dear Wife!!!
I am a big fan of Kimberly Belle—I’ve read all of her books. I have to say that this one is the best yet!
About the Book
Beth Murphy is on the run… Of course, that isn’t Beth’s real name—that’s something she will take with her—she has to if she wants to stay alive. Beth has been planning this for months—her escape. It’s the only way to get away from her husband and his abuse. And Beth knows if he wants to, he’ll be able to find her. Sitting in a McDonalds meeting a stranger, Beth begins to set her trap. A false trail—enough to distract her husband and allow her to get away.
Hundreds of miles away, Jeffrey Hardison returns home from a business trip to find his wife missing. He doesn’t think much of it at first, he is more annoyed with the state she left the house in and that she booked a late work appointment without telling him. Or did she tell him? Jeffrey is the first to admit he hasn’t been a great husband to Sabine. His irritation mounts as he realizes that Sabine has vanished, leaving him as the prime suspect. Now, with all fingers pointed at him, he can’t believe Sabine got one over on him.
And then the police become involved. Jeffrey isn’t telling the truth about his marriage, and they are onto him. Meanwhile Beth continues to run. But all hope isn’t lost, Beth finds some unlikely allies and may be able to hide in plain site. That is, until Sabine’s story makes national headlines…
A woman on the run, a man with something to hide, and a police officer who will uncover the truth.
I can’t say too much about this book because the twists are THAT GOOD. You may think you know this story. You may think you have it figured out. You would be wrong. If there is one thing I’ve come to love about Kimberly Belle’s books, it is that she always has another ace up her sleeve. There’s always more to the story, and you’ll just have to read and find out.
Onto less spoiler-y topics, I have to say Beth’s chapters in particular had me glued to the book. She is truly a woman desperate to escape, and she’ll do anything she can to get away. I really was on pins and needles as Beth ran, and I was fascinated by the characters she interacts with along the way. I won’t say who they are, but there are some really fascinating people that Beth encounters—both good and bad! I think readers will be captivated by Beth’s story.
Jeffrey is also a bit of a puzzle! He’s that rare husband who admits he treated his wife poorly, but also you can’t help but feel a bit for him. Sabine really pulled one over on him, and her sister is there to rub it in at every turn. Jeffrey is guilty of a lot, but how much did he know about Sabine’s disappearance? And what lengths will he go to in order to find her?
Twisty and delightful—I won’t say any more because I refuse to spoil even a moment of this book!!!
Thank you Park Row for my copy. Opinions are my own.
Kimberly Belle has done it again! I have loved all of her books. After loving The Marriage Lie (which I have read twice by the way, and I never read a book twice), I also read and loved Three Days Missing. Naturally I had to devour Dear Wife! Not sure why I am so late in the game to read this one just lack of time.
This book had multiple POV's but the author was very clever in keeping this so it was not confusing. I feel the trick to this is good character development, so each one sticks out in your mind. She develops each so well I felt I knew them all. So no problem here and it flowed really well so I didn't find myself getting lost or having to make notes to keep them straight. I just got to sit back and enjoy the story.
Sabine is missing...her husband Jeffrey is devastated..or is he? It is always the husband right? Wow I went back and forth on this. At first I was convinced that yes, it is always the husband. As I got to know Sabine more and more, well there appeared that there were many people that would have a motive for making her "disappear". Even her career as a real estate agent can prove to be risky. Needless to say I spent much of the time trying to figure out who was the bad guy (or girl).
Yet we also had a story of Beth taking place seemingly at the same time. Beth is running for her life. Beth has been dealing with an abusive husband for years. We are privy to Beth's deepest thoughts as she recounts her life with her husband. I often wondered how reliable Beth was as a narrator. Were all these memories true? I will admit I was all over the place with this book. I had no idea what to think.
At the end I was floored as everything fell into place. Once again I was blind sided by this author who always gives us a page turner! Add this to the list of Kimberly Belle books that I love! Bring on the next one please!
Thank you so much to Harlequin -Park Row for this ARC!
4.5 stars —- After reading “The Marriage Lie” over 2 years ago (wow has it been that long) and really enjoying it, I jumped at the chance to read “Dear Wife” when it became available at the local library. Once again, Bell proves herself to be an excellent writer as she follows the story of ‘Beth’, a domestic violence victim on the run from her abusive husband. The author does a great job of telling the story from the viewpoints of multiple narrators. I really felt Beth was a very well drawn character that truly conveyed the never ending horror a victim goes through when they attempt to leave theIr abuser. The book is slow moving at times, but the slow building suspense is often times the best as the reader really gets to know the characters and care about them. The author throws in a twist 2/3 of the way in that was somewhat expected from clues dropped earlier in the book but well done and carries the novel to a very satisfying conclusion. The best part of this book though is the excellent writing ability displayed by Bell as she seamlessly tells the story with no leaps of faith or stilted conversations. Highly recommended!
Oh my goodness!! Boy, did I have fun with this one! What a ride!!
Dear Wife is an exceptionally dark thriller that will leave you highly entertained turning those pages. This was my first read by Kimberly Belle and am glad I finally read something by her!
Kimberly Belle delivers part domestic fiction and part thriller with this juicy set of characters. Beth Murphy is on the run and has been planning this for over a year. Who is she running from and why?
Sabine Hardison is a relator that has gone missing. Her husband Jeffrey is suspected of having something to do with her disappearance. Does he? The police start to uncover more and more clues... that start to point even more clues at a troubling life at home for Sabine.
ALL of these characters have a dark secret but it may not be what you're thinking. Of course, you may be thinking you have it all figured out but Kimberly Belle I'll give you that you set your readers up with high tensions and twists that leave you on edge!
I had this theory in my mind since the beginning and was completely wrong haha but I did figure out one of the main twists towards the end but I still really enjoyed this one!
Highly recommend it!
4 strong stars!
Thank you to Netgalley and Harlequin/Trade Publishing for the arc in exchange for an honest review.
Publication date: 6/25/19 Published to Goodreads: 2/25/19
Phew. This book is right up my (deserted) street as I could not put it down, gripping me from the opening pages.. Beth is hurtling across states trying to put as much distance between herself and her violent, abusive excuse for a husband. She has endured countless injuries over the years and she’s had enough, she knows it’s only a matter of time before he kills her. Sabine Hardison from Pine Bluffs, Arkansas like Beth, is reported missing and her husband Jeffrey is Detective Marcus Durand number one suspect. This dark and twisty thriller is told from three perspectives, that of Beth, Jeffrey and Marcus.
I’m not going to pretend that on occasions it’s not tough to read as Beth does describe what happens to her but it’s never gratuitous and plays an integral part of the plot. It’s very well written, it unfolds cleverly and keeps you in suspense throughout. I did figure out part of it but not all, there are still plenty of surprises so it in no way spoils the storyline which continues to keep you on the edge of your seat. In places, it’s so tense it’s like waiting for a tsunami to arrive. Parts of the story make me angry as Beth asks for help and receives none and some people clearly turn a blind eye. The ending is excellent, there’s menace, threat and tension and finally resolution and hope.
Overall, an excellent read and I most certainly want to read more by Kimberly Belle. Highly recommended.
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ Digital for the book.
Am I the only reader who busted a gut - or would - if you read what I did - laughing at these two sentences? - (4%- kindle reading) “How difficult is it to put things back where they belong? To line the clothes up by color?
Ok, friends, fess up - your closet habits? 👗👠🧦👔👞...Do tell!!
Back to the story: Jeffrey came home to an empty house from a business trip. His wife Sabine was gone. Her Mercedes was gone. A pile of dirty dishes were “crawling” up the sink and onto the countertop. Crumbs on the couch, hairs in the drain. The last of the orange juice was gone. The bed was unmade and ‘her’ side of the closet was a pigsty. I was already wondering - who do I trust?: Mr. Neat or Mrs. Messy.
We meet Beth. She hired a guy - Nick - to spend her money and to move around a lot. Beth set up a credit card with weekly limits of $100.00 a week. Nick is to make small purchases- $10 here - $20 there - never the same ATM or even the same city twice. Silly me - I was curious what Nick planned to buy. He was given a five week advancement allowance Five hundred dollars.. to spend on what? pizza? beer? breath mints? He had a lot of shopping to do. Beth tells Nick: “Think of me as your ATM fairy godmother”.
It’s fun to laugh with lines in suspenseful thrillers. There were lots of ‘side’ sentences to chuckle at.
Beth tells us: “If there’s one thing I’ve learned these past ten years, it’s to trust no one, not even the people you’re supposed to trust the most”.
I decided to take Beth’s advice: I wasn’t going to trust one character in this book. Good thing too!!!
Beth Murphy was no longer who she use to be. Hair cut and dyed. Face hidden behind dark sunglasses. In Sabine’s former life, she would have turned up her nose to baggy clothes, and dollar-store hair. Bye-bye to sexy Sabine???Hello to frumpy Beth??? Or?? Is Beth and Sabine two different people?
Beth’s new runaway life adventure begins. I ‘slightly’ wondered if Beth ‘wasn’t’ Sabine - but only slightly AT FIRST - I mean... who else could she possibly be?? Ha... I’m not telling. But the confusion will definitely messed with your head!
In the meantime - Jeffrey continues to stir back home. He wants his wife to COME HOME! He’s worried about ‘several’ things. Is he the man to blame? Was he so obviously abusive - he’ll be nailed to the wall? Or does he just love her and feels like crap?
Jeffrey ‘could’ call 911... and say... “my wife is missing. She missed her 9pm curfew”. Ha.. he doesn’t. He simply begins to worry and run through a half dozen possible scenarios. Not all sound favorable for ‘him’. He continues to call Sabine with no luck.
Jeffrey calls Sabine’s twin sister, Ingrid. No news of Sabine’s whereabouts with Ingrid either. TWIN SISTER?? Is she another red flag for a twist coming - or is ‘twin’ so obvious- that ‘no’ - she isn’t? As I said already... THIS STORY BEGINS TO MESS WITH OUR HEADS...
Jeffrey’s relationship with Ingrid is a joke as in barely tolerable with each other. Their dislike of each other was instantly mutual. But Ingrid says, “call the police, Jeffrey. I’m on my way”. Ingrid’s very close to Sabine. They talk several times a day. So what’s up now?? Ingrid seemed to have no information about her missing sister.
Detective Marcus Durand, from Pine Bluff PD shows up to meet Jeffrey and Ingrid. An investigation begins.
The mystery about who, what, where, how, and why .. plays out strong. Great little quick read book!! Beth and Sabine are either the same person or not. If not - why? - what gives?
Abuse - resentments - greed- jealousy- lies - secrets - TWISTS & TURNS ( this phrase really fits this novel)...
We meet other interesting characters who round out this cat & mouse psychological thriller. I found this messy-twisty-clever- story really fun!
It’s great when in the mood for this genre. Apparently I was!!
In Dear Wife, local real estate agent Sabine is missing, and her husband Jeffery has secrets to hide. Meanwhile, Beth (not her real name) is on the run from her abusive husband, and it's going to take all her careful planning and wits to stay one step ahead of him. The police have assigned detective Marcus to the case to find Sabine and figure out what really happened to her.
The premise is intriguing enough, though I mainly picked up the book based on the strength of its stellar reviews. And there were parts I really enjoyed about this book. I thought the writing was riveting, the short chapters kept me turning the pages swiftly to find out what happened next, and the "good" characters were likable and interesting.
But I figured out what was going on not long after the halfway point, and then the book lost its thrill. There were many clues all pointing one way, and it was so obvious what was going on (which I don't think I have ever said about any book before). And once it became clear to me, reading the rest of the book became more sluggish and plodding.
Still, I enjoyed the book for the most part, and found at least the earlier half to be snappy and riveting. I just wish its mysteries were better concealed for longer so that I had more time to bask in the thrill of twists and secrets instead of just reading to reach the ultimate conclusion.
Another fast-paced and thrilling read from Kimberly Belle!
I really enjoyed The Marriage Lie (2016) and her latest did not disappoint. I was quickly wrapped up in Beth's escape plan from her overbearing and abusive husband. She is on the run, but you won't imagine the obstacles that she will have to face. She knows that he will be hot on her trail, BUT can he catch her?
Cat and mouse? or Mouse and cat?
If you're looking for a fast summer read with a clever plot, some different POV's and scattered red-herrings to keep the tension ramped up and compelling, this one is highly entertaining.
Thanks to EW for my review copy. Book is out on June 25,2019
Another top notch thriller from Kimberly Belle. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Beth is on the run… She’s had plenty of time to plan this; a year, in fact. She’s going to leave her violent husband and start over. Beth has a new name and a new city.
Sabine is missing. Her husband Jeffrey returns home to find her gone. The police locate her abandoned car, and it appears foul play is involved in her disappearance.
Sabine was also having difficulty at home, and the detective on the case is devoted to finding out what happened and bringing her home. But where is Sabine, and what does Beth have to do with Sabine’s disappearance, if anything?
Dear Wife may be my favorite thriller from Kimberly Belle. As ever, the writing is smooth, and the tension is present from the very first page. This is one of those one-sitting reads, so carve out the time. It’s told in three points-of-view that keep you guessing. Fast, fast, fast paced!
Overall, I enjoyed every twist and turn of Dear Wife. What I thought I knew was wrong, and I loved it! The big twist was genius! Well-done, Kimberly Belle! I can’t wait for what you bring us next summer!
I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
An entertaining psychological thriller with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader turning the pages but will it stand out from all the other thrillers(with wife in the title) that I have read a year from now remains to be seen. I did this one, draws you in pretty quickly and has you rooting for the protagonist, plenty of twists and turns with a pretty tight plot that kept me turning the pages over the Christmas holidays.
Dear wife tells the story of a woman who, in a fight for survival, must decide just how far she'll go to escape the person she once loved.
I listened to this one on audible and the narrator was very good. This is the sort of suspense novel you pick up and get stuck in straight away, its not too taxing and just a good decent read. I probably would have rated this one a little more but I feel its going to be one of those thrillers that six months from now if you ask me what the story was about or what the characters names were I will probably have forgotten or have mixed it up with some other book with "wife" in the title. A entertaining and well written thriller but now a book that will stand out from all the other thrillers I have read.
Kept me guessing almost until the end, Dear Wife is a jittery, nerve end tingling mystery. There are about three big surprises for the reader. These shocks are adroitly placed by the author, Kimberly Belle. Belle doesn't reveal much until the very end and then the reveal comes fast and furious. How it all fits together is altogether satisfying.
Post publication edit: So I checked the publication copy and they didn't change a SINGLE THING, so I must remain true to my word and drop my star rating down to 1-star. It really does suck b/c the thriller part was GREAT but I cannot get past racism and transphobia, I just can't. It's lazy and tacky.
Now I feel comfortable being more specific. I have many quotes for all of this, but I am going to limit my direct quoting and description of the transphobia specifically because it feels distasteful to even repeat it.
So, racism: The part that bothered the hell out of me was the scene with Jorge. This one has bonus fatphobia, as well. Jorge is described thusly: "I wind my way through the tables to "Jorge," four hundred pounds of a milky-white man eating a burrito the size of his forearm." "This Jorge guy may not be Latino, but he's no stranger to churros." "He looks up, and his eyes are thin slits, part genetics, part his cheeks squeezing them shut." "'What kind?' His accent sounds Asian." "He gives me a look... 'Four hundred dollar.'" "The slits all but disappear" "A shard of ground beef flies from Jorge's mouth and richocets off my leg. [...] I will never eat Mexican again."
So the line that stopped me cold when I read this initially was "His accent sounds Asian." Wow, ok. Followed by broken English a line later (quoted above)--so he "sounds Asian" b/c he has broken English? And then there's just this weird description/trying to peg down his ethnicity, coupled with the zinger last line like we're supposed to agree with Beth "what a fat disgusting f*ck!" (this is the 2nd instance of fatphobia in the book, which pretty firmly made me dislike the author) And even putting "Jorge" in quotes b/c he CAN'T be Latino?! He's Asian? It's just this very uncomfortable thing, added to the fact that ONLY poor/shady people are POC in this book, and it's all through this white lens of milquetoast Beth. Just like with Belle's last book it was just so many MICROAGGRESSIONS that made me hella uncomfortable.
transphobia: It's much more difficult to write about the transphobia b/c basically if there was a checklist of "ways not to describe/depict trans people unless you want to dehumanize them completely," Belle had the list and checked them all off. And those things, when you read them, can be very upsetting, especially to trans or non-binary folk.
So there is a character named Miss Sally who runs a boarding house. For 90% of the book she is just described as that: Miss Sally, the tall Black woman who loves to wear electric pink dressing gowns, who is very warm, but no nonsense. No problems there. I had a brief moment of worry b/c she IS described as very tall, and the focus is on her large size, and at the time I read her introduction, I was worried it would be more fatphobia (I am a tall fat person). I did briefly go "oh no I hope she's not trans and this is going to be a shitshow," but then her gender is never questioned at all in that section of the book and I let go of the worry.
Then at the end, it just got super transphobic super fast. (I will use spoiler tags for any transphobic quotes) Beth hugs Miss Sally goodbye and in her internal narration makes a comment about an apendage. You can imagine. Then the section closes with
It's just... completely unnecessary? What is the point of Beth calling out that Miss Sally is a transwoman at this point in the book? It literally serves NO purpose whatsoever. Except.
So then The Bad Person in the book (trying not to spoil) shows up at the boarding house after Beth has left, and meets Miss Sally. And this is where it devolved. And from that point on, this character misgenders Miss Sally, referring to her using male pronouns, exclusively.
And THAT is the part of the book where I shouted "Oh my f*cking God!" and nearly threw my Kindle at the wall. (my friends came running like "what's wrong" lol)
It was just CHEAP storytelling. Yeah it's the Bad Person in the book and we know they are garbage, but did you NEED to have them doing this? Dehumanizing the person? And you know, I'd still hate it but could almost accept it as a cheap characterization device if Beth hadn't ALSO dehumanized Miss Sally. Focusing on body parts and needing to make the comment about her origins was just completely not needed. It tells me the author doesn't give two shits about how this would make a trans person feel.
And that's my issue. This book is actively harmful for trans and non-binary readers, and for the cis-straight, etc. readers who will bump over this characterization and not even blink an eye. Indeed, the majority of readers will not notice or care, and that is what feels regressive and gross. It reinforces dangerous and dehumanizing ideas about trans people. It reduces them, and this character, to a bugaboo, a plot point. Something titillating to gasp at.
And that's why I can't support this book, despite the fact that most of the rest of it was fine. The adult book market is due for a reckoning. It is shameful that this went to print.
Original review: I've been conflicted about at what point I should review this, and what I should rate it. At this juncture, my star rating reflects an average between my rating JUST for the thriller aspect--5 stars--and my rating for the problematic representation--1 star.
For this book, indeed, has incredibly problematic representation. After feeling wholly gaslit by all the 5 stars here and on NetGalley, I feel it's my duty of care to write this review so that other readers who noticed the same things I did feel supported. I will not go into detail here, as I already sent an extensive and long private note to the publisher advising they make some changes before publication. I am refraining from sharing full details until I know whether or not any care will be taken.
So potential readers of the book in it's current ARC form should be warned that this book has some questionable descriptions of people of color, is fatphobic, and most egregiously contains such flagrant transphobia that I almost DNFed the book. I would NOT advise any trans or nonbinary person read this novel as they will find it severely triggering. I am not a person to give trigger warnings lightly, or to "drag" books, but I was so shocked reading this and feel readers should be warned. The depiction of a trans person in this book is harmful.
Generally, the "diversity" felt like the author saw criticism of her last book, which was both severely white/cis/het/upper middle class AND racist (the only two Black people in the book were... poorly represented), and then doubled-down here, throwing a ton of POC and a trans-person in because "It's the poor part of Atlanta! So diverse! Much representation!" (Every other setting in the book is white/cis/straight) And the result is mixed as far as POC go. My quarrel is with the representation of an allegedly Asian American character, who is both described confusingly AND in a racist manner (I will refrain from details as I'm hoping the publisher fixes it before publication). Otherwise, the Latinx characters didn't have anything TOO horrendous jump out at me, but that doesn't mean I didn't miss something. No one cares about fatphobia, I know, but hey it's still there and I really didn't love reading about people like me being dehumanized on the page.
So the biggest issue is the transphobia. Again, I will not go into details at this time--though I have many choice quotes at the ready--because I sincerely hope edits will be made before publication. If not, I'll post EVERYTHING as readers deserve to know what's in this book. But flat out: trans/non-binary readers should skip this one, as-is.
I mean, honestly, if this is the result of trying to make the representation more diverse, I would prefer the author just stick to white, upper middle class, cis-straight people from now on (even if it doesn't reflect the South I lived in). The actual thriller was excellent! But these things ruined the read for me. And I really hope the adult/mystery/thriller publishing world starts to take greater care in the things they publish. Children's lit has been having this critical conversation and examination for several years--it's messy and we still mess up, but I don't think the transphobic depiction in this book would EVER make it to the ARC stage in kidlit at this point (or I hope not). I cannot believe not a single person on the publishing team noticed.
Jeffrey Hardison returns home from a business trip to find a messy house and no sign of his wife. But, she is a very successful real estate agent, who often has late night showings with prospective clients, so although he isn’t pleased that she isn’t home, he isn’t concerned. At first.
Her twin sister, Ingrid IS immediately concerned. She and Sabine speak several times a day, and they share everything about their lives with one another. She knows that Jeffrey isn’t the loving husband he portrays himself to be. And, that since Sabine is the main breadwinner, Jeffrey stands to lose a lot if Sabine leaves him.
“I wasn’t always this vindictive, but you weren’t always this mean. “
Beth Murphy is on the run. For nearly a year, she has been planning for this day. A day some people might call any other Wednesday, but Beth prefers to see it as her new beginning—one with a new look, a new name, and a new city. Beth has given her plan significant thought, because one small slip and her violent husband will find her. Only one person knows that she has left.
“YOU. YOU ARE COMING FOR ME. AND I WILL BE READY. “
Sure, there have been other suspense novels about battered women on the run, but I PROMISE you, the premise may not be new..but the execution is.
Kimberley Belle lays out some clues for you...if you follow along carefully you may think you have it all figured out. I had an A-ha moment at about 65% . I was partially right. Which is ok with me-because what that says to me is-no plot holes! And, there was just enough time left to resolve, but not rush the ending.
BUT, what was best. I wasn’t entirely right either. The author managed to still SURPRISE me, because there was more than one way that this story could be resolved...and ANY one of them would’ve been PLAUSIBLE, which is a MUST for ME, in my suspense novels.
I can’t wait to see what Kimberley Belle has in store for us next!
I would like to thank Netgalley, Harlequin-Park Row and Kimberley Belle for The digital ARC, I received in exchange for a candid review! This title will be released on June, 25, 2019!