Book Review: The War of the Wives by Tamar Cohen
August 10, 2012 19 Comments
The War of the Wives: What it is about
Simon Busfield has died, drowned in the Thames in London, while he was supposed to be in Saudi Arabia. At least, that what his wife thought. And his other wife too. Yes, Simon lead a double life and had two wives and families.
The wives are very different. Selina is rich, a stay at home mother with three children (two of which have left home already). She cares about her looks, what her friends think, and their house in Tuscany. Simon and she have a good life with all possible luxuries. The other wife, Lottie, works hard for a living, and lives in a small appartment with Simon and their teenage daughter. They don’t have a lot of money, but they seem to manage alright.
When these two women meet each other at Simon’s funeral, they are completely shocked. They had no idea of Simon’s secret life. Lottie sees Selina as a stuck-up bitch living the high life (which is true) while Selina thinks Lottie was only ever after Simon’s money (which is not true). Unfortunately, when the inheritance is sorted out, the women’s lives become more entangled than they would have hoped. And someone seems to make life difficult for the widows, too. It looks like some of Simon’s unsavoury business partners are after their share of the money.
The War of the Wives: What I thought
I loved reading this. The first few chapters built up to the funeral, and the confrontation of the wives was very well written and such fun to read. I expected that this would be the best part of the story and things would go downhill from then onwards. But no, the story kept my interest all the way until the end.
The widows can not stand each other (and I didn’t like either of them too much either) and their distrust of each other and unwillingness to help each other is very believable. Soon it becomes clear there was more happening in Simon’s life than his two marriages and they start to worry for their lives and belongings.
The parts of the children and other family members are also very believable and it’s interesting to see how the newly-found half-brothers and -sisters deal with each other.
At every point in this book there was something happening that kept me wanting to read on. I totally believed in Selina’s and Lottie’s characters – you do find people like that in England, and not just a few either. They were both very different types, but I’ve known both Lotties as well as Selinas when living in England myself.
This book is pure candy, but in a well-written way. Many times I found beautiful sentences that would make great quotes (if only I’d written them down). The story is about trust and about knowing people (or thinking that you do).
A great read. The 400 pages fly by and before you know it, you’ve reached the end of the book. Not a literary classic, but a highly satisfying read.
Rating: 5 (out of 5)
Number of pages: 414
First published: 2012
I got this book: from Lynsey at Transworld publishers, for review
Genre: contemporary fiction
Have you read this book?
Did you enjoy it?